Now that we have it confirmed (we knew it already, but let that pass) that there was no "lost circle" at Waun Mawn, and that the site had nothing whatsoever to do with Stonehenge, we have a duty to mull over this question: "How is it that a narrative so unsupported by hard facts and so far removed from reality was accepted by so many people as one of the great archaeological finds of the century?"
The mulling process is all rather intriguing, but also deeply depressing.......
Just a reminder of what happened on February 12th last year.On that date we saw one of the largest and most carefully-coordinated high pressure PR / media campaigns I can ever remember. The BBC and the journal "Antiquity" agreed far in advance that an article by Mike Parker Pearson and twelve colleagues on the subject of "the original Stonehenge" would be published on the same day as the first transmission of a "Lost Circle" documentary-drama featuring Prof Alice Roberts. It was titled “Stonehenge: the Lost Circle Revealed”, and was promoted as a "BBC2 special" and as a "world exclusive." On top of that the journal mounted an aggressive press release and briefing campaign which was accompanied by a parallel campaign (using the same materials) from the university press departments of all 13 of the authors. Then there was a meticulously planned social media campaign involving Alice Roberts herself, English Heritage and other “experts”, following leaks and tweets over the two weeks or more leading up to D-Day......... So the media had plenty of time to prepare their articles, with press images and choice quotes from MPP and Alice Roberts, ready for the day when the press embargo ended. On the chosen day, there were banner headlines and feature articles galore (just use Google to do a check), and the BBC documentary had very high viewing figures. Social media (Facebook, Twitter etc) were awash with glowing praise from members of the public and from professional archaeologists -- and all those involved were thoroughly delighted. Job well done! Reputations enhanced!
The two papers which confirm that what some of us have been saying for years is quite correct:
Bevans, R.E., Pearce, N.J.G., Parker Pearson, M., Ixer, R.A., 2022. Identification of the source of dolerites used at the Waun Mawn stone circle in the Mynydd Preseli, west Wales and implications for the proposed link with Stonehenge. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103556.
Nick J.G. Pearce, Richard E. Bevins, and Rob A. Ixer, 2022. Portable XRF investigation of Stonehenge -- Stone 62 and potential source dolerite outcrops in the Mynydd Preseli, west Wales. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 44 (2022) 103525.