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Thursday, 1 September 2011

More from the Incorrigible Professors

Many thanks to Pete for bringing my attention to this -- on today's BBC web site.  Link attached, if you want to go to the correct page.

They don't give up, do they?  This is clearly going to be the basis of a new TV programme in the "Digging for Britain" series, introduced by Alice Roberts.   The film crew were up on Preseli earlier in the summer. I suppose that Louise Ord, the writer of the piece, is basing everything she says on advice given to her by the two professors.  I don't think I have ever read such a load of old cobblers -- assumption built on assumption, and connections assumed all the time between things that are almost certainly unconnected.  It makes one quite sad that people can be so obsessed with a ruling hypothesis that EVERYTHING has to be twisted in order to fit it.  Read it carefully and you will see what I mean......

These guys appear to be blissfully ignorant of all the new geology that has been done in recent years, and they are so obsessed with the "quarry" (that only they can see) that everything remotely archaeological within a few miles of Carn Meini is assumed to "prove the link" with Stonehenge.  As I have said before and will say again, that is lousy science, no matter how good the actual archaeology may be in the "Neolithic" burial site.

I could waste a great deal of time dissecting almost every sentence in this press release, but life is too short.  I might as well go and have some breakfast.....

1 September 2011

Tomb found at Stonehenge quarry site
This is the Neolithic passage grave somewhere near Carn Meini which is supposed, by some process of mental gymnastics, to prove that the area was significant to the builders of Stonehenge....

By Louise Ord
Assistant producer, Digging for Britain

The prehistoric stone circle of Stonehenge has mystified architects and historians for generations
The remains of the original builders of Stonehenge could have been unearthed by an excavation at a site in Wales.

The Carn Menyn site in the Preseli Hills is where the initial bluestones used to construct the first stone phase of the henge were quarried in 2300BC.

Organic material from a tomb there will be radiocarbon dated.

Archaeologists believe this could prove a more conclusive link between the site and Stonehenge.

The remains of a ceremonial monument were found with a bank and ditch that appear to have a pair of standing stones embedded.

The bluestones at the earliest phase of Stonehenge - also set in pairs - give a direct architectural link from the iconic site to this newly discovered henge-like monument in Wales.

 The central site had already been disturbed so archaeologists chose to excavate around the edges
The tomb, which is a passage cairn - a style typical of Neolithic burial monument - was placed over this henge.

The link between the Welsh site and Stonehenge was first suggested by the geologist Herbert Thomas in 1923.

This was confirmed in 2008 when permission was granted to excavate inside the stone circle for the first time in about 50 years.

The bluestones had been transported from the hills over 150 miles to the plain in Wiltshire to create Stonehenge, the best known of all Britain's prehistoric monuments.

Two of the leading experts on Stonehenge, Prof Geoff Wainwright and Prof Timothy Darvill, have been leading the project.

They are now excavating at the site of a robbed out Neolithic tomb, built right next to the original quarry.

They knew that the tomb had been disturbed previously, so rather than excavate inside, they placed their small trench along its outer edge.Prof Darvill said: "It's a little piece of keyhole surgery into an important monument, but it has actually lived up to our expectations perfectly."

There are many springs in the area, which may be have been associated with ritual healing in prehistoric times, and also the reason why these particular stones were quarried for another monument so far away.

Prof Wainwright said: "The important thing is that we have a ceremonial monument here that is earlier than the passage grave.


Colin Shearing said...

Dear Brian
I too have just read Louise Ord's piece on Presli
How do these people continue to get away with such tosh? I personally don't accept your glaciation theory but everyone knows by now that there was never a quarry on Carn Meini and that the Stonehenge Bluestones originated from all over Preseli. As you know there is both spotted and unspotted Dolerite there as well as ryolite and volcanic tuff.
Surely every carn on Preseli holds a body.I can understand your and Robin Heath's frustration over these pair of idiots spouting on still about the healing springs of Preseli without a shred of evidence.
Of course the crystal healing community say the same kind if thing but at least they don't pretend to be academics, their evidence is anecdotal
I have been to one of their talks, what's weird is that they personally don't believe that the bluestones have any healing powers but they believe that neolithic people beleived that, maybe they are secretly using an ouiji board to contact these neolithic people.
What's worse is that they are spouting these ridiculous theories to the general public and to their students and then pass them off as facts just because the are "professors"
You may think it strange that I think this way considering the nature of my business but I don't pretend to be a scientist.
I really enjoy your writing

Anonymous said...

Ah!! it is because it can be shown for the first time that single lithics from Stonehenge can be matched to single metre wide outcrops in Wales
BUT not at Carn Menyn but at Craig Ros-y-felin Pont Saeson.
That is the real story now- Carn Menyn has been sidelined and they know it.
It is less about science/truth and more about column inches.
Thomas Rhymer.

Anonymous said...

I think it's more about making Stonehenge look like a cuddly healing center in time for the 2012 Olympic visitors rather than touting it as a derelict graveyard.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian, you write

“...people can be so obsessed with a ruling hypothesis that EVERYTHING has to be twisted in order to fit it.”

I couldn't agree with you more! But the larger ruling hypothesis that forces such twisted logic is that these monuments were built by men! Remove that human obstacle and we have clarity and reason.


BRIAN JOHN said...

Anon -- I agree that there is a marketing theme here as well as the archaeological one. The TV series is called "Digging for Britain" -- sounds like a wartime exhortation to us all to be immensely proud of whatever the two Profs tell us to be proud of, and not to ask too many questions -- in the national interest. That was exactly the scenario which prevailed after the First World War -- when patriotism and xenophobia turned people's brains into fudge, and allowed HTT's theory to be accepted without question by the archaeological establishment -- and by everybody else too. Profoundly dangerous.

And of course it's true that EH is intent on flogging the wonders of Britain for all they are worth, in the year of the Olympics. So expect much more spectacular nonsense from the BBC, ITV and Sky before the next 12 months have passed....

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- there is no clarity or reason in just assuming the because things are round, they must have been made by nature -- without a single analogy from present-day landscape-forming processes to support your argument.

Constantinos Ragazas said...


The prevalent presupposition blindly followed in matters of Stonehenge is that “because things are round, they must have been made by men!”

I have many compelling reasons, in the explanations my hypothesis provides, to confirm my hypothesis.

But I can't engage in such discussion here since you wont allow it. I respect your right to control your blog!


Anonymous said...

pdf of latest research available here

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- you are very welcome to provide us with some evidence. Evidence and scientific citations I like -- wild theories that are unsupported, I dislike.

Tony Hinchliffe said...

I fear this will all end insanely, as with The Scottish Play.

"Is this a Quarry I see before me?
And filled with Bluestones some of which, I'll wager, were carried by Man and Llama to Salisbury Plain [or should that be Dunsinane?]"

Anonymous said...

If you watch closely the Mr Pitts/Achilles version of Helen of Troy you will see them moving llamas out of the gates of Troy just before the seige.
Those Bronze Age Greeks got around!! That was a trade route... make moving orthostats 300Km a bagatelle.
GCU In two minds