Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my new book called "The Stonehenge Bluestones" -- available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
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Monday, 29 March 2010

Herbert Thomas and Charles Dawson

I wonder if those two great men knew each other? Dawson lived from 1864 to 1916 -- so he died during the First World War, before Thomas gave his famous lecture about the Preseli connection with Stonehenge. That lecture was in 1921, two years before his much-cited paper was published. But Thomas first mooted the idea of a Preseli connection in 1908, ie when Dawson was still alive. Dawson's hoax based on the Piltdown "skull" was perpetrated in 1912 -- but that was just the culmination of his life's work. In all, he seems to have perpetrated no less than 38 archaeological hoaxes -- in his career he faked one thing after another -- artifacts, teeth, bones, tools, statues, and goodness knows what else. He was clever too -- none of the fakes was exposed as such until well after his death. In 1908-1911 Dawson was dreaming of (in public) and planning for (in private) what he called "the big one" -- ie the discovery of the Missing Link.

I'm pretty convinced that Thomas -- just like Dawson -- was motivated by the desire to announce to the world something seriously spectacular, just to prove to the world that Britain was still Great, in spite of the traumas of the First World War and the inexorable decline of the British Empire.........

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