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Wednesday 9 October 2013

Celebrity Status for Rhosyfelin

I was at a talk last night -- of which more anon -- at which a photo was shown of Welsh Culture Minister John Griffiths being given the lowdown by MPP during a recent visit to the dig site.  Richard Bevins was in attendance, and one of the top people from the UK archaeology hierarchy was also present -- don't recall his name.  No matter.  I wonder how many other "celebrities" have been given the standard guided tour of the site in recent weeks?

One or two people on this blog have expressed the view that the members of the digging are not very good at marketing, and that they are but simple archaeologists getting on with their work.  I beg to differ.  You don't have high-profile visits like that of the Minister without some pretty effective marketing going on -- designed to demonstrate that Rhosyfelin is an iconic Welsh archaeological site of international importance.  That tunes in precisely with the MPP view that this is the best preserved Neolithic quarry in Europe -- soon, no doubt, to be featured in  a spectacular National Geographic film.  Before we know what's happening, we will find that Cadw is listing Rhosyfelin as an Historic Monument -- I wouldn't mind betting that this designation is already in the pipeline, with a citation packed with confidence and hype, and allowing no room for doubt...........

So the myth that this is a quarry site is peddled and repeated over and again, in all the right places, within the political, cultural and scientific establishment, until the fantasy becomes fact.   To hell with uncertainty and scientific rigour.  Should we laugh or cry?  I'm not sure........

I asked in an earlier post about the restraining voices from geologists and other earth scientists.  I ask again -- where are they?  Remarkably silent -- apart from one regular contributor to this blog.  Maybe all the others are keeping quiet because they too are enjoying the ride on the bandwaggon, for reasons best known to themselves?  I'm sorry if this all sounds rather churlish --  but the bottom line here is scientific integrity.  I have thrown down the gauntlet with my piece published on Scribd and with many entries on this blog.  If anybody out there has got anything to say in response, let's hear you!

And I'm not going to accept any criticism from anybody who says that the Scribd piece is not peer reviewed, and is therefore not worthy of respect.  It has had a great deal more peer review, from the bloodthirsty readers of this blog (!) than the chapter dealing with Rhosyfelin (Ch 17) in MPP's recent book, in which he described Rhosyfelin as the "Pompeii of prehistoric stone quarries". 


Constantinos Ragazas said...


Have you tried submitting your Rhosyfelin article to the “Earth Heritage” magazine? For “fair and balanced reporting” of the facts! Perhaps Myris will help you!

Or, we can keep hammering away here at all the problems with the “quirry theory” MPP et al run and hide from! Like the dates! And how over-reaching claims can be publicly claimed yet the 'stratigraphy' is still being 'worked out'!

Tell us it isn't marketing Chris!


BRIAN JOHN said...

The mag only takes short notes -- but I have written to the editor and if they would like a short piece I will be happy to do that for them.

And don't get obsessed with the C14 dates, Kostas. They will be published in due course, and in my view a proper appreciation of the stratigraphy, and what it tells us, is far more important.....

Constantinos Ragazas said...


I agree! But shouldn't the public pronouncements also wait till that time when the dates and stratigraphy are also known? This push to win public opinion is what betrays the motives behind the science.

What more does MPP need in order to obtain the stratigraphy? He has the dates for some three years. He has extensive digs all along the Craig.

Imho, the dates don't fit so the stratigraphy is not settled.


TonyH said...

Undoubtedly, MPP is the "Richard Branson" of archaeology marketing. Perhaps he will soon recruit Mike Oldfield to perform Tubular Bells atop Rhosyfelin: after all, Oldfield has already immortalised another physical feature in the landscape. Hergest Ridge in Shropshire.

The MPP Marketing Machine was swiftly out of the blocks this autumn. Go to:-

There you will see a proud MPP
addressing the over - eager multitudes.

This was a PRE - PLANNED visit to Rhosyfelin for Council For British Archaeology punters, as part of a CBA Members Weekend in SW Wales. A legend begins.