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Friday, 13 May 2016

Into the Lion's Den, and out again, unscathed........



I know some of my fellow bloggers are interested in my talk given today to the Spring 2016 Day School of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists in Machynlleth.  I was given 45 mins to say my piece and to deal with questions and comments, and I expected to be subjected to a ferocious assault from the archaeology establishment.  But although there were around 30 people there, maybe there were no members of the establishment present, and I was given a very easy and friendly ride.  No hostile comments, and no difficult questions to deal with -- and on the contrary, there were a number of comments reinforcing the points which I made.  I came away from the meeting rather convinced that within the archaeology profession there are more than a few people who have major reservations about the manner in which MPP and his colleagues conduct their research and publish their findings.  As I have found on previous occasions when I have addressed professional archaeologists, several of them came up afterwards and said:  "Thank you for all of that.  You have said things than needed to be said......."

What did we say earlier on about the Emperor having no clothes, and the necessity for somebody to point it out to those who for a whole variety of reasons maintain a state of petrified silence?  But why are the professionals so timid that none of them does anything to criticise -- on the record -- some of the nonsense that appears in print?  Are they all scared to death of the big establishment figures, and all scared of having their job prospects negatively affected if they demonstrate any capacity for critical thought?  If so, that's a sad commentary on the state of British archaeology.  Criticism should be coming from insiders, not from outsiders like me.


http://brian-mountainman.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/the-emperor-marches-on.html

When I have had a good night's sleep, I'll try to summarise the main points made in my talk in the centre devoted to the memory of that great patriot and revolutionary Owain Glyndwr.




12 comments:

TonyH said...

Well said, this afternoon, and now in print on this Blog.

What people need to realise is that MPP IS a very persuasive, pleasant, friendly speaker, and he wins over a lot of people to his particular (rather over - imaginative, in my opinion) point of view. However....

Perhaps there ARE some intelligent,generally fairly well - educated folk in Mid and West Wales who take a little time and consider what MPP is saying to them about features in their landscape, and some of them then arrive at their OWN opinion of what Rhosyfelin is in the landscape, and to what extent it has been altered by physical processes, and to what extent it may have been affected by Man over the millennia.

TonyH said...

Brian, you have had almost another 50,000 visitors to this Blog since your previous article {which you mention in this current Post) on the Emperor Mike "Pied Piper" Pearson as recently as January of this year.

If there were to be a Referendum in June on the question: Quarry or No Quarry? I reckon you'd be in with a fighting chance of success.

Myris said...

The clash between the archaeological and geomorphological interpretations of the Craig Rhosyfelin quarry and the likening of it to Imperial cat-walk activity means the rest of us have to suffer the mental imposition from all those swinging dicks.
Time to move on surly.
Lets have something that advances the debate, not a constant repetition of an original position hardly modified by new data.
even voices in the wilderness need to be refreshed lest they grow hoarse.
M

TonyH said...

Perhaps both parties in the debate need to acknowledge when one party has rather more compelling evidence regarding the WIDESPREAD geographical provenance of the totality of "bluestone" material from their South West Wales origins.

Then "voices in the wilderness" as you call them, may decide for themselves just WHOSE sandals it is that are not worthy to be untied by the other party.

I thought MPP, Ixer AND Bevin, etc, HAD attempted to advance the debate by their examinations at the Rhosyfelin Quarry et al; and that John and his geomorphological colleagues had closely examined these claims and found them decidely wanting!

You should have been at Machynlleth on Friday and contributed to the discussion during and after Brian's talk. Welcome back after a long absence, by the way, Myris!

Jon Morris said...

I gave to agree with Myris on this one. Note sure that there's anything new coming up is there?

Mike Pitts talked about all this on his site (it was probably mentioned on this site). I was interested in his take on it, but an I wrong thinking that archaeologists are the primary project managers for this sort of thing? I'm not sure why there is a clash if they are (unless it's a management failure sort of thing)

http://mikepitts.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/the-heart-of-the-stonehenge-bluestone-problem/

chris johnson said...

Perhaps there is a belief that the geomorphological argument will suffocate when deprived of the oxygen of new "facts". It is disappointing that those in possession of most of the information choose not to defend or explain their position, relying instead on the megaphone.

I am interested what MPP is able to discover this season in Prescelly and therefore willing to suspend judgement yet again. Without his compelling narrative it is unlikely he would still be receiving the funding and perhaps his salary even.

it is far from being science.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Chris, there was some talk of this after my presentation the other day. Somebody who knows academia very well commented that these days all that matters in terms of University departmental rankings(and maybe personal status for professors as well) is IMPACT. How BIG is the story, how many media mentions are there, and how many citations are there after publication? And to hell with the truth.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Myris, your comment is somewhat disingenuous since as a leading proponent of the quarrying theory, of course you would prefer criticisms of it to simply go away! Now if you and Richard had been a little more circumspect, and a little less inclined to jump onto the MPP bandwagon, life may have been a little simpler for you! So sadly you have to suffer all that mental anguish. Are we supposed to feel sorry for you?

BRIAN JOHN said...

By the way, I'm trying to move the debate on with my latest observations on the foliations and the fracture pattern. I still think, after re-reading your papers, that you have not demonstrated "spot provenancing" to within a few square metres. I reckon there are about 40 sq m of the rock face across which those same foliations as you found at sample point 8 are outcropping and from which the Stonehenge material might have come. That excludes all the other bits of the same foliations (with the same or approx the same petrographic signature) which may be hundreds of metres or even kilometres away. And that also excludes parts of the crags which have been removed by ice and other processes. What can you tell us about the consistency or otherwise of the petrographic signature of the foliated rhyolite across the full extent of a single foliation plane? I have asked you that before, but you never did reply......

TonyH said...

MPP clearly intends to persist in "strutting his Emperor stuff" whilst at the same time strategically doing that curious academic "trick" of his, that is, periodically placing his famous/infamous Head in the Sand so that he may concentrate upon his increasingly profoundly unsound and unethical details within his "Ruling Hypothesis", whilst giving no respect to the geomorphological processes that are staring him in the face at Rhosyfelin and other Preseli sites where he persists on tampering, minus any genuine glaciological geomorphological specialist to advise him. He has no appropriate geomorphological specialist to simultaneously thoroughly examine the rock strata and the sediments that are excavated in order to consider the work of natural environmental processes in the landscape that may well have been going on over scores of millennia. As a result he has failed to take the opportunity presented to him of advancing general scientific knowledge at Rhosyfelin and elsewhere by destroying geomorphological evidence with bulldozers et al. He insists on interpreting the Rhosyfelin site (and others where he digs) as predominantly influenced by prehistoric man. There is a much Bigger Picture He is missing, for all his marketing and self - promotion skills.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Tend to agree with that -- and of course, it is now impossible for any independent archaeologists to go back and verify or challenge what has been claimed for the site, since the hole has rather comprehensively been filled in....... but luckily there is still quite enough there for geologists and geomorphologists to get their teeth into. As I have said before, I really hope that somebody will get stuck on on a cosmogenic dating programme, so that we can see just how old some of these rock surfaces are.

TonyH said...

If it really IS TRUE that composing and writing an updated version of Hans Christian Anderson's tale of The Emperor Without Clothes is already occupying the minds of some of our finest Blog contributors, may I suggest that Tchaikovski's Nut Cracker Suite be utilised?

That would work on so many levels.

Ouch.