Some of the ideas discussed in this blog are published in my new book called "The Stonehenge Bluestones" -- available by post and through good bookshops everywhere. Bad bookshops might not have it....
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Saturday, 31 March 2018

The Rhosyfelin papers

Rhosyfelin dig site -- lots of digging and lots of publicity, but scrutiny is not welcomed.......

Just when we thought that everything had gone quiet on the Rhosyfelin front, along comes this extraordinary paper by Mike Parker Pearson (and maybe some others) called "The origins of Stonehenge: on the track of the bluestones" -- and it all blows up again.

How can it be that a senior academic who seems to be reasonably aware of other people's publications (he does have references and citations in his articles) appears to be blissfully unaware of the existence of five substantial articles which have a bearing on his own research? All five of them are on Researchgate -- a platform which allows access to most of his own material published in journals............

Shall we be very generous and suggest that when he (with the approval of his colleagues?) was writing the latest "research update" he simply forgot to mention the five papers that question almost everything he has said about the West Wales "Neolithic quarries"?

Strange that he should have missed them, since together, the articles have now had 2,134 reads.  So some people out there appear to have found the articles and to have read them.  I hope they have found them useful.  Two of the papers have been published in peer-reviewed journals; one of them was rejected by "Antiquity" since to have published it would have been to admit to a massive breach of academic standards in the publishing of the infamous article by MPP et al in 2015; and the other two are in the nature of "working papers" presenting evidence and inviting discussion.

The papers can be found here:

The individual papers (all available for reading and download):

The short article called "Those bluestone quarries" was offered to the editor of "Current Archaeology" for publication, but was ignored.  Obviously it was far too inconvenient, since it picked to pieces an article by MPP which that same journal had published in 2016.  

There is a long and undistinguished history here of poor editorial and peer-reviewing standards in "learned" journals, over-hasty publication of articles that appear to be making spectacular points or telling weird and wonderful stories, an assumption that articles by senior academics must be wonderful even if they are actually woefully inadequate, and a reluctance to admit to scientific dispute and to correct the research record through the publication of contrary evidence.  As I have said before, there is currently very little to admire in the UK archaeological publishing scene -- and it's about time that journal editors got their act together and paid more attention to this thing called scientific integrity.

1 comment:

TonyH said...

We should all do our bit in the interests of scientific even - handedness to draw this Post to folk who may be interested in Rhosyfelin, yet who may not have considered in detail the geomorphological counter - arguments and indeed may think the claims of the MPP - led archaeologists are indisputable. I shall certainly do this, and have already started.