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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

How much do the Rhosyfelin partners know?


Here is a screenshot from the University College London web site, relating to the "Stones of Stonehenge" project. It is otherwise called the "Preseli Stones of Stonehenge" project, and currently has funding from: National Geographic Society, Royal Archaeological Institute, and Society of Antiquaries.  It has grown from the Stonehenge Riverside Project, which is now finished, having had a budget of c £500,000.  The budget of the present project is unknown, although somebody must know........ and we do not know how much public money is involved, apart from the fact that many of the "project partners" are paid for their time from the public purse and probably contribute equipment and laboratory / technical assistance via assorted university departments.  You and I, through our taxes, are the ones who pay for all that.  The three major cash funders are educational / charitable institutions which do not advertise the sizes of their grants disbursed to project leaders like Prof MPP.

In the light of the ongoing mystery regarding the research results from three seasons of digging at Craig Rhosyfelin, and the lack of any public statements relating to the radiocarbon dating results of many samples submitted, one wonders how much the project partners know.  In the old days, when I used to be involved in joint projects, we who were partners circulated our results between ourselves, and had an ongoing process of data reporting and information exchange.  Nowadays that process is easy, thanks to things like Dropbox and Cyberduck.

Mike prides himself on the manner in which he consults and bounces ideas around amongst his colleagues.  That's one of the things that comes out clearly from his latest book.  So I have to assume that all of those on the list above are in possession of the radiocarbon dating results from Rhosyfelin, or have at least had a resume or report from MPP............ so why has NOBODY said ANYTHING?




















10 comments:

Constantinos Ragazas said...

Brian,

The UCL website screen shot you have linked states Bevin and Ixer has pinpointed the source of one of the bluestones. Which bluestone might that be and from where? Nothing from Rhosyfelin matches any orthostats at Stonehenge.

Kostas

Jon Morris said...

so why has NOBODY said ANYTHING?

They might be getting a part of the funding from media rights Brian. If this is the case, they'll have a CA (aka NDA) in place.

NDAs are fine I guess but mean that you have very limited access to external expertise. Even negative NDA's (Only effective if the disclosure is of no interest to the disclosee) put people off.

TonyH said...

Jon, please, for the benefit of the uninitiated like myself, explain what the acronyms CA and NDA stand for. Thanks, Tony

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well, we know that they have National Geographic funding, and the mag / TV channel will want their blockbuster on a certain date to be the point at which all is revealed. I'll make a guess that the film is already done -- and that they are desperately trying to find something from Rhosyfelin to back up its conclusions while the evidence on the ground is pointing in quite another direction.....

If a ruling hypothesis is difficult enough to stop rolling, then a Nat Geog Mag blockbuster must be even more difficult to stop. Should they write the script again, and re-do all the filming? Fat chance of that happening.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well, we know that they have National Geographic funding, and the mag / TV channel will want their blockbuster on a certain date to be the point at which all is revealed. I'll make a guess that the film is already done -- and that they are desperately trying to find something from Rhosyfelin to back up its conclusions while the evidence on the ground is pointing in quite another direction.....

If a ruling hypothesis is difficult enough to stop rolling, then a Nat Geog Mag blockbuster must be even more difficult to stop. Should they write the script again, and re-do all the filming? Fat chance of that happening.

Jon Morris said...

Jon, please, for the benefit of the uninitiated like myself, explain what the acronyms CA and NDA stand for.

CA: Confidentiality Agreement
NDA: Non-disclosure Agreement

In industry, often used where an idea might benefit both (or sometimes another) parties if some sort of joint agreement can be worked out. In films, used to make sure that people involved don't blow the plot-line before the opening.

A softer form is where you don't mind the 'plot-line' being blown providing the other party acts in some way or other. A really soft form is where you just have an agreement to keep things confidential.

A problem occurs when two parties have the same idea and one offers the idea to the other under an NDA: If the other accepts, he then can not use his own idea unless the NDA has a get-out clause covering this event. If the second party already has an NDA with someone else covering whatever they are working on (the idea), then the second party is in serious trouble. So if you get into bed under an NDA, you're prevented from certain types of contact with others, even if they may be able to help you, because risks from the NDA over-rule.


Jon

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks for that explanation, Jon. So if a project leader sells his soul -- so to speak -- to a TV channel or some such thing, in order to raise the finance for a series of digs, he is essentially stuffed. He can't reveal his findings, or those of his colleagues, without the consent of his paymaster. But is he also precluded from revealing to the world -- or to his own colleagues -- that either a CA or an NDA exists?

OK -- there are plenty of colleagues on this Project List ... would one of you like to tell us what is going on? If you guys don't actually know what is going on, that would be a miserable scenario indeed.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Tell us more about the C14 dates. I have only heard of them from this blog.
M

chris johnson said...

@Brian,
I know of NDAs that bind both parties to keep the existence of an NDA confidential. Actually it is not that unusual in my world.

I imagine that a confidentiality agreement is a standard component of obtaining research funding from the private sector.

Facts are being sought to support the narrative currently but I do not see that inconvenient evidence is being suppressed. After all, the disappearance of Carn Menyn from the story for the time being is inconvenient surely?

Jon Morris said...

So if a project leader sells his soul -- so to speak -- to a TV channel or some such thing, in order to raise the finance for a series of digs, he is essentially stuffed. He can't reveal his findings, or those of his colleagues, without the consent of his paymaster.

Depends on the terms of the agreement Brian. I doubt anyone would sign an NDA that wholly gives over those sorts of rights. But if the film-makers have put a condition on findings not being disclosed within time limits (quite likely because that's how they get the 'exclusivity' angle), then they won't be able to disclose the findings early except through channels specified in the agreement.

There's nothing wrong with all this. It benefits both parties. But it can prevent the project leader from accepting certain types of new information from external sources so, occasionally, can force a project to go in a direction that it would not have otherwise done.

All conjecture though as we have absolutely no idea what commercial agreements are in place.


But is he also precluded from revealing to the world -- or to his own colleagues -- that either a CA or an NDA exists?

I suppose you could write a clause preventing disclosure of the existence of an NDA. I doubt it would be legally enforceable unless exceptionally well drafted. In my opinion, you would have to be slightly insane to sign one of these.


PS anyone interested should make their own enquiries and not rely on these internet discussions etc etc