Thursday, May 29, 2008

Stonehenge: The Plot Thickens

A few weeks ago, I mentioned on this blog that scientists were attempting to prove that Stonehenge was not a burial site, but a temple. I thought it odd that they were protesting so much, viz.:

A new excavation of Stonehenge may alter historians' concept of the British landmark site's purpose, researchers say. By studying a set of unusual stones linked to the historical site, a team of archaeologists are attempting to prove Stonehenge was not an ancient burial site, but actually a temple of healing, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. "I think the one thing everybody would agree on is that Stonehenge is a temple, which is easy to lose sight of in the kind of to-ing and fro-ing of ideas."

Today I see why. The news has just been released that Stonehenge was actually a burial site! Professor Parker has just finished up work there and has decided that it was "The Domain of the Dead" (with up to 240 people buried there before it was a stone henge) and Wood Henge, down the road apiece, was "The Domain of the Living".

So the first group to get their names in the paper weren't so much reaffirming what everyone knew as getting in a pre-emptive strike against Prof. Parker. That more like the scientists I know - bring out the big guns, and do a big-ass showy misfire! You peaked too soon!

I don't think pre-emptive strikes work in science - or in the media, for that matter. If you plant a meme (this is not a burial site) and spread it, the part that will be remembered is the substantive part (burial site), not the negative (it isn't one). This is one of the problems found with community information outreach - if you tell people drugs are bad, the only word that sticks is "drugs". Tell them that homeopathy is a waste of money, and the word "homeopathy" is all that can be recalled later.

I look forward to learning that Stonehenge was built by Ancient Astronauts, preferably in the next couple of weeks.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Stonehenge is full of theories and has it's fair share of theorists. Robin Heath's books and articles make a good read as well.

What amazes me is how the mainstream academics jump on bandwagons for what were previously fringe theories.

If you are interested in the Bluestones I can recommend www.stonehengestones.com for some beautiful artefacts and jewellery (legally sourced).

Peromyscus said...

Thanks - I'll look those out.

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