Dodgy Science alive and well........

In August 2008 I attended a lecture by Prof Geoffrey Wainwright on the subject of "Stonehenge and Preseli." I didn't expect to agree with what he said, and assumed we would agree to disagree on assorted matters involving a degree of speculation, but I did expect a bit more respect for the truth from a senior archaeologist.

Wainwright said that there is no evidence that glacier ice extended to the south of the Bristol Channel, and accused me of fantasising on the matter. Wrong, just plain wrong, Geoffrey. There is in fact abundant evidence of glaciation in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall -- the evidence from one key site after another is all itemised in the NCC Geological Conservation Reviews for The Quaternary of Wales and the Quaternary of South-West England. (Those are two bulky and comprehensive reviews packed full of detailed field information and discussion.) As a matter of interest, the Irish Sea Glacier extended at least as far east as Bath -- don't take my word for it, but just look it up.

This is not the first time that Geoffrey has simply refused to confront reality. In a recent (2008) issue of "Current Archaeology" he is reported as saying that "there are no known glacial movements from the last 1 million years that could have moved rocks in an easterly direction." This repeats something he said in 2006 in the Society of Antiquaries Newsletter: ‘ glacial system has ever been recorded in the British Isles that travelled in an easterly direction.’ Excuse my language, but that is total crap. All the ice that flowed into the North Sea depression from the British and Irish Ice Sheet was flowing eastwards, and the ice that flowed up the Bristol Channel was flowing eastwards as well. Again, don't take my word for it -- just look it up! I'm beginning to think that Professor Wainwright hasn't read any geomorphology or glaciology since he read Herbert Thomas's 1923 paper. That's sad, since quite a lot has been discovered since 1923. If we are to have a decent and civilised debate on the pros and cons of the "glacial transport" and "human transport" theories, he has a right to expect me to do a bit of homework on the archaeology. By the same token, it would help all of us if he would just go off and read some of the easily accessible literature relating to the Ice Age, and stop saying things that are demonstrably untrue.

This site was created to highlight the fact that the "mystery" of the Stonehenge bluestones has by no means been "solved." Much current archaeological literature refers to the human transport of the bluestones from Mynydd Preseli to Stonehenge as established fact, whereas it is nothing more than a theory with many inbuilt defects. There are two conflicting theories about how the stones moved from West Wales to the Salisbury Plain district -- one involving glacier ice, and the other involving human effort on a grand (indeed unprecedented) scale. The glacial theory has been dismissed and marginalised systematically by archaeologists keen to demonstrate the organizational and engineering skills (not to mention the spiritual and artistic attributes) of prehistoric man. At the same time their human transport theory has become a ruling hypothesis, presumably on the basis that if something is repeated often enough, it must be true.

Recently (March-April 2008) the BBC, Timewatch and much of the media have revisited this issue, in connection with a new dig at Stonehenge by Prof Tim Darvill and Prof Geoffrey Wainwright. The two professors have repeated over and again that the human transport theory has been established beyond doubt, and that they are currently trying to establish WHEN and WHY Neolithic tribal groups transported maybe 80 bluestones from Pembrokeshire to Stonehenge. They have forgotten the little word "IF"............. so it's time for some critical analysis.

This site is a few years old, imported from an old web server and tweaked. Apologies for its somewhat crude and folksy appearance! When I have time, it will be redesigned.