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Monday, 26 October 2015

Rhosyfelin -- the marketing begins.....

No sooner said than done -- I was just browsing about and came across this, on the National Park web site.  It's a short walk (one of many) in a format suitable for use on iPhones and iPads, or for printing off as a paper copy.  That's the way tourist information is going.

I'm really rather irritated, because in spite of letters to the NPA Archaeologist Phil Bennett, and to the NPA's Chief Executive, warning them to be rather careful about what they say on the subject of Craig Rhosyfelin, they have gone straight into full marketing mode, and to hell with the truth.  So Craig Rhosyfelin is flagged up in the title as "Source of the Stonehenge bluestones"  and then we see:  LOOK OUT FOR: Craig Rhosyfelin crag, source of two of the bluestones from the inner circle at Stonehenge.

On the second page the text reads:  It is here that a number of the famous bluestones were quarried and later taken to Stonehenge – most probably by land on sleds hauled by oxen. 

Needless to say, there is no evidence for any of that.

As an honest taxpayer -- and as somebody who led over 200 walks and talks for the National Park's visitor programme over the years -- I feel somewhat aggrieved that the NPA nowadays apparently has no regard for science or for properly published research work, and prefers to obtain its information from certain professors who stand up and tell elaborate stories in public lectures.

On we go, with the race to the bottom......


TonyH said...

Quite simply and quite literally, this marketing release from the Pembrokeshire National Park Authority is not good enough: not only is it inaccurate and misleading, it is in the realms of Grimm's Fairy Tales.

The only people who should be able to get away with this level of deliberately misleading disinformation are those who publicise what exists on their own, privately - owned, land.

I would have thought it highly unlikely that Welsh local government Councils would even consider trying to "get away with" pulling the Welsh wool over its local taxpayers' eyes to this extent.

I hope, in due course, any RUG - made out of the aforementioned Welsh wool - will be pulled from under the feet of those at the NPA, and that their THUDDING to the ground will reverberate to Cardiff and Bangor and beyond.

Speaking as someone who worked for Gwent (now Monmouthshire and other) Council as their County Planning Department librarian, assisting in the collection of information for such projects as the Big Pit, Blaenavon, and the Wye Valley, I am appalled at this disregard for factual accuracy.

chris johnson said...

This is complete lunacy for tourism. I was there a couple of weeks back and met a nice couple from N. England who had been directed over from Castell Henlys. We met each other on the road out and with only 10 metres between him and a passing spot he tried valiantly to reverse his car, something he has not done in years it seems. This is going to be fun and I am glad they have introduced a note of caution. Some enterprising local can start a business rescuing people whose engine has cut out after taking the ford a bit too quickly.

These people are so un-commercial it is scary. Far better to disparage the CRF site and draw attention to other places where there is better access.

BRIAN JOHN said...

This is all about building up the list of "heritage sites" -- the more they can find and promote, the more "important" Pembrokeshire becomes in heritage terms. Maybe, also, there are actual funding implications from the Welsh Government -- maybe worth checking up on.....

Once upon a time, the PCNPA used to resist tourism and concentrated on "quiet enjoyment" by those who managed to get here. They left the tourism promotion to the County Council and the Wales Tourist Board -- now, apparently the mantra is "pull them in at any cost, using whatever methods we think we can get away with."

Myris of Alexandria said...

Oh it is not so bad, trivial really.
I think that the two SH orthostats is an error, a misunderstanding, it comes not from the pet rock boys. There might be two but the best guess at present is 32d but 32e has also been suggested.
There is the inevitable typo, rock outcop sic, better than cop out, bullock driven sleds very MGM. Let my people go.
Brian not every battle is worth fighting, this is not a learned article, it is not even chip paper.
Cryf is now for ever and correctly part of the Greater Stonehenge Story of which we are but bit (sorry background) actors.
Harness your wrath for the months to come.

Myris of Alexandria said...

On the subject of typos Geocur, in another place, gives the url to a site by the waterworks genii and I agree even for him this is an extraordinarily funny set of ideas. Stonehenge was a nuclear reactor used to warm water, but I liked the two "ingenious" rock types rhyolite and dolerite.
This is why learned matters and data should be restricted from the great unwashed, even with running warm water.
As a joke Dr Ixer once noted that the orthostats at Stonehenge carry graphitising carbon (as seen in coke) and chalcopyrite, main ore of copper, and so could have produced the Chalcolithic, stonehenge even has sarsen as a flux.
Better than that some of the mauls at Mount Gabriel in southern Ireland had a HIGHER copper content than the "ore"' That did take some finding but was irresistible.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Myris -- here we go again with 32e...... I have come back to this over and again. If any of the stumps might be foliated rhyolite, the ones to go for are 32c and 32d. In the Atkinson photos, 32e looks very different. My guess is that it is a dolerite.

Myris said...

Read what is written NOT what you think is written.

32e has also been suggested. This is a statement of fact.

I suspect the pet rock boys would guess 32c to be Volcanic Group A, majority opinion is that 32d might be CRyf.

As Hagios Kostas would remind us they need sampling.

But 32e who Knows.

In the very unlikely event this is of help The Ixer and Duller 'Virtual Atlas of Opaque and Ore Minerals' is no longer hosted by SME but has moved to I and D's own site at
It is FREE (so saving $30 for grog, fags and the dog racing gazette perhaps)but Hardback copes are available at silly prices £200 - £1000, they seem to sell at that price too, pity the authors do not get a cut.
Still, same with Rosie's albums, second hand silly prices.
Meanwhile thin gruel for the authors.
What a wicked little world we live in.

Dave Maynard said...

Where did the idea of oxen raise its' head?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Myris, I know perfectly well that it has been suggested in print by you guys that stump 32e might be a foliated rhyolite. What I am saying is that you made a mistake -- you have admitted as much on this blog, more than once. It doesn't look anything like a foliated rhyolite, if the Atkinson photos are anything to go by. Looks like a dolerite.

We all make mistakes. Another of yours was referring in print to Rhosyfelin site 9 when you meant site 8. (Site 9 is a long way off, further up the valley.)

Myris said...

Ah hoisted!
A Hardback cope at less than £1000 is probably a bargain Hardback copies, less so.
I suspect the keyboard is worn, t is often missing unless struck hard and now the i. New bloody laptop too not a year old.
Similar problem with previous laptops top right of the key board drops out, is that a common phenomenon.

Myris said...

Yes site 8 is correct, the pet rock boys looked at so many samples from the small outcrop before hitting the quarry face at site 8 that they tend to blur in the memory. That is why reviewed articles are so important, facts are checked and rechecked before going into print. Blogs require a far less rigorous system just the normal stream of unconsciousness- the turgid id writ long and large.
32e was an early suggestion and had the quarry been opened up and the strong fabric of the rhyolites seen in the field it might not have been the first guess. There is a planar fabric to it that does not look doleritic. I know there would be joy in the Heavens were it CRyf but fear that festive joy be late.

Yes is site 9 even a rhyolite? I am not really certain without looking where it is.


Dave Maynard said...

If the lowing of the oxen wake the baby, will the baby be thrown out with the bathwater?

Myris said...

All is not lost Read carefully.

Pet Rock boys 2011
"Atkinson’s macroscopical description of the five ‘rhyolites’ as being blue, flinty and with delicate flow-structures of thin white laminae or more rarely bands of small white globular masses (1979, 49) could easily describe much of the ‘dark flinty rhyolite’ and ‘rhyolite with fabric’ sub-classes of ‘debitage’ seen throughout Stonehenge, but is less like the four standing orthostats. The 1954 photographs of stump 32e show a homogeneous, blocky lithology with a thin but strong planar fabric, seen as alternating pale and darker layers, that conforms well with his description given above but it also corresponds well with the current macroscopical descriptions of ‘rhyolite with fabric’ ‘debitage’. The preferential ‘quarrying’ of this buried orthostat but not of the other four could explain their present day relative sizes as well as the relative amounts of their ‘debitage’ at Stonehenge and is in line with Thorpe et al. (1991) who noted that ‘the chemical composition of most of the fragments (12 ‘debitage’ ‘rhyolites’ from Aubrey Holes and the Heel Stone area) do not correspond to those of the four sampled rhyolite monoliths and are clearly derived from unexposed or destroyed bluestones’.
A yet more seductive hint is that the rhyolite of buried stump 32e may belong to the foliated rhyolitic rocks now recognised from Pont Saeson. However, only a thorough petrographical and geochemical investigation of a sample from ......"

BRIAN JOHN said...

I think the pet rock boys are referring to 32c and calling it 32e. Ever since, the mistake has been inscribed in stone, to coin a phrase......

Stump 32e is the stone nearest to standing stone 33, which makes complete sense. 32c is the stump furthest away from stone 33.

Here is the Atkinson pic:

Myris of Alexandria said...

No the pet rock boys were talking about 32e the solid stump next to SH33.
NOT 32c.
Read Atkinson, the determination was based on Atkinson's description of a RHYOLITE, 32d was has has always been described as one of the tuff/ashes.
Volcanic Group A in the forthcoming I and B 2016 paper in the ferret club news.
So 32e was and has always been 32e, post the quarry excavation 32d has been more favoured by the cognoscenti.
So I do not know if the pet rock boys have ever published on 32d except in passing.

BRIAN JOHN said...

All very confusing -- just goes to show that we really do need those stumps to be exposed again, and to have some samples taken from them......

Myris of Alexandria said...

I totally agree and discussion with the powers is never far away.
However EH as was requires all earlier excavations to be written up first.

BRIAN JOHN said...

I thought Atkinson was dead? He ain't going to do a lot more writing up.......

BRIAN JOHN said...

.... or was it Profs TD and GW who were the last ones to look at those stumps in their natural setting?

Myris of Alexandria said...

Nobody since the 1950 has seen any buried orthostat.
Prof Darvill et al saw only standing stones.
It is all in the pet rock boys orthostat paper.

BRIAN JOHN said...

So which excavations are they still waiting for to be written up?

Myris said...

The 2008.

Dicky Show a Light said...

Hello to Myris,
A small stock of fe3o4 has been obtained and the initial findings have justified the exchange of 79 Au.
In atypical acronym form ------ I'm SHINPAD.
TA for the help.

Not many to argue with when you're the Hellenistic Lighthouse Keeper.

Dave Maynard said...

Just to be clear, The two stones referred to on the back of this PCNP document are thought to be the two that have not been seen since the 1950's?

BRIAN JOHN said...

There are actually 3 stumps that haven't been seen since 1950. But the idea of the TWO Rhosyfelin bluestone stumps comes from misunderstandings of some of the things said by Ixer and Bevins.

Myris of Alexandria said...

The pet rock boys have noted that Cryf is the origin of most of the entire debitage.
There is no standing orthostat that can be the parent of this debitage, unlike SH48 and rhyolite E or SH38 and Volcanic Group B debitage.
It is reasonable to assume, ignoring any glacial debris thoughts, that the rhyolite debris is from a buried or lost orthostat.
Amongst the buried orthostat,none of which have been seen by mortal man since Atkinson
The best contender is 32d or e or has gone completely.
The suggestion that Cryf May have supplied more than one orthostat does not come from anything written by the pet rock boys and when first they heard of it (very very recently) both expressed great surprise.
Please read the pm,just read the abstract,the discussion and conclusions, only the immediately concerned read whole scientific papers.
Are we all clear if not send Large boxes of good quality chocolates and I shall try to say it again.
Oh that we had more Alexanders, good enough for me, for the city and for adverts.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Careful, Myris. What they have said is that CRyF is the probable source of most of the RHYOLITIC debitage from THOSE PARTS OF THE STONEHENGE LANDSCAPE THAT HAVE BEEN INVESTIGATED. That's a very different matter. Am I being pedantic? I don't think so.

Myris of Alexandria said...

No I agree with that.
The thousands of bluestones in the Hawley pits should be reexcavated.
No context now other than eastern side of SH but a chance of recognising the other orthostats.
Am writing the stats of the bluestones slowly as there are many data and I am no statistician.
But there appears to be very little variation in type and weight temporally or spatially.
But another few thousand samples would be good.
The new Stonehenge Landscape EH book is clear,takes very slow reading surprisingly balanced,though totally dismissive of anything glacial,and good up to 2012.
Although more than $30 worth buying, nice companion piece to Cleal et al.

Myris said...

The pet rock boys, just the basic two this time, have submitted their latest
"Volcanic Group A debitage: its description and distribution within the Stonehenge Landscape".
This completes the primary descriptive papers of all the major igneous rocks found within the debitage and standing stones.

The idea, in 2010, that this would all be done in a couple of papers and a couple of years has long been abandoned.

There is only the Lower Palaeozoic Sandstone to write, but that will have a cast of thousands.

But there are the odds and sods and New Age clutter to dismiss yet.
Were there but a crystal wand to wave.