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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Quarry Feud? What feud?

Below we reproduce the latest piece from the Stonehenge News web site.  Blowing everything up out of all proportion, of course, but that's probably inevitable.  This is actually a very minor academic dispute between two groups of amiable field workers from different disciplines -- one group coming from archaeology and the other group (us) coming from an earth science background.  Goodness knows why the media should assume that Dyfed, John and I are archaeologists.  Maybe it makes for a better story...... maybe because one of our papers was published in an archaeological journal.

Anyway, this minor spat is as nothing compared to some other spats I have seen -- on the record and off it -- over the years.

We have nothing whatsoever against any of the people who happen to think they are looking at quarries at Rhosyfelin and Carn Goedog.  This is a purely academic matter.   It's just that we look at the same evidence and see no quarries, and that we are prepared to say so rather than keeping quiet.

And a very happy Christmas to everybody!


Archaeologists Feud Over Second-Hand Stonehenge Theory 

by stonehengenews

The ink wasn’t even dry (or the bits weren’t even embedded in the Cloud) yet on the 2 Comments about a new theory that Stonehenge once stood in Wales before being moved to Wiltshire when a cry rose up from other archaeologists who claim that it was glaciers, not humans, that pushed the monoliths to their current resting place in Wiltshire. Who’s right, who’s wrong and what’s the betting line on the fight?

The feud started with a report last week in the journal Antiquity that archaeologists from University College London (UCL) identified two quarries in Wales that matched some of the bluestones at Stonehenge. The more controversial part of the report was their belief that the stones were made into a monument in Wales which stood for a few hundred years before being toppled and moved to England, making Stonehenge what some were sacrilegiously calling a “second-hand monument.”

Just a week later, Dr. Brian John, Dr. Dyfed Elis-Gruffydd and John Downes thumbed their noses at their peers in a paper published in the journal Archaeology in Wales where they stated that there are “no traces of human intervention in any of the features that have made the archaeologists so excited.”

The stone of contention in this argument is foliated rhyolite debris – fragments of thinly-layered volcanic rock that were found at both sites, prompting the UCL team to declare that they came to Glastonbury with the bluestones from Wales. Dr. John’s team says the Irish Sea Glacier brought the foliated rhyolite debris (a great name for a heavy metal band) 500,000 years ago.

While Dr. John’s team agrees that the Welsh outcrops of Carn Goedog and Craig Rhos-y-felin show signs of human campgrounds, there’s no evidence the Neolithic humans were quarrying monoliths and building a miniature Welsh Stonehenge. In fact, he suggests that the features the UCL team thought were evidence of quarry activity were actually made by the archaeologists themselves. As Dr. John eloquently puts it:

"An expectation or conviction that ‘engineering features’ would be found has perhaps led to the unconscious fashioning of archaeological artifices."

Ouch! But Dr. John doesn’t stop there.

"On the contrary, there is substantial evidence in favour of glacial transport and zero evidence in support of the human transport theory … We think the archaeologists have been so keen on telling a good story here that they have ignored or misinterpreted the evidence in front of them. That’s very careless. They now need to undertake a complete reassessment of the material they have collected."

Dr. John has taken the lead. Back to you, team from University College London.

Article by Paul Seaburn | Mysterious Universe

The Stonehenge News Blog


Myris said...

Now we know the monks were media-evil liars/romancers and that Holy Mother Church just has to put her foot in, is no ceremonial site sacred?, foliated rhyolites as tesserae in 'Agia Sophia mosaics next?. Turkey is doing a big publicity drive.

Do journos read anymore or is that an optional extra, proofing has long gone.

Still Brian Glastonbury is close to your ice-front-one of your ice-fronts- so perhaps this is not sloppy work but insidious salting.
What about Phil and flint knapping on the Pyramid stage. For a suitable fee I will show hundreds of Jovian slides to the sounds of Rosie Hardman tracks (thinking of the extra PRS money) on any Stage.

It really is snowballs down a slope.


BRIAN JOHN said...

Glastonbury? Who mentioned that?

Myris of Alexandria said...

Am I alone in reading what is written.
Paragraph four, line three, word one is Glastonbury. The Stonehenge story people.
Unless Alzheimer's has kicked in early.

BRIAN JOHN said...

I know it's there, Myris, but where did he get it from? Did you mention that in your Antiquity paper? Not that it matters terribly. Yes, Glastonbury or thereabouts would be a nice place for an ice front, as I have speculated before.....

Myris of Alexandria said...

No not at all.
All places are avatars of Glastonbury to New Agers. What would be the equivalent word for avatar but for places.
It is a Freudian slip and rather a delightful one.
Not as good as your being a Stonehenge deny-er. Headlines don't lie.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Glastonbury-Stonehenge perhaps the stones were transported along the M1 of ley lines.
I am guessing stonehenge-Glastonbury must be let line connected.
Brian you must know all this, spirit of Welsh folk law and all.

BRIAN JOHN said...

What did you have for supper tonight, Myris? It was obviously VERY good.......

TonyH said...

Paul Seaburn may SOUND (from his surname) to be a Geordie (placename up yonder is it not, like?), but he appears to be the mastermind behind "Mysterious Universe". The latter is also named at the end of the Post, Brian and Myris!

Unless he, too, is Kostas in Disguise (with Glasses).

Anyway, perhaps we may now see where the GLASTONBURY Freudian/ New Age slip came from.

Oh, and Paul Seaburn seems to be after our dollars to use his site. No thanks, Paul.

And OF COURSE Stonehenge (or is it Avebury?) & Glastonbury connect via a Major Leyline!! It then goes to Lundy Island, then there's a right - angled turn towards Glandy Cross. Robin Heath has confirmed all of this, no problem, as we know....

Myris of Alexandria said...

Sorry a pickle-sausage roll, toast, two gherkins and some jelly babies.
Nothing too psychotropic.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Not even a glass or three of something wonderful? You disappoint me.