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Thursday, 19 September 2013

MPP on the Rhosyfelin 2013 dig (2)



A couple of other things that might be of interest.  Forgot them earlier on.

The dig is continuing until Tuesday of next week, and will be continued in 2014.  The thing that the team seems to be working on at the moment is a "ramp" which they claim to have found somewhere near the position of the big post hole or stone socket that they found last year.  Not sure whether this ramp goes up or down, or what it would be for.  For sliding a big stone up onto a sledge or cradle?  No -- can't be that, since the latest thing is pivots and levers.  No sledges, rollers or cradles needed. Maybe some anonymous reader of this blog will enlighten us.............

Second thing.  MPP mentioned at the end of the talk that he did not believe that there was anything special about the Rhosyfelin stone -- nothing sacred about it, no magical or healing properties, nothing peculiarly attractive about the colour or fabric of the rock.  No, it was quarried from here, according to the Chief Digger, simply because the quarry was in a convenient location and because the stones were easy to quarry.  Hmm -- that's an interesting one, given that everybody who knows the site thinks that this must be about the least convenient location on Planet Earth for a bluestone quarry -- a deep river valley, with a river liable to flood in the winter and with dense woodland on its floor and on its sides.  A typical Pembrokeshire Neolithic jungle.   It would have taken an almighty effort to get one stone out of here and up onto the surrounding undulating landscape, let alone a large collection of them.  But no obstacle, it seems, was insurmountable for our heroic Neolithic ancestors.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." - Richard P. Feynman

It's down to MPP now to Prove his theory.
Show us how they dragged the stones from Wales to Wiltshire.
The millennium project failed. Let's see MPP get a team together and do it.
PeteG

Myris of Alexandria said...

The idea that Rhosyfelin was a sort of B and Q store perhaps a better analogy is IKEA, as you must collect the material yourself, is not new. Dr Ixer attributed that idea to his wife in his Canadian radio broadcast in Dec 2011.
Looking at the photos it is clear why that thought is so attractive.
Was it? I can only be sure we shall be arguing about that for many years to come.
M

chris johnson said...

Mike said something along the lines of Rhosyfelin being the best preserved Neolithic quarry in Europe. This judgement alone justifies more exploration, particularly to find the point at which the stones were transferred for transport over longer distances. Such a dig might be expected to provide clues to how transportation was done and the scale of the operation.

M. of A. said...

Of course the killer question is where did the orthostats go - they did not go to SH as we only have two possible buried Rhosyfelin orthostats 32d/e plus enough debitage to cover them plus say one more (plus all the lost orthostats). Brian will do the figures I am sure.
Just lobbed that in there.
M

Constantinos Ragazas said...

More digging? What about the dates from last year's dig? Why aren't these reported?

Kostas

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Myris,

... throw in the mix enough “buried and missing stones” and the ”killer question” becomes just another enigma without any possibility of an ”enlightning answer”. Satisfies the needy. But not the seekers after sensible truth.

Where are those Rhosyfelin dates from last year's dig? Now that is a true mystery with heartthrobing intrigue!

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- I have no idea how many radiocarbon dated MPP has, and how many of them really do give us accurate means of dating the layers which I have tried to enumerate in that document I put up on Scribd. If he says that everything exposed thus far is Holocene, and if he says "this is all true because I tell you it's true" then he has a credibility problem, and I for one will continue to be sceptical.

Oh for the good old days when data and evidence was put into the public domain (maybe in excavation reports) and analysed before conclusions were drawn. Now, sadly, what we have had since the 2011 dig is a ruling hypothesis systematically supported by whatever info MPP chooses to give us, with inconvenient evidence conveniently ignored.

As I have said before, what we seem to have is a PR campaign rather than a piece of serious science. Should we blame National Geographic for a swingeing gagging order? Maybe MPP wants to give us all the data we crave, but isn't allowed to do it? Answers on a post-card please.....

TonyH said...

POINT OF INFORMATION

It's worth us all remembering, and jotting in our diaries, that Dave Maynard* kindly shared the news that MikeyMPP will be speaking on November 23rd 2013 at the Dyfed Archaeological Trust Pembrokeshire Day about the Rhosyfelin Dig. Not sure where that will be - St David's? Anyone know? If you go, let us know what is said, many of us don't live in or near W Wales. Thanks.

* Dave reported this news on 18th September under the Post of 17th Sept. which was headed "2013 Rhosyfelin Dig".

chris johnson said...

Myris asks the main question.

I learned on site that only 2-3 Rhosyfelin orthostats are likely to have reached stonehenge. I don't think 2-3 stones qualify as a "quarry". When MPP thinks Rhosyfelin is a quarry then presumably he thinks many more stones were extracted and, if so, where did they end up?

MPP thinks that the Rhosyfelin stones were included in a local monument and that monument was moved in its entirety to Stonehenge. If so, where was that monument and how was it moved? My experience is limited but Castell Mawr does not look or feel like the right place - even if it seems to have a henge. The big monuments I have seen are enfolded in the landscape, not stuck on top of the biggest hill.

I wish he was here to help us figure this all out.....

PS. Kostas, the dates are not reported at least partly because they are meaningless without the rest of the context which is currently being excavated.

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

If MPP reports the Rhosyfelin dates thus far are from the Holocene, that covers too large a span of time. From 9700 BC to the present. Lumping these dates in such a long span of time enables him to be “truthful” while being “deceptive”.

Since he has the dates and since he does not want to be specific with these dates, he may be covering up some “inconvenient truths” that would disprove his “quarry” theory. Like more recent dates to say 1000BC at levels below the lying “orthostat”. Or marine fossils that would show his Rhosyfelin “quarry” was engulfed in water.

I agree with you. Nothing in this years dig and in what has so far been reported does anything to prove MPP's “quarry” theory. But raises more questions for the thoughtful.

Kostas

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Chris you write,

”the dates are not reported at least partly because they are meaningless without the rest of the context which is currently being excavated”

Would they be as ”meaningless” if the dates obtained had supported MPP's theory? I think not!

We have “fitting sockets” but no fitting dates? And “local monuments” and “resurrections” and “missing stones” and “stone destruction” and endless “made up stories”. But no scientific date data to report? Really?

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Kostas -- not sure what you are on about here. If the dates are right, they are right -- and we all have to accept that. If the 2m or so of sediments from the old ground surface down to the base of the "orthostat" are indeed all younger than 3100 BC, and the C14 dates have come from positions in the sequence that are sensible, I would be very surprised, but I would have to accept it. Truth will out in the end! All I am saying is that I would like to see the evidence and the contexts from which the C14 samples were collected, rather than just being asked to take everything on trust! You can't get proper academic discourse unless the evidence is shared and analysed by peers.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Chris -- "the dates are not reported at least partly because they are meaningless without the rest of the context which is currently being excavated." Hmmm -- it would not really have taken any effort on MPP's part at the lecture to give us a single slide with the stratigraphic sequence on it, and the locations of sampling points in the sequence, and the dates obtained. I'm intrigued that he didn't do that......

Dave Maynard said...

Kostas,

'More digging?' Of course, we archaeologists keep digging until we get the answer we want.

Dave

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

”Kostas -- not sure what you are on about here.”

See Dave Maynard's comment 21 September 2013 09:04. He puts it best!

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

Myris -- you are still getting the numbers of those stumps all mixed up. The two candidates for foliated rhyolite are 32c and 32d. If you start digging for 32e you will simply hit a lump of dolerite. Interesting, no doubt, but not what you are looking for........

MoA said...

No 32e is in the lit as a possible rhyolite, 32d is perhaps better but 32c seems more like volcanics with sub-planar.
Really seeing them in the flesh is the only way (for flesh read polished thin section).
So 32d and e but old photos and best guesses.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Myris -- it may be in the literature, but it shouldn't be. I have several past posts about this. See this one:
http://brian-mountainman.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/stump-32e-again.html

Date: Tues 9th Oct 2012.
No 32e is the one next to standing stone 33. If that is a foliated rhyolite I will eat my hat. You shouldn't believe everything you read in the literature!

Myris of Alexandria said...

I agree but Atkinson who was the last person to see the buried orthostat 32e called it rhyolite.
With a little imagination a feint foliation can be seen. However I agree off record that 32d looks closer to the rocks from Rhosyfelin.
A 're excavation is warranted methinks.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Keyhole surgery -- you guys know where these stumps are, to the nearest inch. In and out in half an hour flat, with some nice samples to look at......

Myris of Alexandria said...


The very latest thinking.
Ixer and Bevins
"Chips off the old Block"
Release in Dec 2013.

"As a current example of the difficulty of using 19th and 20th century data, it has been suggested that unsampled orthostat 32e, described as a rhyolite by Atkinson (1979), might be the source of the most abundant rhyolite debitage, namely Rhyolite Groups A-C (Ixer and Bevins, 2011a), based on 1960s photographs of the buried stump uncovered during excavations by Atkinson. Now, because of more recent re-examination of the images, combined with a better examination of the in situ source rocks from Craig Rhos-y-felin in north Pembrokeshire, it is thought that 32d might be an even better candidate, despite being described as a spotted dolerite by Atkinson (1979).2
M

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

Have you abandoned your argument of two years ago the Rhosyfelin foliated rhyolite “orthostats” are too flaky and not suitable for monument building? These, you argued, would have disintegrated en route whether by humans or Nature. If you still believe in that wont just this alone deny the buried or missing orthostats or the nuisance boulder destruction explanation for the Rhosyfelin rhyolite debitage fragments?

The only explanation standing silently straight and defiant is my hypothesis!

Kostas