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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Thursday 11 October 2018

Dem crem bones -- CA overwhelmed, and BA underwhelmed......

There is more journal coverage relating to that infamous Nature article about strontium isotope dating of cremated bone fragments from Stonehenge.  But are we beginning -- not before time -- to see some signs of careful scrutiny and independent thought?

In the latest issue of Current Archaeology there is an article by Kathryn Krakowka,  accessible here:

The longer, fuller article, is behind a paywall, and if it says anything interesting, somebody will no doubt enlighten us.  But  the author is clearly not inclined to delve too deeply, and what she says is based  largely on that infamous OU press release which we have already discussed.  Lots of nice free publicity for Christophe Snoeck and his colleagues.

Then we turn to British Archaeology.  The headline (on p 7 of the Nov / Dec issue) is "Stonehenge drew visitors from the very start."  Well, we knew that anyway -- almost everywhere in Britain drew visitors from the very start, some more than others.  But the author of this piece seems to have read the article, rather than just the press release, and a degree of scepticism is apparent.  Mind you, he was not so sceptical as to have ignored the "Nature" article altogether -- but maybe that would have been a step too far.  On the supposed links -- for one individual -- between Stonehenge and West Wales, he is circumspect, to say the least.  He says:  "..... prompting some archaeologists to link the people (ie those with higher isotope "signatures" ) with  the transport of the bluestones before 2500 BC...."  Later in the article he says "The data are complex to interpret, and are affected by unknown factors........"

The killer item in the piece is the map which illustrates the article.  It's supposed to show the links between three individuals and likely home areas.  The caption should have been "If anybody can see a link here between Preseli and Stonehenge, he or she has a much more vivid imagination than I do."

The author of the piece was clearly completely underwhelmed.


PeteG said...

Pft! Never Be Without the Beano!
Much more informative comic!

TonyH said...

The moral of this sorry tale is: never let certain archaeologists and their associates loose with a map of the United Kingdom and Ireland, you'll never hear the last of the repercussions!

TonyH said...

Mike Pitts more thoroughly analysed the Nature article on his Twitter site and was pretty dismissive of its claims to show links between the Old Ruin* and where Brian lives. Go to:-


*NOT Les Dawson's mother - in - law