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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Hot news from America

Hot news from America (well, not actually all that hot -- but news travels slowly across the Atlantic) -- apparently the two Profs (GW and TD) are now so convinced that the "important person" who may or may not have been buried beneath that little pile of stones on Carnmeini has something to do with Stonehenge that they are directing further research at the problem of how he did it, and when, and why.  They say that this splendid fellow "played a crucial role"  since he was buried on top of a "ceremonial stone circle."   So there we are then.  There is probably a research proposal in the pipeline as we speak.  How on earth they propose to demonstrate all of this is a closely guarded secret -- but maybe they have a direct line to the spirits of the ancestors or to Gwlad y Tylwyth Teg?



 From the latest edition of the American Welsh Newspaper called NINNAU:


ARCHAEOLOGISTS ARE researching the grave of an important figure they believe may have played a crucial role in the construction of Stonehenge. The burial chamber is located above a ceremonial stone circle in the Preseli hills in west Wales, where it is believed bluestone was quarried before being taken to Stonehenge. More research will be done to establish if the important person buried there played a role in the moving of bluestone 190 miles from West Wales to the Wiltshire monument. The find has been made by Professors Tim Darvill and Geoffrey Wainwright, who have spent the last IO years trying to establish how and why the blue- stones - or spotted dolerite - were transported from the Preseli hills to Stonehenge.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some of us started in 1988 and never once thought of fairies/day trippers from Samarkand as a transport mechanism/chief architect.
I estimate that the total cost of my/our provenancing work has been less than £500!(for sample preparation) so much can be done (see our two recent papers) without the need for huge grants.
Some of us do it for the correct reasons -to get it right and to be the first to do so.
For my next grant...... perhaps I should join the gravy train-ah gravy and train buzz words there
as Mrs Beeton might say- first catch your stone.
Speedy

BRIAN JOHN said...

We don't need to take NINNAU as an oracle, but they only use what's fed to them -- and so we can assume that somebody close to the project has done the feeding, maybe in the form of a press release. What interests me is how the future research will be organized, how it will be justified, and how it will be funded....... probably it will come under the auspices of this strange thing called SPACES.

Anonymous said...

I used to work for a Welsh County Council Chief Architect whose name was Jones, but he wasn't from Wales, But from the land of Aubrey Burl, does this make him an exotic person who exuded charisma and knowledge like our Preseli V.I.P.??

Anonymous said...

Never mind "this strange thing called SPACES", I recommend the surrealistic cult comedy SPACED, starring Simon Pegg, from 10 or more years ago.

Alex Gee said...

As the manual transport theory is the foundation of their work. Isn't it about time they produced some evidence for it. Preferably before they add yet another floor to their house of cards?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Tim D and Geoff W should spread their gospel to South America, to the Welsh colonising remnants of faraway Patagonia, Argentina? They may be prepared to "tango", financially speaking, with our intrepid duo. Good luck, boys! They play rugby out there too!

Gareth

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thinking of rugby, somebody told me once that GW played for Tenby Grammar School 1st XV when I was playing for the all-conquering Haverfordwest GS team around 1957-8. I have no recollection of it, but I must check it out one day......

Geo Cur said...

Alex , what would the evidence consist of ? Apart from some unlikely trace in the immediate source and final destinations how would you recognise it anywhere between these two points There is no evidence for the movement of any stones at any similar monument in the UK or for that matter the mechanics involved in the erection of the sarsens, a problem with more variables .

Anonymous said...

Hang on a minute, although I'm not Welsh, I seem to recall some connection between the Eisteddfods and the building of stone circles back in the 19th as well as 20th centuries. So does that make TD & GW's stone circle the site of the world's first Eisteddfod? With a V.I.P. buried on top, so he must have been an Arch - Druid, surely?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Yes -- in a sense, this lack of evidence is the most persuasive argument against human transport. As Steve Burrow has pointed out in his book on Welsh megalithic structures, they were all made of the raw materials immediately at hand. If roving stone collectors did indeed gather stones from Preseli (and elsewhere) and take them all the way to Stonehenge, that is not only counter-intuitive, but it is a truly extraordinary exception to the rule. It is of course because of this apparent (to some) gigantic leap in imagination, social organization and technical progress that Stonehenge has become such an iconic structure. Never repeated before or after -- so indeed one of the great Wonders of the man-made World.....

BRIAN JOHN said...

Anon -- who was buried there? Maybe one of Elvis Preseli's ancestors? It is of course well established that that ancient clan which later emigrated to America was very influential in those parts.

Geo Cur said...

I can only suggest three reasonable possibilities to explain the presence of the Bluestones at Stonehenge 1) They were transported by human agency which also included the use of animals . 2) They were transported by glaciers to an area close to the site . 3) A combination of 1 and 2 . As yet there is no evidence and there is unlikely ever to be any for 1 ) , even in areas where stones have clearly been transported long distances where glaciation could not be the explanation or those examples where stones have been transported relatively short distances there is nothing retrievable in the archaeological record to show the event ever happened .There is no evidence for 2) but one day we may be able to be more assured just how near or far the glaciers got to the monument . Steve Burrows comments were also applicable until very recently small scale projects usually do use local materials but apart from the Llandegai palisaded enclosure there is nothing like Stonehenge in Wales in terms of scale . His “scavaging opportunists “ is also appropriate for much of history , as I have mentioned previously it is hardly fitting for the raising of the clearly non-utilitarian capstones of Portal tombs ,which like the sarsen components of SH we have no evidence for the mechanics of erection . Regardless of all that Stonehenge is unique , there is nothing like it , like many of the great prehistoric monuments it has intrigued punters for generations , long before the provenance of the stones was even considered ., the possibility that punters did move the stones ,like the astronomy , is only a recent and minor part of the intrigue .

Anonymous said...

If Stonehenge is an extraordinary exception to the rule, never repeated before or after, then aliens must have built it!

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo -- I agree with some of that, but not all of it. You say there is unlikely ever to be any evidence for the human transport of the bluestones. I absolutely disagree with that point -- if that is what happened, there are many bits of evidence that we might expect to emerge at some stage -- for example bluestone monoliths demonstrably from Carn Meini on the floor of Milford Haven, remains of sledges or boats in the muds of the Severn estuary, abandoned or broken stones, ropes and rollers etc etc. Why on earth should we not expect such things? If there were indeed many stone collecting expeditions, we would have every right to expect bits and pieces of paraphernalia to turn up. Everything that happens leaves some trace -- it is just a matter of finding it. And if you don't find any evidence to support the theory, people like me will continue to believe that the theory is simply wrong.

And I also disagree with you when you say that there is no evidence for glacial transport. There is abundant evidence which points to this explanation, as I keep on pointing out on this blog. The evidence is not conclusive, that's true, but it is still a great deal more substantial than the evidence for the human transport theory -- which, as you point out, is thus far non-existent.

Geo Cur said...

Brian , the transport of stones even for up to 5 K is an accepted practice by Williams –Thorpe & Burl yet in the short distance between source and destination there has never been any finds of anything resembling evidence for the means of transport despite excavations in the immediate area of the destination ,no “bits and pieces of paraphernalia “ ever .
Why should you accept that a Bluestone from Carn Meini found in Milford Haven or anywhere south and east of the Preselis was the result of human transport , wouldn’t the obvious conclusion be it was an erratic ?
Isn’t the current thinking on glaciation that it stopped in line between Bridgewater and Bath and there is no evidence that it ever reached as far east as Salisbury Plain .
The two types of evidence ,as I have mentioned before , belong to two different categories ,glaciation is one of the most powerful forces of nature and has left evidence everywhere it impacted , humans moving stones is not quite in the same league and rarely leaves an impact .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Hi Geo --

The whole point about finding Carn Meini bluestones in Milford Haven is that they shouldn't be there -- because all the evidence shows that the ice did not flow across Pembs from NE towards SW but from NW towards SE. So genuine Carn Meini bluestones sitting on the bed of Milford Haven would cause me to seriously question my glacial transport hypothesis and would constitute strong evidence favouring the human intervention idea.

The burden of proof issue is an interesting one. If we were in a court of law, and you tried to convince a jury that human beings carried stones from Preseli to Stonehenge, you would not get very far by saying "We don't need any evidence that this is what happened. We rest our case." There is a burden of proof placed upon you, whether you like it or not. You cannot just assume it happened, especially (as we are agreed) such a thing never apparently happened before or after the event which you are proposing.

It does not help the human transport thesis to simply say "Men are very small. They do lots of things without leaving any traces behind." Sherlock Holmes would not agree with you on that -- and neither do I. There have to be clues out there -- maybe very small and subtle, but clues nonetheless.

It is also a cop-out to say that glaciers are big and powerful, and that therefore the burden of proof placed upon people like me is that much greater. Some glacial effects are incredibly subtle -- and history is full of long discussions about whether ice did or did not affect certain parts of the globe -- Buchan, the Cairngorn summits, the driftless areas of the USA and Canada, Jameson Land in Greenland, to mention but a few. Agreed, the current view is that the maximum extension of Irish Sea Glacier ice was somewhere on the Somerset Levels, with a line running from Bath via Glastonbury down towards Bridgwater. But as I have often pointed out on this blog, that "accepted wisdom" is not all that wise, since there are assorted clues suggesting that the line is wrong.

You say "there is no evidence" that ice ever reached Salisbury Plain. I think I would rephrase that as "there is no PUBLISHED evidence that the ice ever reached Salisbury Plain." A very different thing.....

The evidence -- of one sort or another -- supporting one hypothesis or another -- is out there. It just has to be discovered and published.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Hi Geo --

The whole point about finding Carn Meini bluestones in Milford Haven is that they shouldn't be there -- because all the evidence shows that the ice did not flow across Pembs from NE towards SW but from NW towards SE. So genuine Carn Meini bluestones sitting on the bed of Milford Haven would cause me to seriously question my glacial transport hypothesis and would constitute strong evidence favouring the human intervention idea.

The burden of proof issue is an interesting one. If we were in a court of law, and you tried to convince a jury that human beings carried stones from Preseli to Stonehenge, you would not get very far by saying "We don't need any evidence that this is what happened. We rest our case." There is a burden of proof placed upon you, whether you like it or not. You cannot just assume it happened, especially (as we are agreed) such a thing never apparently happened before or after the event which you are proposing.

It does not help the human transport thesis to simply say "Men are very small. They do lots of things without leaving any traces behind." Sherlock Holmes would not agree with you on that -- and neither do I. There have to be clues out there -- maybe very small and subtle, but clues nonetheless.

It is also a cop-out to say that glaciers are big and powerful, and that therefore the burden of proof placed upon people like me is that much greater. Some glacial effects are incredibly subtle -- and history is full of long discussions about whether ice did or did not affect certain parts of the globe -- Buchan, the Cairngorn summits, the driftless areas of the USA and Canada, Jameson Land in Greenland, to mention but a few. Agreed, the current view is that the maximum extension of Irish Sea Glacier ice was somewhere on the Somerset Levels, with a line running from Bath via Glastonbury down towards Bridgwater. But as I have often pointed out on this blog, that "accepted wisdom" is not all that wise, since there are assorted clues suggesting that the line is wrong.

You say "there is no evidence" that ice ever reached Salisbury Plain. I think I would rephrase that as "there is no PUBLISHED evidence that the ice ever reached Salisbury Plain." A very different thing.....

The evidence -- of one sort or another -- supporting one hypothesis or another -- is out there. It just has to be discovered and published.

Geo Cur said...

Brian , the glacial map of southern England you posted on January 8 has glacial arrows coming from the Preseli area pointing in directions from SSW-SSE , that is why I suggested if any Bluestone is found at Milford haven it would be claimed to be an erratic .
Your’e doing a Kostas , I never said “We don't need any evidence that this is what happened. We rest our case." I said there has never been any evidence .
The lack of glaciation and movement of erratics in the Buchan area and further west proved a sticking point for Thorpe and Williams –Thorpe It was clear that the Old Keig recumbent weighing 53 tonnes came from a source 10 km including an uphill transport but rather than accept that figure which would have doubled their estimate of never more than 5 km they went against the evidence and suggested “the case for human transport is unproven “ meaning there is no evidence for human transport ,yet they accept the transport theory for up to 5km without evidence .
The evidence for human impact due to transporting megaliths 5000 years ago in areas that have been glaciated is zero , there may be clues but we have never found them . Conversely I can look out of my window and see evidence of glaciation 3 Km away go up the road and see the effects of glaciation 35 Km away .
The judge is waiting for the written evidence for glaciation having reached Salisbury Plain but any other type of evidence will suit the jury .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo -- sorry, I was using "you" as meaning anybody, not you in particular! And yes, my comment about what might be acceptable in court was rhetorical on my part! But you get my meaning....

You (personally) did say: "As yet there is no evidence and there is unlikely ever to be any for (1)." We'll agree to differ on that.

I'm mystified by your take on my map of the Anglian Glaciation -- it does NOT show ice crossing eastern Preseli and flowing from there to Milford Haven.

I wouldn't get hung up about a "maximum distance" of 5 km for the human transport of big stones, where it appears that movement has occurred in an opposite direction from that of any glacier ice. As I have often said on this blog, terrain and vegetation conditions are probably far more important than actual distance. There is a cost / benefit formula in there somewhere, as in all engineering projects.

Alex Gee said...

Hi Geo
Who knows what the evidence could be? I was merely pointing out that If there is no evidence for the Human Transport theory, Any hypothesis founded on it, is just a house of cards?

Of the two theories, I would favour glacial transport,on that basis alone.

That no evidence for human transport, has been found at any similar site, rather underlines my point?.

This is the Gist of what Brian has been saying all along.

The problem with Stonehenge, is that evidence based and non-evidence based hypothesis are given equal weight; along with all the "New Age Woo" and other rubbish.

My own "evidence based"hypothesis, is that Stonehenge was some sort of Mesolithic/Neolithic Looney Bin.
Perhaps some remnant morphic field affects the mental stability of some of its visitors.

It would explain a lot!!.

Tony H said...

Thank you, Brian and GeoCur, for conducting a meaningful dialogue above on matters glacial, geomorphological, & archaeological, which many of us will have found very rewarding and instructive: in marked contrast to other, less meaningful contributions which sometimes occur here with others!

Geo Cur said...

Stone circles by their nature are typical examples of sites that have had stones brought to the site , the distance is immaterial , the most obvious place to look for the evidence of stones having been transported is in and around their final destination yet in all the excavated stone circles there is not one example of anything to show in what manner the stones had been moved .
There is also no evidence that shows that builders of prehistoric monuments did not move megaliths long distances . There is a suggestion that in those areas which had been glaciated megaliths may have come from within 5 km of the build site ,apart from the fact it conveniently ignore some examples that don’t fit the distance criteria this is not proof that “ people did not carry stones over great distances,” . This has some similarities with the “we know that far bigger stones were moved greater distances elsewhere “ which does not mean the same happened here . All we can say on both counts is that glaciation shifts erratics and people are capable of moving big stones great distances . It is in the nature of the material , a lack of evidence and only suggestions of possibilities .
A similar example of lack of evidence is related to the people who built Stonehenge and the other Wessex monuments ,where did they live ,where are their houses ,where is the evidence for the method used in erecting Sarsens , lintels timbers etc ? There is a clear distinction between geological and human impacts and digging won’t necessarily provide evidence for the above .
The glacial default position may apply in the British and other glaciated areas but is clearly not applicable to many Middle eastern , Asian and African circumstances , where the human transport hypothesis ,which is the self evident explanation for those non glaciated examples is applicable everywhere .

When proponents of the strong glaciation hypothesis i.e. the Bluestones were brought to Salisbury Plain by glacial action can prove that glaciers did reach Salisbury Plain then they can begin to argue for that possibility , until then the best they can argue for is that the edge of the ice was in a line from Bath to Bridgewater and it is possible that the stones were transported that far . With that evidence would they get in the court room ?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo -- I don't want to put words into your mouth, but I'm intrigued by your tendency to argue that evidence is not needed, and that all we need to do is use analogy, or extrapolate things on the basis that "if they did something here, they could also have done it there"........

That, if I may venture to suggest, M'Lud, would not get you very far in a court of law, especially if "they" were from different cultures and lived in very different environments..

You also keep on using the phrase "there is no evidence". If I may respectfully point this out, what you actually mean is "we are not currently aware of any evidence...."

I am an eternal optimist, and believe that NOTHING is done, anywhere, without some traces being left behind. And I am optimistic enough to think that if the evidence is out there, it will eventually be uncovered.

You talk about a lack of evidence on Salisbury Plain relating to lifestyles etc etc --- it seems to me that you are fundamentally wrong there. If nothing else, all the recent digging by all these learned professors is surely revealing, bit by bit, much more about the sociology and economy of the tribes that lived in the area?

Geo Cur said...

Brian ,The sites of some of the biggest battles fought on British soils in the Historic period ,recorded by scribes and historians involving the participation and loss of thousands of human and animal lives complete with the use of metals in armour and arms are still unknown . Apart from the written record what physical evidence will there be of the recent day of action for future archaeologists to discover ?
Once again , I didn’t say that evidence was not needed , I said it’s not there . As I pointed out that extrapolation is the same as “ this area was glaciated therefore that explains the presence of anything foreign that may have come more than 5 Km .”
Neither provide evidence it goes with the territory .
“We are currently unaware of any evidence “ means no evidence today ,whatever is to be found in the future might tip the scales in either direction we can only judge on what we have today . I didn’t talk about “lack of evidence on Salisbury Plain relating to lifestyles” or socio economics , I specifically mentioned large monument construction and settlement in Wessex .

Geo Cur said...

Alex , there is no evidence for either the Human Transport Theory or Glaciation reaching Salisbury Plain . And even if there is a day when it is shown that Glaciation did indeed reach the Plain that would just be the starting point of an argument suggesting that was the mode of transport of the Bluestones . However I don’t see why the total absence of human transport evidence elsewhere underlines your point , it simply shows evidence has never been discovered . Not sure what you might be suggesting . As a Mugwump / fence sitter (whatever happened to GCU in two minds ?) with no axe to grind seeing two evidencelight sides battle it out provides the opportunity for entertainment and the ability to lean to one side without falling off .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Geo -- I'm quite intrigued by your line of reasoning. The fact that many episodes of British history (including great battles etc) are not currently recorded in the archaeological lexicon does NOT mean that the evidence isn't there. It's just that we haven't found it yet, or that our techniques are not sufficiently sophisticated. For example, I foresee that techniques will become available for us to find traces of weapons in the soil that have been rusted away -- in iron nodules or other mineral traces. Over and again we find pins, shafts and other bits and pieces (which might be made of very resistant alloys, ceramic, bone or stone) that DO survive when other materials are rotted away.

You say: "Apart from the written record what physical evidence will there be of the recent day of action for future archaeologists to discover?" Are you referring to people marching on the streets and waving banners? That's not a very fair analogy. But there WILL be abundant traces of our buildings, life styles, roadways, energy infrastructure etc.

You tick me off for saying you were referring to lifestyles and socio-economics. You are being a bit pernickety, if I may say so. You said:

"A similar example of lack of evidence is related to the people who built Stonehenge and the other Wessex monuments,where did they live ,where are their houses ,where is the evidence for the method used in erecting Sarsens , lintels timbers etc?" Houses, buildings, settlement sites, building methods etc -- that seems pretty close, to me, to talking about lifestyles and socio-economics.

I'm not accusing you of anything, but it does tell us something about modern archaeology that SOME (I'm sure not all) archaeologists seem to think that they don't actually need evidence as other sciences do, on the basis that it probably isn't there, and so they assume that the rest of us will be satisfied when they say "Trust us -- we are archaeologists. We KNOW what happened, because we are the experts." Hum Hum.

Anonymous said...

"Trust us -- we are archaeologists. We KNOW what happened, because we are the experts."

Sounds like Kostas with his mistrust of experts! If we can't trust experts, who CAN you trust? Laymen with common sense? Let's get real here!

Geo Cur said...

Brian , I never said the evidence isn’t there , battles were mentioned as examples of very big impacts on the environment that , in some cases , we have yet to discover that evidence .

You said “You tick me off for saying you were referring to lifestyles and socio-economics. You are being a bit pernickety, if I may say so. You said:
"A similar example of lack of evidence is related to the people who built Stonehenge and the other Wessex monuments,where did they live ,where are their houses ,where is the evidence for the method used in erecting Sarsens , lintels timbers etc?" Houses, buildings, settlement sites, building methods etc -- that seems pretty close, to me, to talking about lifestyles and socio-economics. “


I don’t believe that I was being pernickety ,although everything might be subsumed under socio economics or Kostasian nature I was clearly referring to physical activities that might be expected to leave retrievable traces on the ground i.e. settlement /housing ,mechanics of erection of timbers lintels and sarsens .
You say that you are not accusing me then go on to talk about some methods by some archaeologists , I take it that you don’t believe that is what I do so why mention the lack of the accusation . Isn’t that a bit “I know you don’t drink and drive but …..?”

Alex Gee said...

Hi Geo
I have no axe to grind either and agree with much of what you say. Until conclusive proof(nasty word) is found, how can anyone not be in two minds?

I think where we differ, is that like Brian.

I fail to understand how numerous leaps of faith, based on an unproven premise can be regarded as scientific? and published in respected scientific journals?

Is there no peer review process?

Geo Cur said...

Alex ,you said that "where we differ ", but I don't understand what you were suggesting was our differing point .

BRIAN JOHN said...

I think Alex mean to put his text like this:

"I think where we differ, is that like Brian, I fail to understand how numerous leaps of faith, based on an unproven premise can be regarded as scientific? and published in respected scientific journals?"

No doubt he will correct me if I am wrong!

Geo Cur said...

Anon , don't forget RJL who also has a problem /chip on the shoulder about experts . It seems to have been around a long time , the phrase ,"so called experts " was common place when I was a kid .I can't understand why they simply don't just point out what is wrong in a statement without referring to the sex , occupation ,colour ,age , politics etc . of the punter .

Geo Cur said...

Alex ,Brian ,in that case where do I exhibit .
"numerous leaps of faith, based on an unproven premise can be regarded as scientific? and published in respected scientific journals?"

BRIAN JOHN said...

Don't take it personally. Geo. You are a bit prickly today! I think he was talking in generalities......

Geo Cur said...

Brian ,but if that is where "we" differ it must refer to me , I don't take that in prickly personal sense .

Alex Gee said...

Hi Geo/Brian
That's fine Brian. I tend to be rather lazy about grammar/punctuation on internet forums.

Geo, The comment about "leaps of faith"wasn't aimed at you.It referred to the flaky research of certain prominent Archeologists!.

In your debate with Brian you appeared to agree with their approach? That is where I suggest we differ,?; Although I have a sneaking suspicion that we don't really.

What I was trying to say(in a polite way),was that as they haven't proven their basic premise of human transport. Then the leaps of faith to quarries and architects
has no more scientific validity than the theories of Kostas and RJL.

My comment about peer review is self explanatory. I can't understand how such unscientific rubbish can pass the scrutiny of the "Wooniversities" they work for.
Or the peer review process of the scientific? journals this crap is published in??

I'd rather the grant money went to researchers like Dr Ixer, who have obvious regard for daft old fashioned concepts like scientific rigour?.

Rather than cause discord, I propose a unified theory that satisfies everyone.
Perhaps the Architect? sic was the harbour master at Stonehenge?. He died whilst on his two week annual leave, spent ice climbing in Pembrokeshire. He fell off a glacier climb, and was run over by a stone hauling party en route to the docks?

Geo Cur said...

Alex , what did I say that appeared to agree with flaky archaeologists ?

Anonymous said...

If we don't need evidence to know Neolithic men built Stonehenge why do we need evidence to know Neolithic men brought bluestones to Stonehenge?

Not all truths are provable!Better leave some mysteries mysterious ...

Anonymous said...

GeoCur,

“ I can't understand why they simply don't just point out what is wrong in a statement without referring to the sex , occupation ,colour ,age , politics etc . of the punter”

I agree with you. Better we discuss ideas and have an honest debate than engage in character assassinations. The disregard Brian is showing for expert opinion in areas he is no expert, like Archeology, shows a complete disregard for a lifetime of devoted scholarship. I fear Brian is morphing into another Kostas. Soon he will be telling us of an ice cover of Salisbury Plain marked with meltwater basins! How absurd is that!

BRIAN JOHN said...

Anon--
"If we don't need evidence to know Neolithic men built Stonehenge why do we need evidence to know Neolithic men brought bluestones to Stonehenge?" Who says we don't need evidence to show that much of the construction work at Stonehenge was done in the Neolithic? Not me. We do need it, and it is there. I should have thought there is a mountain of evidence in the literature, accumulated over many years. OK -- many details are still the subject of debate, but that's fine....

BRIAN JOHN said...

Other Anon

What's all this about? “ I can't understand why they simply don't just point out what is wrong in a statement without referring to the sex , occupation ,colour ,age , politics etc . of the punter”

Who are the "they" you are complaining about? People who engage in "character assassinations"? I hope I have never been guilty of mounting personal attacks of the type you complain about -- and I always try to look at the essence of the arguments put forward by those who go into print or who choose to put out press releases or to say things on TV. OK -- I poke fun a bit now and then at certain professors, but if they can't take that they really are being hypersensitive. And certain individuals deserve to have fun poked at them, when they deliberately trot out lies and ignore honest scientists whose work does not support their own theses. There is two-way traffic here, folks.....

You also say: "The disregard Brian is showing for expert opinion in areas he is no expert, like Archeology, shows a complete disregard for a lifetime of devoted scholarship." That's a bit rich, since I seem to spend most of my time on this blog defending the opinions of archaeological experts from others who have some very extreme views about what happened at Stonehenge, and when. And unlike some others, I do not have a "complete disregard" for experts or expert opinion. But I do bring scrutiny to bear on some of the things that certain experts say, and if I do not find those things convincing, I say so -- and try to give my reasons. What else do you expect me to do? By the same token, I think I am reasonably expet on matters geomorphological -- and when people question what I am saying, I trust that I do try, patiently and respectfully, to elaborate on where my views have come from, through analogy and citation.

Isn't that what science is supposed to be about? Isn't that what we are all trying to do on this blog? If you don't like it, Anon, you can always go off and contribute to some other blog which shows due deference to those whom you seek to defend.

Anonymous said...

Brian,
From your last post, “ I should have thought there is a mountain of evidence in the literature”.

Doesn't sound like you have done much reading on the subject, Brian. What exactly do you know of this evidence and willing to defend in a debate? Sounds a bit hypocritical to me ...

BRIAN JOHN said...

I think I see Kostas lurking behind anonymity........