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Monday, 7 March 2016

Stonehenge: a prehistoric tourist trap



This old article, from 2013, may not have been very widely read -- and the BBC has just republished it in full on its History web site.

Stonehenge: a prehistoric tourist trap

Wiltshire’s world-famous stones have been attracting sightseers for thousands of years. Here, Mike Pitts tells the tourists’ story.
This article was first published in the Christmas 2013 issue of BBC History Magazine

http://www.historyextra.com/article/premium/stonehenge-prehistoric-tourist-trap



There is also a new article, with this title:

 Was Stonehenge first built in Wales? 

Stonehenge, which began to be built around 3000 BC, continues to mystify historians, archaeologists and geologists.

This article was first published in the March 2016 issue of History Revealed

The article is not available in full unless you part with good money, but this summary is published:

The prehistoric stone circle is composed predominantly of locally-sourced sarsen (sandstone), but at its centre is a setting of smaller ‘bluestone’ monoliths.
For these, spotted dolerite was used – an igneous rock that outcrops in West Wales, some 140 miles from Salisbury Plain.
How these bluestones first came to Stonehenge is subject to heated debate. The answer may come from recent discoveries of potential prehistoric quarries, where dolerite may have been extracted, in the Preseli Hills of Pembrokeshire.
Yet some still contend that the bluestones were deposited on Salisbury Plain by glaciers.
Alternatively, the monoliths may originally have been part of a stone circle constructed in Wales, which was lifted and moved wholesale in the third millennium BC.
But why the herculean effort to move such massive stones? It could be that the unusual spotted dolerite was prized by those living on the more colour-deficient chalk landscapes of Wiltshire.

Answered by one of our Q&A experts, Miles Russell. For more fascinating question by Miles, and the rest of our panel, pick up a copy of History Revealed! Available in print and for digital devices

Sounds rather like yet another uncritical regurgitation of the standard MPP story....... one gets used to this proliferation of very shallow journalism.....


4 comments:

chris johnson said...

I don't see much "heated debate". It appears the academic establishment is in lock-down, unwilling to respond to enquiries or criticism. It is very disappointing that a profession depending on public money and public interest chooses to treat the public with such arrogance.

Where do you think the team will be digging this year?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Chris -- if they get away with their extremely dodgy research and even more dodgy articles, and get some more money to fund their wild goose chases, it is a rock solid certainty that they will be digging at Bedd yr Afanc. As I have suggested, they have already given vary strong hints.....

Jon Morris said...

“I don't see much "heated debate". It appears the academic establishment is in lock-down, unwilling to respond to enquiries or criticism”

It's possible. Another alternative is that there isn't that much interest in responding to external comment as the paper has been published (difficult to work up any interest in funding for entertainment documentaries if there is no academic support for the claims). So if you don't get paid for doing the work, it probably needs a real enthusiast to take up that sort of challenge: I don't know about how archaeologists view their discipline, but some professions can make people disinterested in their work outside office hours.

AG said...

If a paper is published in a reputable journal and legitimate criticisms of the papers findings are sent to the editor of the journal, then that criticism is normally published along with a detailed response by the authors of said paper.

Given the level of legitimate criticism, is there any reason why MPP has not issued a response? Isn't this most unusual?