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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

National Park: we want Rhosyfelin to be a quarry, and therefore it is a quarry

 Nelson makes good use of his blind eye (Jonathan Gifford)

My spat with the Pembs Coast National Park over their walks leaflet on Rhosyfelin rolls on.  I have been trying for months to get the wording on the leaflet changed.  See

More than six months ago I complained about the inaccuracies in the leaflet, and when nothing was done I complained again, this time to the National Park Officer and various other senior officers.  At last I have received a reply from the Park's Archaeologist Phil Bennett,  agreeing to make a few minor changes but insisting that the heading should still be:

Craig Rhosyfelin: A Stonehenge Bluestone Quarry

The following changes to the text have now been made:

Look Out For: Craig Rhosyfelin Crag, source of at least one of the bluestones from the inner, bluestone circle at Stonehenge (it’s the inner circle that contains the mix of stones, it’s the inner horseshoe/oval that is solely dolerite)
And overleaf: It is here that at least one of the famous bluestones were quarried and later taken to Stonehenge.

Phil explained himself thus:
Although aimed at a general and non specialist audience we have taken advice from a range of senior academics undertaking current research to inform the text. The method of transport of the stones to Stonehenge using oxen is one of several hypotheses and we feel that its inclusion in the text encourages walkers to consider the vast effort that was required to make the journey.

My reply is appended below.  Nothing further will be done, of course, because this is not about scientific integrity or the truth -- it is about wild conclusions being drawn in haste, about an obsession with demonstrating how wonderful the National Parks "cultural heritage" is, and about saving face.  The truth is whatever the National Park deems it to be, and having placed Prof MPP on a pedestal as one of the Park's heroic figures, he has to stay there.  As for the Parks apparent determination to completely ignore the two peer-reviewed papers by Dyfed, John and myself, that brings to mind a little article which Tony kindly brought to my attention.  As Nelson said when looking through a spyglass with his blind eye: "Ships? I see no ships...."


Hi Phil
Thanks for this.  There is no quarry at Rhosyfelin -- that is the considered opinion of Dyfed, John and myself, and of all of the senior glacial geomorphologists who have visited the site.  You have seen the two peer-reviewed articles.  Why do you persist in refusing to acknowledge this research and this considered opinion?  We are less than impressed.  As for the "range of senior academics undertaking current research", we all know about MPP and his colleagues who have staked their reputations on the "Neolithic quarrying" thesis -- but the fact of the matter is that they have NOT produced any solid evidence for quarrying, no matter how many times they may tell you that they have.  Why is there apparently a blockage relating to glaciation and glacial transport?  Do you really think the public is incapable of coping with a scientific debate, in which there are two theories coming from rival camps?  That's the way science works, and it's fine to acknowledge it.
The title would lose nothing if it was as follows:
Craig Rhosyfelin: A Stonehenge Bluestone Source
Oxen?  Bluestones?  Vast efforts? Taken to Stonehenge?
I repeat -- all we know is that some of the debris at Stonehenge probably came from here or hereabouts.  We do NOT know that one of the monoliths came from here.  For goodness sake, ask the geologists!
Sorry, but you are acting like a marketing offshoot of the MPP digging team rather than an organization which has a respect for scientific accuracy.  Can I suggest you just scrap this leaflet and start again?
Best wishes




TonyH said...

Hope you use the Jonathan Gifford painting of Horatio Nelson putting the telescope to his blind eye at the Battle of Copenhagen in April, 1802 in your revised edition of "The Bluestone Enigma".

The National Park Officers should be ashamed of themselves!

I suggest you get back in contact with no - nonsense Yorkshireman John Craven, who I remember came to chat to you in your garden where you had a filmed conversation about Preseli and its Local History about two years ago, and get him to come down again with the "Countryfile" crew.

Amazing! Just picked up NEXT week's Radio Times to check the spelling of Countryfile (one word or two) and what did I see? John Craven and Helen Skelton are in Pembrokeshire for this Sunday's Countryfile, July 3rd.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Yes, they are hoofing around in Pembs right now, making bits and pieces of film for the prog.

Phil Morgan said...

I may have posted some thoughts under the '900,000 views' topic by mistake; it was meant for this one, sorry.

Daft I am see.

TonyH said...

The poet Matthew Arnold redefined the word "PHILISTINE" to denote an anti - intellectual approach towards culture. Its original context was Biblical, the Philistines were a non - Semitic group of people who lived in ancient Palestine. Goliath was the champion of the Philistines and he goaded the Israelites to produce someone to fight him. eventually, a gutsy little guy called David took him on with his sling.....

TonyH said...

Oh, and I notice now that Phil Bennett works under the title "Culture & Heritage Officer"!!

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah -- so now we know what "Phil" is short for? Sorry -- couldn't resist that..... I blame you entirely, Tony!

Phil Morgan said...

I'm not sure which Phil is being aimed at here?

I prefer the Irish version --------- Phil O'Sofical.

Need my tablets now.

BRIAN JOHN said...

If Phil Bennett sees this, he will no doubt be able to tell us whether his Christian name is Philistine, Phil O'Sofical, Philanderer, Phil Osopher, Phil Anthropist, or just plain Philip........

TonyH said...

When, wondering what comment to make here, I started to think about members of my family long, long, ago using the word "Philistine" in its more modern, metaphorical meaning, i.e. denoting someone with a rather backward, anti - intellectual approach, I assure you all, hand on heart, I was not trying to aim any personal slings or arrows at Phil B - it never entered my head that there could be any pun therein. I was just fuming, rather like Brian patently was and is.

Moreover, I had no idea poor old Phil even has the word 'Culture' embedded in his Job Title. This could be a (metaphorical) albatross hanging around his head.

I will leave it for others to read into my above use of words from the English language the degree of coincidence in my choosing the words 'slings' and 'embedded'. I'm sure Mr Bennett is a fine fellow in many ways. Just a pity he's not a rugby player like his illustrious namesake..... though I see he has a 'Linkedin' profile entry the content of which others may find paradoxical.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Don't get me wrong. Phil is a perfectly nice fellow. It's just that I wish he were not so easily led.......

AG said...

Perhaps the purpose of his job has more in common with the tabloid columnist in "Private Eye"magazine

Poly Philla?

TonyH said...

An entirely non - racial comment [what with all the trouble Jeremy the Labour Leader has got into] you understand, but is it at all feasible that Phil Bennett of Pembrokeshire may, before changing his name by Deed Poll, originally have had on his birth certificate Phil E Stein?

TonyH said...

Perhaps Mr Parker Pearson and Friends' claim that Rhosyfelin is a Neolithic Quarry possesses as much genuine substance as that of Dudley Moore's character, Mr Spiggott, a cheerful, enthusiastic one - legged man auditioning for the role of Tarzan in front of less - than - impressed but polite Impressario Peter Cooke?

Four minutes of utter mirth

If it doesn't work, it's easily found with keywords.

BRIAN JOHN said...

In case of confusion, it should be stressed that Phil B is NOT the rugby player who enchanted the world with his silky skills. Not sure that the NPA's Phil ever did a brilliant side-step, except of the metaphorical kind......