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Friday, 25 August 2017

Rhosyfelin and Parker Pearson's archaeological artifices


The surface of the Devensian till layer at Rhosyfelin -- laid down by ice and exposed by the archaeologists


Almost two years have passed since the publication of this paper in Archaeology in Wales, a recognized journal whose papers are all peer-reviewed:

OBSERVATIONS ON THE SUPPOSED “NEOLITHIC BLUESTONE QUARRY” AT CRAIG RHOSYFELIN, PEMBROKESHIRE.

Since it was published, we have heard  many reports of talks by MPP and his colleagues, and geologists Richard Bevins and Rob Ixer have also published at least one paper which refers to the "bluestone quarries" at Rhosyfelin and Carngoedog and the human transport of bluestone monoliths.  And yet strangely, I have not heard of or seen any mentions or citations of this published paper, or of the other one (also peer-reviewed) in Quaternary Newsletter.  Do these people simply not read articles relevant to the arguments they are making?  That's a rhetorical question.  Of course they have all read our two articles -- the Arch in Wales article has been read 810 times on Researchgate alone, and most of those reads have come from archaeologists.  In addition to being downright disrespectful to the views of earth scientists who have made valid contributions to a lively debate, it is simply bad academic practice to ignore the articles or to pretend ignorance of them, and to refuse to address the issues we have raised.  We are not amused.

 Whatever happened to scientific discourse? 

We are going to continue to make these points until they are addressed by those who have so enthusiastically embraced the idea of Neolithic bluestone quarries in the Presely area.  Thus far, not a single one of our points has been properly addressed in print, let alone disputed, either by an archaeologist or by a geologist.  So we will keep on repeating them, and as long as there is a thunderous silence from MPP and his loyal quarrymen, we will take this as a recognition of the truth of what we are saying -- namely that the so-called quarrying features are entirely natural, apart from those that have been created by the archaeologists themselves in the course of their dig.

=====================

A reminder of some of our points:


Brian John, Dyfed Elis-Gruffydd and John Downes. 2015. OBSERVATIONS ON THE SUPPOSED “NEOLITHIC BLUESTONE QUARRY” AT CRAIG RHOSYFELIN, PEMBROKESHIRE". Archaeology in Wales 54, pp 139-148. (Publication 14th December 2015)

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286775899_OBSERVATIONS_ON_THE_SUPPOSED_NEOLITHIC_BLUESTONE_QUARRY_AT_CRAIG_RHOSYFELIN_PEMBROKESHIRE

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SUPPOSED HUMAN ACTIVITY TRACES

Ever since 2011 the rock face at Rhosyfelin has been interpreted by certain archaeologists and geologists as a Neolithic quarry (e.g. Parker Pearson, 2013), and the debris banked against it is described as quarrying spoil. However, detailed investigations of the features at the site by the three authors of this paper suggest that there is no sign of human quarrying activity -- either related to the removal of monoliths intended for transport to Stonehenge, or for any other purpose. As suggested above, both the landforms and sediments owe nothing to human interference. It is worth itemising some of the “engineering features” described in the literature, in order to subject them to brief scrutiny.

“The quarry face”

The impressive rock face (Fig. 6) is the feature that has led the archaeologists to assume, after clearing away trees, shrubs and many tonnes of debris, that it is a worked quarry (Parker Pearson, 2012, 2013). The face does not coincide with a single fracture plane, but is made up of multiple surfaces, some set back more than 1.5 m behind others. The “smooth face” is an illusion, and it can be argued that it is simply an “archaeological artifice” created by the excavation team and unlike anything that might have existed in the past. Close to its tip there is much joint widening and evidence of block detachment and collapse guided by intersecting fracture planes. There are no traces of working with wedges or other tools, and there is no joint- guided ledge such as might be expected if the rock face had been systematically worked back from its original position.

“The quarry spoil bank”


The suggestion is that some of the larger blocks now exposed have been deliberately quarried by being levered from the rock face. Some blocks are indeed fractured and sharp-edged, as might be expected if Neolithic quarrying activity had been involved, but others at the surface are heavily weathered and also smoothed and rounded as a result of glacial and fluvioglacial erosion. Such blocks must have been emplaced around 20,000 years ago. Many blocks have weathered faces and “fresh faces”, just like those which are still in position on the crest of the ridge; the weathered faces are exposed to the elements, and the fresh faces are located on opening fractures or joints.

The “proto-orthostat”

Assertions that there is a single large “proto-orthostat” propped on wedges, pillars and rock “rails” (Parker Pearson, 2012; Ixer, 2012: 13) are not well founded. The large flat-topped slab appears to be in an entirely natural position, embedded in other rockfall debris and slope deposits following one of many post-glacial rock face collapses (Fig. 6). The stone is internally damaged by a series of fractures, and is so fragile (like other large stones at the site) that its chances of surviving even a short haulage expedition by land or sea would have been minimal. At a weight of 8 tonnes it is in any case far too large ever to have been thought of as a potential Stonehenge orthostat. It has fallen or slid into its present position at some stage after the deposition of the Rhosyfelin till.

“Props and pillars”

Beneath the enigmatic flat-topped slab the archaeologists have exposed compressed broken rock debris up to 30cm thick. This assemblage of rocks of all shapes and sizes, some of which are broken by percussive impacts, is referred to by the archaeologists as a set of pillars, pivots, props and packing materials put into position by Neolithic quarrymen in order to ease the movement of the “proto-orthostat” downslope. This material has been revealed by the selective removal of other adjacent material, and there is nothing to suggest that there has been any human interference. The “feature” referred to is an archaeological artifice.

“The stone rails”

Parker Pearson (2012) has referred to elongated and broken blocks of rhyolite up to 1m long located beneath and adjacent to the “proto-orthostat” as rock rails deliberately placed into position by quarrymen in order to ease the dragging of the large block downslope from the quarry face. However, there are many other elongated blocks scattered about through the rockfall accumulations, and there is no merit in the idea of human interference in their positioning.

“Scratched rock surfaces”

“Gouges” and “scratches” on the edges of fallen rocks near the “proto-orthostat” are deemed by the archaeologists to have been created when large blocks were hauled over them by Neolithic quarrymen; but after close examination these features are seen to be outcropping foliations typical of the Rhosyfelin rhyolite. Such features are seen on many rock edges throughout the site.

“The monolith extraction point”

Parker Pearson has pointed out to many visitors the “exact location” from which an orthostat was taken from the rock face and hauled or carried off to Stonehenge. That assertion appears to be based on the statement from Ixer and Bevins (2011, 2014) that they had provenanced certain rhyolite flakes at Stonehenge to “within a few square metres” of their sampling point 8, near the tip of the Rhosyfelin spur. However, they have not adequately demonstrated that level of precision, either through published thin sections from Stonehenge and Rhosyfelin samples, or through analysis of a very dense pattern of sampling points. The Stonehenge rhyolite flakes could even have come from a section of the spur which has been removed by the processes of glacial entrainment. Also, the “shelf” from which the monolith is supposed to have been removed is heavily abraded by either meltwater or ice action, indicating that it cannot have been quarried during the Neolithic.

“The working surface”

The suggested Neolithic “quarry floor” and other proposed anthropogenic surfaces have not been examined carefully because they have not been properly exposed. However, the archaeologists appear to have identified the red-stained till surface as the putative quarry floor or terrace (Parker Pearson, 2012). Thus if the archaeological hypothesis is correct, all of the sediments above the glacial and fluvioglacial layers at Rhosyfelin must have accumulated during the last 5,000 years. In other words, in this small valley with steep bounding slopes, there is no sedimentary record of the period between ice wastage and the end of the Mesolithic, spanning a period of c. 15,000 years. It is more likely that most of the sediments above the glacial and fluvioglacial layer at this site have accumulated gradually over a time-span of about 20,000 years, with the identified upper layers (Fig. 4) representing a sequence of climatic oscillations yet to be identified by radiocarbon and other dating techniques. In his 2015 lecture Parker Pearson confirmed that fragments of charcoal dating from the Mesolithic had been found, and this confirms the great age of some of these sediments. In addition, the top of the iron-stained zone is a pedological rather than a stratigraphic feature, and this too negates the idea that it coincides with a quarry floor or working surface.

“The haulage pathway”

This has been described by Parker Pearson as crossing a rough area of boulders and fluvioglacial sediments. Excavation on either side apparently revealed a hard packed route supposedly used for transport of stones from the quarry face towards the storage platform and the revetment. On close examination this too is shown to be nothing but an artifice, created by the archaeologists themselves. In any case this “pathway” is so irregular and full of boulders and other obstacles that it could not possibly have been of any use as a stone haulage route.

“The storage platform”

This is an area described near the outermost extension of the 2014 dig (Fig. 8). Again, it is very rough and irregular, with no clear outline or distinguishing features. It is in any case far too rough and bouldery to have been of any use as a ”stone depot” site.

“The revetment”

A proposed river bank and semi-circular “revetment” of large boulders was described in 2014 and 2015 by Parker Pearson in the gravels near the tip of the spur, on the edge of the main valley floor (Fig. 8). In his 2015 lecture he referred to this feature as a sort of quayside, linked to the supposed quarrying area and used for the trans-shipment of orthostats from the storage platform either onto river rafts or onto sledges, for export down the Afon Brynberian valley towards Newport Bay. However, these speculations are not supported by any stratigraphic differences between the supposed dry land and riverine environments, and all the boulders and cobbles in the vicinity are here interpreted as lying in entirely natural positions. Once again, they have been given prominence through the selective removal of surrounding materials.

“The export trackway”

In his 2015 lecture at Castell Henllys, Parker Pearson showed slides from a new pit dug during September 2015 out on the main valley floor. He claimed that after removal of fluvioglacial and riverine sediments, some sort of curving routeway could be seen, leading from the “revetment” and along the valley, heading north. He claimed that this feature had been cleared of stones and was defined by arranged boulders. On examination, this feature is seen to be entirely natural, with nothing to distinguish it from the exposed surface in other parts of the 2015 pit.

“The vertical stone fulcrum”

Close to the so-called monolith extraction point there is a small elongated stone which projects through the proposed “working surface”. It is leaning away from the rock face, and stands about 30 cm proud of the surface. It is referred to as a fulcrum, used with wooden logs for the leverage of monoliths from the quarry face. However, there is nothing to distinguish it from many other stones which project vertically or at high angles from a jumble of rockfall debris, till and fluvioglacial sediments. The only reason why this is called a fulcrum is that it is located in a “convenient” position.

“Packed sediment supports”

In his 2015 talk Parker Pearson described clay-rich “packed” sediments beneath large sub-rounded boulders in the vicinity of the “storage platform” (Fig. 8). He suggested that the material been “manufactured” in order to bind stones together in the creation of the platform. On examination, this material is seen to be nothing other than the clay-rich till which occurs across much of the dig site.

“Hammer stones”

Parker Pearson (2012: 406) referred to the discovery of abundant hammer stones in the Rhosyfelin dig site. He has claimed in lectures that some of these have percussion marks resulting from use in the quarrying process. However, he seems to have been unaware that there are thousands of such fist-sized stones at this site, dispersed throughout the glacial and fluvioglacial sediments. Many of them have surface fractures resulting from compression and impacts during transport. A search has not revealed a single “hammer stone” with the percussion marks that might be expected on a well-used Neolithic stone-working tool.

“The standing stone socket”

In 2012 a circular hole was excavated in the vicinity of a putative Neolithic hearth, near the tip of the spur. It was suggested by the archaeologists that it might have actually held a standing stone at some stage, or even that it was intended to hold the 8-tonne “proto-orthostat.” However, the sides of this pit were highly irregular, with many large projecting rock fragments, and no evidence has been presented for the compression of the sediments at its base, or for a distinctive infill. The pit has been filled in, and not mentioned subsequently, and again it appears to have been an archaeological artifice.

20 comments:

Myris of Alexandria said...

The 8 tonnes sounds a lot. How did you get that figure. Do you have the dimensions of the proto-orthostat knowing the sg of rhyolite it can be determined.

8 Tonnes would make it difficult to man-handle. Most bluestones are now thought to be 2/3 tonnes.

It might be that people have read your couple of papers and not set much store to them.
The response is then similar to trying to get a bad book review (book is bad not the review that is unfavourable) published, people don't want to know, so walk away.

Your work is out there, respect other's opinion of it, even if they don't respect yours.

Many, including most geologists are not able to make a considered judgement being neither field archaeologists nor Pleistocene wallahs and so go on probabilities.

The proto-orthostat is not naturally placed, the quarry face does not look natural. Orthostat 32d e comes from that face.

You make a choice. By a slim margin the bluestones were man-handled to Salisbury Plain. Anything else seems special pleading.

Where are the other erratics??? Salisbury Plain and its drainage sediments despite
50+ years of looking NONE has been found.

With the finding of each new quarry site you are frozen out.
M

We all have neglected gems. Little golden nuggets that others see as burnished pyrite. (some fools even see them as shamanistic meteorites (though technically that is marcasite).

TonyH said...

UNIVERSITY - derived from "universitas" - 'a whole'

More precisely derived from:-

UNIVERSITAS MAGISTRORUM ET SCHOLARIUM"

'A COMMUNITY OF TEACHERS AND SCHOLARS'

But, as Brian says in one of his sub - headings:- "Whatever happened to scientific discourse?" Quite.

These Rhosyfelin archaeologists and acolytes live in their own bubble.

One day, not too long now, their bubble will burst.

TonyH said...

Myris, you (or your very good esteemed friend, The Doctor) probably examined quite a few pieces of various erratics in your admirable work for the Stonehenge Riverside Project. Didn't some bits come from the Greater Cursus (going back to Mr Stone's finds 60 - plus years ago. Also around Woodhenge?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Myris, I know that you like winding us all up, but it's time to get serious. This is not about probabilities, but about this old-fashioned thing called FIELD EVIDENCE.

1. Do your really mean that in spite of writing about Rhosyfelin for seven years or more, and supporting the quarrying theory at every opportunity, you do not know how heavy the "big orthostat" is? I gave you the measurements and the approx weight back in 2015 -- please read the primary literature! Have you ever been to Rhosyfelin?

2. So now you are making definitive statements that "Orthostats 32d and 32e" have come from the Rhosyfelin rock face?!! You and Richard have always been very careful in the past to say that the two stumps look as if they might be a match for the foliated rhyolite debitage that you have examined. That's cautious and a bit vague, but it's a statement we can live with. But it is completely unscientific to make a definitive statement about what rock types they are, because nobody has sampled them. You would never have got away with this sort of wild assumption in your doctorate thesis. Essentially, you are inventing evidence, just as MPP does all the time.

3. There is erratic material on Salisbury Plain, recorded by many people, and in the literature. So your statement is false.

Concerning your statement (relating to the fact that our papers have been consistently ignored by the MPP team, of which you are a part) that "It might be that people have read your couple of papers and not set much store to them." I know that you do not like them one little bit, because they completely undermine the whole quarrying hypothesis -- but let us look at how reliable they might be. We are not dealing here with space / time travel, or Merlin the wizard, or the chariots of the gods, but with straightforward geomorphology and glacial geology. Dyfed, John and I have simply reported on the stratigraphy as we see it, and have simply given close scrutiny to the things claimed by MPP and colleagues. We have described what we found, as approved by two editors and several peer reviewers.

Tell me -- have you got any reason to doubt anything we say about the stratigraphic sequence at Rhosyfelin? If so, I am asking you to go on the record now and say so.



Myris of Alexandria said...

Tony
No had Dr Ixer found anything that looked like an erratic from the Fargo Plantation fields or from Woodhenge or anywhere else on the Stonehenge Landscape he would have reported it (and probably, hopefully successfully, explained it away). Had there been much he would have felt a greater urge to join Brian’s beleaguered ice-warriors and this would be a far far far duller blog.
The question is more than welcome. The proposed pet rock boys paper for 2018 ferret club mag. was just on this very topic but they wondered if it be a worthwhile endeavour, your query shows that it would. Unfortunately that paper grew too large and has been salami sliced into two. Next years 2018 proposed ferret club deals with the igneous oddities in the Stonehenge Landscape that have secure or very reasonably secure contexts. Will mainly deal with axes and axe fragments.
So good question. The Woodhenge oddities have both been sectioned and have a confident provenance, reason, method and probable time of transport to the Stonehenge Landscape. But you will have to wait ‘til 2019 for the full details. (The answer probably was suggested indirectly in the 1950s)
M

Steve Potter said...

So, on the one hand: “Where are the other erratics??? Salisbury Plain and its drainage sediments despite 50+ years of looking NONE has been found” and on the other: “There is erratic material on Salisbury Plain, recorded by many people, and in the literature.”

Both statements are interesting, but neither is very informative. A literature review would be helpful.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Dr Ixer spent a couple of years lobbying, coaxing, wheedling, needling you to publish something in respectable journals, successfully.
He also has spent much time lobbying journals to take your work and to review your books, without him your book would not have been reviewed in the archaeological literature. There were a number of outright refusals. He stood his reputation as a (fairly) straightforward scientist alongside your work saying he thought it had enough merit it should be advertised and persuaded influential people not to dismiss it out of hand (they did/ do so largely on your constant, often intemperate, imputations on the honesty and integrity of archaeologists and on too many occasions on that of the pet rock boys).
He has not won him great friends from either camp but his ambition was to get as many data out there as possible- future generation will decide on their merits. His reward will be in heaven.
The fact that the glacial theory gets as much lip service as it does (not enough for you I know) has much with Dr Ixer’s constant championing.
He was, (despite an agreement from a journal to publish) totally unsuccessful in finding an authority who would go on record and critique your Craig Rhosyfelin work, or to find anyone who was able and wanted to discuss the relative merits of your work and that of MPP at the quarry site. Their off the record views are with Dr Ixer and have not been broadcast nor can they be.
He has abandoned that effort although it would have been the most important and useful contribution post the initial data-collection.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

It's all down to the way we use words, Steve. I am a geomorphologist, and when I refer to erratics I mean foreign material of all sizes -- boulders, cobbles, flakes and fragments found away from their places of origin. There are plenty of those, as described in Ch 6 of The Bluestone Enigma. The papers by Richard Thorpe and Olwen Williams-Thorpe give much more detail. On the other hand, for reasons best known to himself, Myris tends only to count bluestone MONOLITHS. he will nbo doubt confirm that for himself.....

BRIAN JOHN said...

Gosh, Myris, we are surely all amazed by the extent to which almost EVERYTHING is manipulated behind the scenes by you and no doubt by assorted other deities. Just give me a little credit for doing a few things on my own. But one must not carp, and I am surely grateful for your efforts to convince your archaeological buddies to listen to what renegade geomorphologists have to say. They should not need convincing, but let that pass........

Here you go again with your accusations of "constant, often intemperate, imputations on the honesty and integrity of archaeologists and on too many occasions on that of the pet rock boys." It's called scientific scrutiny, and academic debate, and we should all welcome it. At least you have the courage to debate things in the open -- and you have earned my respect for that. I have very little respect for those who cynically ignore inconvenient evidence and who refuse to engage or to address issues that are raised either on this blog, or in public meetings, or in the literature. Here in Wales people (even famous professors) have to earn respect, and the bluestone quarrying brigade has as yet done nothing to convince me that it is made up of good scientists whose evidence can be trusted.

How interesting that neither you or some unnamed editor could find anybody prepared to critique our two papers on Rhosyfelin. I'll take that as an indication that those senior geomorphologists who have visited Rhosyfelin trust our observations and agree with our conclusions.

Now then -- to repeat -- have you got any reason to doubt anything we say about the stratigraphic sequence at Rhosyfelin?

AG said...

Who are the peers that have reviewed MPP's claims about the geomorphology and stratigraphy of Rhosyfellin and found it to be correct?

Brian has the Quaternary Research Association: from whose membership I've read no criticism? Which reputable earth science organisations back MPP and the Quarrying Hypothesis?nn

Cheers

AG

AG said...

Perhaps that's the ultimate test? Can Myris name the earth science peers who back the Rhosyfellin quarrying hypothesis? and his and MPP's interpretation of the sites stratigraphy!

From my reading of the literature he will struggle to do so!

AG

AG said...

Oh dear Brian: All these years and all this unrecognised championing. To think you'd spent all this time in the paranoid delusion, that Dr Ixer had been an opponent of the Glacial transport theory, and spent his time slagging it off; In both this blog and in the media!

Bet you feel foolish now!

AG

Myris of Alexandria said...

Glacial erratics on Salisbury Plain,
The literature is very very well known and available.
Apart from the 1991 OU paper –albeit, that is with little doubt the most important paper on the provenance of the bluestones (second most important is Thomas 1923 paper and then Ixer and Bevins 2013? The first Craig Rhosyfelin paper) -there are no other papers that give glacial erratics from the area. Brian, will as he abhors papers being ignored, give the refs to the papers that describe the total absence of glacial erratics on SP including the two most famous by J.D Scourse and by C.P Green. If Brian knows of other significant papers either for or against he will give us the all refs.
Note that Ixer who was a minor author on that 1991 OU paper so knows it intimately before and after publication and was very happy to be included in it and its conclusions, with a greater knowledge of the STONEHENGE material, no longer believes the conclusions. (Bevins and Ixer and others have shown that some of the conclusions are wrong, many probably wrong, data fine, conclusions now re-interpreted, new techniques and some decent petrography. Of its time, it is a remarkable paper and deserved the praise and prize the authors received)
These days the quarry site and especially the proto-orthostat convince him otherwise.
To repeat, Brian I am sure, will give those refs and others. To be fair to all sides.
He will not have access to the detailed descriptions of the stream/river sediments on the plain done By Alan Vince (RIP) as part of his extensive work on the origin of the Durrington Walls’ Grooved Ware pottery. Alan, who was the foremost English ceramic petrographer, bit too much media-evil pottery perhaps, with a very wide knowledge of recent alluvial sediments of southern and central England makes no mention of any exotic glacial erratics but stresses the local nature of the sediments/clasts.
This is unpublished but will be in the MPP Durrington Walls Memoir (Ixer and Vince) (Ixer took over on Vince’s death but the sedimentary work had been done by then).
So a totally independent researcher failed to find any trace of glacial erratic material.
I find this retreat from the use of erratics meaning glacial erratics –see its use in the little blue book to mean a rock out of place (recent blogs) disappointing –are we approaching a U_turn??
Is the rock crystal stuffed on top of the Altar Stone left by some New Age weirdo an erratic by your new definition I think, yes. As such a weirdo might say ‘get real, man’ Is man a bit too retro?? Not ‘cool’ enough.
Must get back to the hand-jive.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

This gets wearying, Myris. When I refer to erratics, I mean foreign rock fragments -- of all sizes -- that are away from their places of origin. Sometimes, if glacial transport is the most likely process in the frame, I call then glacial erratics. Perfectly simple. The works of Scourse and Green are already well discussed on this blog. Thomas did no work on erratics on Salisbury Plain, and neither did Dai Bowen, or James Scourse, or Chris Clark (these are people cited occasionally by MPP in his public lectures as "glaciologists" although all 3 are geomorphologists). Chris Green -- who counted pebbles in the river gravels -- is also already discussed in this blog. Kellaway talked about erratic material in archaeological contexts on Salisbury Plain, and so did Richard Thorpe and Olwen Williams-Thorpe. You have yourself discussed assorted fragments which have emerged in digs -- Silbury Hill, Cursus Field, Fargo Plantation, Boles Barrow, and some round barrows too. I agree that no confirmed foreign erratic boulders or monoliths have been found away from the Stonehenge environs thus far, apart from Boles Barrow and the mentions I give around p 108 in the Bluestone Enigma book. Newall mentioned a suspicious boulder once, but nobody knows where it is.

Look forward to reading about Durrington Walls and the immediate environs...... bearing in mind that Salisbury Plain is a rather big place.

It's a red herring to talk about the conclusions of the big OU paper being wrong -- the adjustments have all been to do with the provenancing of stones or fragments to particular outcrops. That has nothing to do with the presence of erratic material on Salisbury Plain.

TonyH said...

I am looking forward to going on a walk on Salisbury Plain that is being planned. Field archaeologist David Field, lately retired from English Heritage, will be on this guided walk. He probably has more knowledge of the archaeological landscape of Salisbury Plain than any other archaeologist with the possible exception of retired County Archaeologist, Roy Canham, MBE, who did a great deal for the conservation of the Training Areas through his liaisons with the MOD.Both these eminent people are well capable of independent thinking on the glacial theory and are NOT in the MPP acolytes' caucus!

Incidentally, Dave Field has a very good 2017 book out on the Prehistory of Wiltshire. Have you reviewed it yet, Myris? You should!

TonyH said...

It's time, isn't it, for Universities, such as UCL (home to MPP & DrIxer), Southampton (home of MPP Stonehenge Riverside Project and Preseli side - kick Joshua Pollard) and Manchester (where another of MPP's learned colleagues linked to both the SRP and Preseli/ Pembrokeshire, Colin Richards) showed some INTEGRITY in the way that they go about scientific discourse.

That is essentially what I was getting at in my first Comment, at the very beginning of all the Comments attached to this Post.

INTEGRITY is a word with the same roots as INTEGRATED.

UNIVERSITY has its derivation in a word meaning WHOLE.

SOUTHAMPTON and MANCHESTER, where two of MPP's co - workers are based, both possess decent GEOGRAPHY Departments. Surely the Geographers (with their Geomorphology specialists) should be actively communicating with the Archaeology Departments so as to arrive at a mutually agreed consensus on issues such as to what extent Rhosyfelin has been shaped by natural environmental processes, including glaciation?? Instead we have reactive not reflective "celebrity" archaeologists like MPP, Joshua P & Colin R grabbing the tabloid headlines to the great detriment of scientific discourse.

TonyH said...

Whoops! Drixer?! Who he? Rob Ixer is nearer the mark, methinks.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Is Colin R. still at M/c?

I believe the expression is "Good luck with that"

To most geologists and I guess geographers Cryf is a trivial site and archaeology is at best a fringe occupation slightly less disgusting than Morris dancing (at M/c in my day the only Morris dancers were palynologists,oh I had a country dancing fellow geology u/g who did some arch with me but who became a tree surgeon, so that proves my point) (trust me I am a .... and know this from first hand and over many decades, namely the views of main-line geologists- being a prophet in the wilderness- but then we know the views of geologists on geographers are only slightly more generous than their views of mining engineers.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Myris, if my discussions (with senior geomorphologists who have visited the site) are anything to go by, they do think that Rhosyfelin is potentially very important, but they are reluctant to become involved in a discussion in which they are not themselves fully informed. If you have spent time working on something, then you feel empowered to express a view, maybe quite strongly. But if you have just been shown around and have had brief discussions, you tend to be rather cautious. As we all know, I tried to organize a formal QRA visit to the site, and appealed to MPP not to fill in the excavation until it had been looked at by the great and the good of the geomorphology and glacial geology world -- but he filled it in anyway, and now of course the stratigraphy cannot be examined by anybody. Very convenient........

The only consolation, from my point of view, having been involved in those two papers, is that not one of those who have visited the site has contacted us with any fundamental queries or has criticised either our observations or our conclusions.

TonyH said...

They're all a load of plonkers, Brian, if you ask me. Hubris, hubris, all is hubris. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.

It's a pity we cannot recruit someone like SIR Tony Robinson to be totally frank and honest in his best "Time Team" tradition. He likes to project himself as Man of the People and a defender of the vulnerable such as those like his mother who had Alzheimer's.

Mr & Mrs Joe Public are vulnerable and being taken for a ride by MPP's claims for Rhosyfelin.

It's time, isn't it, that Tony Robinson really earned his right to that Knighthood?!