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Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my book called "The Bluestone Enigma" -- available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
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Sunday, 15 August 2010

A bit of a spat




Been having an interesting exchange on another blog with a certain well-known archaeologist, arising from the fact that I chastised him (ever so gently) for writing with total certainty that the bluestones on Salisbury Plain were "imported from Wales" by the people who inhabited Salisbury Plain in days gone by. I suggested that the facts do not allow such expressions of absolute certainty, and that it might have been more appropriate to use the phrase "possibly imported from Wales" or some such thing. For my pains, I got a blast to the effect that our hero's "research and understanding" leads him to believe that our ancestors were capable of doing wonderful things which defy rational explanation or current understanding -- and that although there is no EVIDENCE supporting the human transport hypothesis, that doesn't seem to matter that much. In other words, if our hero wants to believe it's true, then it is true.

When one is confronted by senior archaeologists who believe that working hypotheses (such as the one about human bluestone transport) are not hypotheses at all, but are actually TRUE, because they want them to be true, it seems to me that scientific debate becomes impossible. That's actually rather sad...... and it reminds me of a dear friend of mine who terminates every argument that she is losing by saying "I don't believe what you are saying, even if it's true!"

2 comments:

Kostas said...

Brian,

I commend you on your courage! I have often wondered how you can withstand such pressure from your fellow Brits and leading archeologists. When I was in London earlier this summer, I felt I had to be polite and careful not to say anything against the accepted myth of Stonehenge, lest I offend my hosts.

In my view, just the very endurance of these Neolithic people to survive exceptionally cold and harsh living conditions should make all of us (Brits and non-Brits) proud! To add to that irrational actions like 'human transport of megaliths' just mocks and ridicules their lives.

Where was this discussion taking place? At what blog and which thread? I would enjoy reading this exchange!

Constantinos

BRIAN JOHN said...

Just click on the title of this post, and all will be revealed! Yes, endurance is required. It's a bit wearing -- and irritating for someone from an academic background -- when senior academics keep on regurgitating the tired old line: "I don't care what the evidence may or may not show -- I just KNOW that those brilliantly clever Neolithic ancestors of ours moved all those stones from Wales to Stonehenge!" That's exactly what senior UK archaeologists were saying in 1922.....