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Thursday, 9 February 2017

Rhosyfelin -- bad news from the rock face?

I reported back in August that some cosmogenic dating was about to be done at Rhosyfelin -- and I assumed that a number of samples would be taken which would help to sort out the chronology there.  I assumed that samples would be taken from the big "picnic table" slab and from assorted positions on the rock face, so as to establish when assorted parts of the face first became exposed to cosmic radiation.  In particular, the so-called "extraction point" so beloved of Prof MPP deserves serious investigation.

Well, I heard on the grapevine not long ago that NO samples were taken from the rock face and that the only feature sampled was the big stone.  If that is true, this appears to be a pretty meaningless exercise, since ages for the faces of the stone cannot now be interpreted alongside any "control" dates from the crag itself.   One, or all of the dates, from the stone could be wildly misleading, since nothing will be known about inherited exposures, dates of burial, amount of overshading by trees or cover by turf, moss and bushes.

Very disappointing -- but maybe we should not be too surprised, since good science has been in very short supply at Rhosyfelin.

Apparently the dates may be reported in the summer.  Let's see what transpires......


chris johnson said...

If true this is extraordinarily blinkered and verging on the incompetent.

It might well be true as the archaeologists are adamant that glaciation is irrelevant to their story of Rhosyfelin and thus even asking for the data might be seen as a weakening of their position or a distraction. I recall when I was associated with clinical trials that certain pharmaceutical companies were more than reluctant to look for data that was not strictly required to get an approval - they called it being professional and it seems our archaeologists pursue the same approach.

TonyH said...

Attended an MPP lecture last weekend arranged by Wiltshire Museum at a sold out Devizes Town Hall. The subject was the Beaker People, and MPP presented an overview of all the research conducted over several years by specialists throughout the country. This had also been reported on by "British Archaeology", number 150, September/October 2016, pages 30 to 35. His talk was very analytical and clear, and very well received. And, no, no mention of Rhosyfelin quarry, just an indirect mention of south west Wales being the source of the bluestones, so nothing contentious or inflated to report.