Monday, May 05, 2008

Stonehenge mystery fails to deepen

The Stonehenge mystery I alluded to yesterday failed to deepen today.

In a shattering expose, my local paper, the LA Times (I've mentioned it before) had an article on the contwoversy.

The article is called Stonehenge Mystery Hinges on Unusual Stones, and reads in part:

But the recent realization that the site contained stones from mountains 250 miles away in Wales shed new light on Stonehenge's origins. [1]

This adds to what I was talking about yesterday. You can't make Stonehenge sexier by obfuscating what is and isn't known about it, unless you are one of the thousands of self-published lunatics whose nightmare tomes I had the misfortune to browse at the LA Times sponsored LA Festival of Books last week. The facts and the real mysteries are sexy enough.

I don't know exactly when this "recent realization" came to light, but it wasn't less than six years ago, which the wording of the article doesn't actually say but strongly implies. I took out the oldest history book I still have on my shelf, Jaquetta Hawkes' The Atlas of Early Man, dated 1976, and it says: "Within the main structure were subsidiary stones of around 4 tons weight. These were imported with immense labour from Prescelly, 132 miles (220km) away in Wales."

It's possible the LA Times is being ironic - after all, when something's as old as Stonehenge, 32 years ago is really still "recent". But I don't think so. I think they're manufacturing a controversy, a storm in what is really such a small teapot it would be lost in a doll's house.

Or they got confused because Prescelly in Wales is now spelled Preseli. Maybe they really think it's a new theory of the bluestones' origins.

[1] Yes, the singular subject with plural verb "the realization...shed light" is in the original text.

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