I have been taking another look at the Channel 4 programme called "Secrets of the Stonehenge Skeletons" and have paused it in the middle because I am now seriously confused.
MPP says that the bluestones were in position around 5,000 years ago, set into the 56 holes which we call the Aubrey Holes. His thesis is that the stones were put into position to "seal in" the cremated bones of men, women and children who belonged to high-status families or aristocracy. The bones confirm this, having come apparently from 63 different individuals, C14 dated to 3000 BC to 2800 BC. So far so good.
Then it gets confusing. The commentary of the film says "amongst the cremated bones of the bodies at Stonehenge, his team has unearthed two ancient clues." One of them was a beautiful mace head, and the other was a pottery incense burner with traces of burning on its rim. MPP is shown examining them, together with a highly ornamented mace staff or shaft with zig-zag bone features affixed. These are all referred to as "Stonehenge grave goods". MPP then says to camera: "The presence of a mace head in one of the burials at Stonehenge indicates that that man was a person of authority."
But hang on a bit -- don't we have a problem here? I thought that all these items were supposed to be Bronze Age? So I did a bit of googling, and found that the mace head and bits and pieces of the staff did indeed come from Bush Barrow, where they were discovered by Cunnington and his colleagues in 1808. They were not unearthed by MPP and his team at all. These items were indeed Bronze Age, and are normally associated with the Beaker culture on Salisbury Plain, which did not make an impact until about 2,500 BC -- about 500 years later than the placing of the cremated bones in the Aubrey Holes.
I am not sure where the pottery incense burner came from, but I'm pretty sure I have never seen a mention of such a thing in connection with either the cremated bones or the Aubrey Holes. Does anybody recognize it?
So in arguing for his hypothesis of aristocratic families being cremated and being buried beneath bluestones in the Aubrey holes, MPP has apparently used artifacts that are at least 500 years too young to have any bearing on the cremations; and he has also used artifacts that have not even come from the Stonehenge site. Very naughty indeed -- and as far as I am concerned, this illustrates that (like various other professors who shall be nameless) he is not averse to inventing evidence or misrepresenting evidence in order to support a favourite hypothesis. Academic fraud? I leave it to others to decide........
And if there is serious misrepresentation here, MPP cannot blame the producers of the programme. Some of the misleading statements have come from the spoken commentary (which he must have seen and approved) and some of them come from his own mouth, on film.