THE BOOK
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....
To order, click
HERE

Friday, 25 February 2011

Neil explains the bluestones

Neil explains the bluestones?  Well, actually he doesn't.........

I managed to watch the latest episode (Part 2) of the BBC series on the History of Ancient Britain, this time without that additional soundtrack.  I thought it was quite good -- a nice tour, with wonderful images, of some of the key Neolithic sites of Britain and Ireland.  I particularly liked his reference to the "Stalinist-style reconstruction of Newgrange" !!

On the matter of Stonehenge and the bluestones, we learned nothing new, and simply got a faithful rendering of the MPP version of events -- Stonehenge as a place of the dead, built by a highly organized tribal people with great leaders and priests, who had the resources to fetch 200 tonnes of bluestones from Preseli and to haul them to Stonehenge.  According to Neil, these great leaders occasionally pottered off on various perambulations of Britain, in much the same way that the gentry did in the days of Jane Austen and Co.  There was no questioning, and no trace of doubt or dispute in any of the commentary.  Not even any mention of the Darvill-Wainwright hypothesis.  And I do find that intensely irritating.  Why is it that TV presenters have to demonstrate COMPLETE CERTAINTY about everything?  Do they think that a mention of alternative theories will somehow lower the esteem of the viewers?  Do they think that we are too stupid to cope with the occasional use of the words "perhaps", "possibly" or "maybe" ???

A little less pontification and a bit less arrogance from the producers of programmes like this would not come amiss -- particularly in something that purports to be an educational series, with the heavy involvement of the Open University.

5 comments:

TONY HINCHLIFFE said...

I, for one, am waiting with BATED BREATH for the next Edition of.........not just "Bluestone Enigma", but also English Heritage's Stonehenge Guide (2005).This Guidebook tends to be the source of the "received wisdom", the 'facts' about the provenance and the building of the stones of Stonehenge, etc, etc. Yet Tony Robinson, a fairly left-wing character in his political life, said on the oft-re-screened Time Team Special "Secrets of Stonehenge", that this Guidebook, less than 6 years old and still marketed to over 900,000 visitors to the monument in its many language versions, is now seriously out-of-date as a result of The Stonehenge Riverside Project & the 2008 'Inner Sanctum' excavation.
He said this at the beginning AND at the end of the Time Team Special, which I believe dates from 2009.
Some acknowledgement of Rob Ixer et al's recent geological findings & your own viewpoints HAS to be made in the long-overdue new edition.

Oswald said...

Yes, I agree with Tony, you really must get out a new edition with the corrections Rob Ixer suggests.

TONY HINCHLIFFE said...

Perhaps it is now time for Neil Oliver to abandon his BBC Producers and to link up with the politically left-of-centre Time Team Presenter, Tony Robinson. Tony has, after all, recently been presenting a series on the geological & geomorphological formation of Britain, and has thus branched out from pure archaeology. And no longer is he Blackadder's witless sidekick. He has always had his own point of view, notably in politics, most of us know about.

So, Neil & Tony, I reckon you two should team up. Tony has been at the helm of Time Team for 200 episodes and 20 years. They both have archaeological training (Tony at Bristol pre-Time Team).Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Men!

Bruce said...

If you want to know about Stonehenge and find out where the Bluestones really came from - visit Stonehenge Ltd on Facebook.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks Bruce -- always good to have some new theories to consider. I looked at your Facebook site and web page -- I'll put up a post to flag up your material. you won't find many people agreeing with you -- but you know that already.....