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Thursday, 28 January 2016

That hilarious exchange......

Here are screenshots from that 1972 BBC TV programme introduced by Alice Roberts and shown on BBC4 last night.  It's worth watching just for the exchange between Richard Atkinson and Geoffrey Kellaway.  Atkinson is resplendent with bow tie under his chin and with spectacles perched precariously on the end of his nose, pontificating like some insufferable patriarch, behaving as if it was really beneath his dignity to be meeting riff-raff like Kellaway, let alone sharing valuable TV air time with him on matters that have long since been determined as the truth.   His speaking style is really quite wonderful.......  Then we have Kellaway, sitting uncomfortably in his Sunday best suit, trying, as a humble field geologist, to explain things about glaciers to a group of senior and very smooth operators from the archaeology establishment who clearly considered him to be an idiot........ Actually he was not the greatest public speaker, but he was a smart fellow who knew the evidence very well, and who got some things wrong but a great many things right.


10 comments:

TonyH said...

Whoops,forgot completely to watch or record said programme (part 1 of 4 - part series), but have JUST set it to record on tonight's 8 p.m. BBC4 repeat!

Richard Atkinson has lost a lot of his kudos recently amongst the archaeological would - be ruling [hypothesis!] hierarchy (Parker Pearson and the like), largely because of his inability to write up his archaeological reports efficiently........what we need now is for not just the Geologists like Rob Ixer and Richard Bevins to find their stars are rising, but that, similarly, the fieldwork of Glacial Geomorphologists in both Pembrokeshire and also the broadly Somerset terrain is treated respectfully and seriously.

Dave Maynard said...

Tony and Brian,

I watched the programme last night. What was the glacial evidence Kellaway found on the M5 during construction? Or do I have to look for myself in the search box!

Dave

BRIAN JOHN said...

It wasn't him that found it. Some of the old geologists wrote of erratics and probable glacial deposits in the area. Various geomorphologists then described the glacial deposits of the area around Kenn and Court Hill -- the M5 construction work exposed some new sections which are well described in the literature. Hawkins, Gilbertson, Campbell and others have written it all up, and Kellaway was involved in the work too. The big GCR book on "The Quat of SW England" is probably the best reference.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Dave -- put in "Kenn" in the search box and a lot of stuff will come up. Hope this helps.

TonyH said...

Dave.......and then you'll be able to "Kenn" (in the 'John Peel' sense) a lot about glacial geomorphology in North Somerset.

TonyH said...

Vis a via this Post's photographs of Atkinson & Kellaway:-

An it's goodnight from him....

.....and it's goodnight from him

Dave Maynard said...

Thanks for all the help!

I didn't realise my old lecturer from Sheffield, Dave Gilbertson, was involved in the north Somerset work. Not fully looked at all this, but did come across Scourse, 1997 and Strahan et al 1914. Both of these tie in with the Whitland erratic.

The BBC4 programme was very interesting. Geology was obviously a very small component of it and the whole SH story is amazing even if Preseli is ignored all together. One phrase seemed to jar: 'Some of the geologists against the archaeologists' (I paraphrase). Are all archaeologists fixed on the human transport theory? Are some geologists convinced by the human transport?

Dave

BRIAN JOHN said...

One could home in on many of the comments from the programme. I agree -- "Some" geologists against "all" the archaeologists is a spot of nonsense.

Which Whitland erratic are you talking about, Dave?

Dave Maynard said...

Good question, what do I mean?

I think it was referencing erratics in the Whitland area. I guess all the fieldwork was for Strahan et al 1914, with very little since then, or do you know differently?

Dave

BRIAN JOHN said...

I did my doctorate on N Pembs, and there are a few other dissertations and masters' theses, but sadly, S Pembs has been largely neglected. So yes, we are still dependent to some degree on the work done by Strahan et al a century ago, and on the thesis by JC Griffiths -- to which I have referred many times.