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Monday, 2 May 2016

Mike's Gospel comes to the city of St David's

Here we go again. Prof MPP is obviously still hoofing around giving the latest version of the
bluestone quarries talk, and now he is star attraction in the summer programme at Oriel y Parc in St David's.  The gallery is owned by the National Park, and Park staff are the ones who presumably invite speakers to come along and give talks.  I have given talks there in the past, on various topics.

There are two things that interest me here.  One, this seems to be exactly the same story told by MPP last September, before Dyfed Elis-Gruffydd, John Downes and I published our two papers which fundamentally challenged almost everything about the MPP quarrying story.  So nothing seems to change, and one has to assume that he has decided to completely ignore the points we have made in the peer-reviewed literature.  Second, why is the National Park promoting the talk in this way, using words which ignore the fact that there is a major academic dispute going on here? Surely they must know that there is a strong disagreement between earth scientists and archaeologists on the quarrying issue, and this this calculated promotion of a very partial -- and very unreliable -- narrative does no favours to the National Park's reputation?  It's not as if they can claim ignorance --  I have been after them for years about the "marketing" of cockeyed narratives, in a prolonged -- if somewhat one-sided -- exchange of letters with NPA archaeologist Phil Bennett.

Of course, MPP is a regular at the National Park's big annual archaeology event -- so maybe the NPA top brass think that having promoted the bluestone quarrying story for so many years it's now too late to change policy and admit that the "quarries" at Rhosyfelin and Carngoedog may be nothing more than the product of somebody's rather fertile imagination?

By the way, over the winter Glen Peters, the owner of Rhosygilwen mansion, wanted to set up a "bluestone quarrying" debate in the Oak Hall as part of the winter programme.  I agreed immediately to take part.  In spite of trying hard over many weeks, and contacting many of the key players in the MPP team digs, he could not get a single archaeologist to present the "quarrying" case.  So the idea has fallen by the wayside..........


Mike Parker-Pearson : Stonehenge the Welsh Connection
Thursday 2 June 2016
Discovery Room

A talk led by Archaeologist Mike Park Pearson on his finds and discoveries relating to Stonehenge and the Bluestones of Pembrokeshire.

Excavation of two quarries in the Preseli hills in Pembrokeshire by a UCL-led team of archaeologists and geologists has confirmed that they are sources of Stonehenge’s ‘bluestones’ and shed light on how they were quarried and transported. “We have dates of around 3400 BC for Craig Rhos-y-felin and 3200 BC for Carn Goedog, which is intriguing because the bluestones didn’t get put up at Stonehenge until around 2900 BC,” says Professor Parker Pearson.

“It could have taken those Neolithic stone-draggers nearly 500 years to get them to Stonehenge, but that’s pretty improbable in my view. It’s more likely that the stones were first used in a local monument – somewhere near the quarries – which was then dismantled and dragged off to Wiltshire. Stonehenge was a Welsh monument from its very beginning. If we can find the original monument in Wales from which it was built, we will finally be able to solve the mystery of why Stonehenge was built and why some of its stones were brought so far…”

£5 per person
Booking Essential: 01437 720392


Jon Morris said...

"I published our two papers which fundamentally challenged almost everything about the MPP quarrying story."

He may not have noticed the publication Brian. Alternatively, there may be a special reason behind what they are doing that none of us are party to: Whatever that is, it is not obvious.

Either way, the work will probably be seen as pioneering. But it would be unfortunate if it is seen as another example of why pioneering archaeological works should be restricted in the future.

TonyH said...

"I wanna tell you a Story" as that great Bard, Max Bygraves used to tell us.

Has anyone taken a DNA sample from inside Mike P Pearson's well - publicised mouth? Then at least we would have convincing PROOF of his prehistoric Welsh ancestry......At least that might permit us some leniency in our overall view of how he arrives at his conclusions."Stonehenge was a Welsh monument from its very beginning" he says, and.... "If we can find the original monument in Wales from which it was built" etc, etc.


"MPP" must surely stand for Mervyn The Pied Piper.

TonyH said...

The definition of obsequious is "too attentive and respectful towards someone or something".

The Pembrokeshire National Park is clearly being obsequious towards MPP. In doing so, they are being completely disrespectful to the Earth Scientists with their alternative, peer - reviewed explanations for what processes occurred at Rhosyfelin and elsewhere.

With this "head in the sand" ostrich - like attitude, Pembrokeshire National Park is doing its best to promote an image of itself as the backwater in the far south - west of Wales. Not good.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Jon, if you think that MPP has not noticed our two papers you might as well believe that the moon is made of cheese. Of course he knows about them. As for his reason why he is ignoring our work, that's probably rather obvious too. Senior academics with large reputations to lose tend not to be very happy when their pet projects are accused of being based on fantasy rather than fact -- and they react in a number of different ways. Seen it all before. Watch this space.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Tony, I'm not sure of MPP's ancestry, but as I understand it his wife has strong family connections around Pontfaen in the Gwaun Valley. Rather strange that Geoff Wainwright should be living there too -- so Darvill, Wainwright and Parker Pearson all have more than a passing academic interest in this neck of the woods......

Jon Morris said...

"Senior academics with large reputations to lose tend not to be very happy when their pet projects are accused of being based on fantasy rather than fact -- and they react in a number of different ways."

Perhaps. Never been sure about how archaeology works but I would have thought that an academic would prefer to be wrong (but remembered as someone who enabled resolution of an issue) rather than having to be right (and therefore taking the risk of being remembered as someone whose ideas were dogged by clouded judgement).

So I'm not really convinced by the "reputation to loose" argument: These are clever people and they do not appear to me to be in a profession whose income depends on bluster.

Having said all that, I know nothing about how the profession works so my view is just that of someone looking in from the outside.