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Thursday, 22 January 2015

Whatever happened to Rhosyfelin?


Time for another gripe.  After four seasons (2011-2014) of excavations at this site by Mike Parker Pearson and his team, all we have to show for it is a terrible mess. (This photo was taken shortly after the end of the 2014 dig; God knows what it looks like now.......)

There have been no published excavation reports, no published radiocarbon dates, no peer-reviewed articles, and nothing at all for interested parties to analyse and discuss.  Assorted pop articles and a chapter in MPP's book are no substitutes for proper reporting and informed discussion.

In place of scientific rigour we have seen endless press releases, media coverage and hype, and evening lectures in the 4 village halls in the local community -- and that's all we have in exchange for thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money.

Has anybody ever done a cost / benefit analysis on all of this?

Does anybody know anything?  What on earth is going on?

33 comments:

TonyH said...

Nope, no idea. MPP's Stones of Stonehenge project included his investigations at Clatford, near Marlborough, into the suggestion that William Stucley had seen, in the 18th Century, sarsen stones as it were in a state of readiness for human transportation to Stonehenge; and the eureka discovery of a prepared route across the river Kennet. We have discussed this on the Blogsite also: that project, too, has gone quiet, at any rate
the last time I looked at 2 of
the participating Universities' fieldwork websites. The Silence is deafening. I feel a 'Sound of Silence' Paul Simon quote coming on...

Myris of Alexandria said...

The Groves of... are thick but I believe that
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,
and there will be papers soon peering though the shoote.
Patience.
CBA! by the Gods the world has not blood sweat and tears enough to recompense the pet rock boys.
As the Belgrano Bitch so famously said "Rejoice at the news Rejoice".
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well, that's good to know, Myris. Not geology -- you guys have done a great job thus far, but what we want now is some proper geomorphology and some proper archaeology..... then we'll see whether this quarry hypothesis has any substance to it.

Jon Morris said...

"Has anybody ever done a cost / benefit analysis on all of this? "

To do a cost/benefit analysis,you first have to establish what the benefit is. I'm not aware of any archaeologist ever having defined what the benefit of the discipline is. Though Chris put forward a potential benefit here some time back.

I had an interesting discussion with Dennis over on Dennis's site and the conclusion was that he wasn't aware that anyone has come up with a handy reason for explaining its value that most reasonable people would go along with.

Because this specific issue affects how I have to approach things, I also asked on many other sites, including Mike Pitt's site. But, almost without exception, silence all round on the issue.

Jon

BRIAN JOHN said...

I don't doubt the value of archaeology as part of man's quest to understand the past -- if history is a valid area of research, so is archaeology. My question is this -- what value has the Rhosyfelin dig demonstrated thus far to the community of archaeologists? They have had four seasons of jolly digging and measuring things and recording things, but to what end?

TonyH said...

JON:
I have recently argued, on a separate Post about erratics, that Salisbury Plain Training Area (most of the Plain) might be searched for exotic or erratic stones potentially from any glacier in the vicinity. This could be justified on cost: benefit grounds in the same manner as the MPP "Quarry"
project. I think that, provided
the results of such surveys or
digs are peer - reviewed, the
projects are justifiable, in effect on cost: benefit grounds. Over a million visitors come to Stonehenge every year, and boost the U.K. Economy greatly. There is a Worldwide audievnce hungry for Matters Stonehenge.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Listen boys, I have just become aware, by enforcement,of post-processualism archaeology, you know the guys that use gender when they mean sex as in "gender studies"
Who cares who did the washing up in Bronze Age mining camps.
Gender is for nouns,sex is for educated fleas and Pekenese in the Ritz.
Now there can be no justification for them.
M

TonyH said...

Am I alone in wondering what on earth our cryptic maestro, Myris of Mesopotamia is on about in his last comment? What's all this about nouns, sexism, gender and whse turn is it to do the washing up? Perhaps I'm having a pst - processualism Senior Moment....

BRIAN JOHN said...

Maybe something to do with London Fashion Week on one of the other threads?

Jon Morris said...

“the projects are justifiable, in effect on cost: benefit grounds. Over a million visitors come to Stonehenge every year, and boost the U.K. Economy greatly. There is a Worldwide audievnce hungry for Matters Stonehenge.”

That's an argument that archaeology promotes international tourism Tony: On the one hand, this is good for the local (UK) economy, but on the other hand it has been extensively argued that society should reduce international tourism on the basis that it is not sustainable (being one very large factor contributing to oil depletion & global warming).

If the tourism (economics) angle is used on its own, the logical impact of the argument is that the discipline helps to redistribute wealth towards the UK but at an overall negative cost to World development: A short term pyrrhic benefit. There are obvious problems with the claim that this is a benefit to society.

Jon

Myris of Alexandria said...

I have this fantasy of giving a lecture entitled 'The ores of Babylon'.
Betes noires, gender is a grammatical term,it has nothing to do with sex.
Sex,reminded me of Cole Porter's song
(See were I a post-precessualist I could write a thesis on the societal use of Pekes juxtaposed with the high status elitist Ritz Hotel, call a conference and make some poor innocent review it.
Read gender studies in Carpathian salt mines I kid you not!!!!
And stop confusing me with hat pedantic moaning Myris of
M

TonyH said...

Crikey, Jon, I fully endorse your Bigger Thinking on this, but I was commenting here on Brian's Bluestones & Stonehenge Blogsite, so, fair enough, my "blinkers" were on to the Wider Worldview. I guess I was mainly proposing that, within the spectrum of current International Interaction, whether it be via long - haul airflights or merely the use of the Internet, there is a hunger for knowledge about the mystery of Stonehenge, so to have work parties trawling a 40 - mile radius of the Old Ruin for exotic erratic stones is not as odd or eccentric as some might argue. Blow me, they could all do this on foot or by peddle power!!

TonyH said...

Thank you for your comment, all becomes ever so slightly(?) clearer, Mr Authentic Myris of A.
(I have just witnessed, just audibly, the last part of a West Indian wedding here in not - so - sunny Wiltshire, I was well impressed, Lord I was)

Constantinos Ragazas said...

I think Myris is bemoaning that fence he fell from. But has lost his way and can only talk fashion!

Kostas

Myris of Alexandria said...

Yes mugwumping all the way.
We return full circle as "Good fences make good neighbours" as your wonderful poet- no the other one- says.
I am off the fence but may well spring back onto it or even over it.
M

TonyH said...

"They seek him here
They seek him there..
One thing that he loves and that is flattery
And when he pulls his frilly nylon tights up nice and tight
Well he's a dedicated follower of fashion...."

Any questions??

TonyH said...

They seek him here,
They seek him there,
One thing that he loves and that is flattery
One week he's in polka dots
The next week he's in stripes
'cause he's a dedicated follower of fashion

Any Questions? Where's he from? Leicester?? Richard III???

TonyH said...

"What's the use in Quarrying?
It never was worthwhile."

The original lyrics of this song, intended for the troops in the First World War were written by someone called Powell from Wales. But is MPP the most optimistic senior archaeologist ever to sink a spade in Wales? Shall we vote on it?

BRIAN JOHN said...

No no -- I think the most optimistic have to be Profs Darvill and Wainwright, who continue to preach the Gospel of Carn Meini even when the geologists tell them that the spotted dolerites at Stonehenge haven't come from there at all.......

TonyH said...

But surely Myris of A will agree with the Twin Profs Tim & Geoff, that Carn Meini is in effect Mount Olympus upon which Apollo smiles and rules? Presumably Apollo is still omniscient and omnipresent and therefore is able to redistribute spotted dolerites at a whim?

Jon Morris said...

I guess so Tony,

The worldwide interest angle, without any purpose other than tourism, places archaeology as a hobby organised on a giant scale. There's nothing wrong with hobbies, but devoting resources to them will gradually become more and more difficult to justify:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/3

TonyH said...

We would certainly appreciate a little light falling upon the darkness, Myris, as regards published Rhosyfelin excavation reports, published radiocarbon dates, peer - reviewed articles... or just a few "pearls of wisdom" from the Master's table.

To quote songwriter David
Crosby's song, Shadow Captain:

"Oh captain, why these speechless seas
That never seem to land?
Oh I need to understand
Could a little light be that bad?

I can see your hands are roughened
By the wheel and the rope
I'd like to look to you for hope
I think it's hiding there
This boat is blacked out like a city
Awaiting bombers in the night
Oh you hold your helm so tight
And yet the sky seems so fair"

"Shadow Captain of a charcoal ship
Trying to give the light the slip"

Is the simple answer that MPP is shackled to the main mast, which is National Geographic and the other U.S. City Corporations, just as many of our Pop Heroes were tied to their Recording Companies? So, release of information is determined by the Media Moguls across the Ocean?

Myris of Alexandria said...

All the C14 dates have been passed to MPP's team.
Papers have been submitted to the appropriate journals.
Publishing in high quality journal takes time six months would be fast, a year about average. Longer if the referees differ or significant change s are needed.
I do not believe that D And W are especially beloved of Sublime Apollo.
M

TonyH said...

Thank you for that clarification, Myris. The Mists of Time are thinning at least......

I read somewhere that "DRIFTWOOD", sung by the Moody BLUES, is, appropriately enough archaeologist Mike PP's favourite potential Desert Island tune.

"Don't leave me driftwood
On the shore"

It is a beautiful song.

Myris of Alexandria said...

News just in -to dwarf even the most constant of stars.
I have reminded us all of the votive flint ducks from Bick Mead, they of course are Mesolithic representations
Of the comet that Philae hiding in.
What more proof is needed of the astronomical prowess of our forefathers, and in these post-processualist Times foremothers.
Fireships on the shoulder of Orion,bagatelle.Our Rutti was 71 last Friday, May he live forever and may he get his Oscar one day.
Ah tears in the rain.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Some of the comments on this blog are becoming downright bizarre -- mysticism, astrology, ducks, esoteric beliefs blended with folk music and assorted other things totally beyond my ken..... almost as far out as the beloved hippies, druids and spaceman cults which have enlivened the Stonehenge debate over the years. A little more discipline please, chaps and gals?

BRIAN JOHN said...

That having been said, glad to hear about radiocarbon dates and scientific papers. I trust that these papers will be non-geological, and dealing with what the diggers have unearthed. It will be very interesting to see what the radiocarbon dates tell us about occupation if the site,to see whether the occupation has anything at all demonstrably to do with quarrying of big stones; and to see whether the quarrying (if there was any) has anything at all to do with Stonehenge. Publications eagerly awaited.....

TonyH said...

Fair comment, Brian, at 15.37 hrs today. Nevertheless, I am left puzzled by Myris' previous remark mentioning someone/thing called Rutti linked to a birthday on January 23rd. Is a request for clarification either a reasonable request, or even possible, Myris?

But, by the way, my long quote of the "Shadow Captain" D. Crosby 1970's song was intended to be most APPOSITE to this Post, given the failure of that self - appointed maestro and seer, Mike PP, to provide the British public with peer - reviewed articles, radiocarbon dates, etc, etc. on Rhosyfelin archaeological matters.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Ah Tony you are totally correct was Rutti in his most iconic role someone or something.
The clues were there one of the most famous speeches on the silver screen
Given by a great Dutch film actor Whose nickname is Rutti aka Rutger H.
I asked for his autobiography as a present. He is a lovely man, worship his acting (mainly) but the book was tedious. Still a good man in his personal life and genuinely philanthropic, but sadly no raconteur.
But he did write that speech.
There is a long standing campaign to get him an Oscar.
I am afraid here in Alexandria, mysterious matters, news and Sublime Apollo are all one.
Self control is for rabbits not replicants,not even the pleasure units.
The papers have MPP as first author.
M

chris johnson said...

the fact that one person has so much power over the distribution of information - apparently - is very depressing. It implies that the information is not very interesting. Were it more interesting then the acolytes might be falling over themselves to claim a place in the sun instead of living their damp mushroom existences in the shadow land.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Tend to agree, Chris. After four years of media hype and not much else, I suspect that if there had been anything really significant coming out of Rhosyfelin it would long since have been blasted all over the media. I also suspect that what we will see in these new papers will be rather like the recent D/W paper about Carn Meini -- saying "to hell with what the evidence shows -- this is what we think happened, and it's far too late for us to change our opinions now....."

I hope I'm wrong... bu we shall see!

Alex Gee said...

A.G.
Never mind the quarrying nonsense!Why are the archeos allowed to leave things in such a state?

You'd hope they'd have some self respect!

TonyH said...

And will it return to its previous untouched state in time, like the site of the 18th Century Battle of Killiekrankie? This time the battle hasn't been between the English Army & the Jacobites. Killiekrankie Battlefield appeared on Countryfile last night.