There has been some misunderstanding of the nature of my comment on the newest Stonehenge geophysics survey, first in British Archaeology and then (where I was misquoted) in the Mail on Sunday. My previous post doesn’t seem to have cleared this up, so I have written a statement for the next issue of British Archaeology. That won’t come out until February 11 next year, so in the meantime, here is my statement now.
“In the last Letters (Jan/Feb 2011), we published Melvyn P Heyes’s view that a geophysics survey at Stonehenge appeared to be at the site of a prehistoric burial mound. The editor added a comment that “some archaeologists are wondering if the distinctive “henge” feature – a ring of pits – is in fact the site of a 19th or 20th century fence”. This was noted by a journalist at the Mail on Sunday, which printed a report in which the editor is quoted saying that he was “in no doubt that this was a modern fence line”. This has caused considerable distress to Vince Gaffney, director of research and knowledge transfer at the University of Birmingham, and his colleagues in the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project which conducted the survey.
“The editor wishes to make it clear that the intention was never to question the significance or quality of the geophysics survey, which at this particular monument and in the wider world heritage site is making important new contributions to knowledge. He has seen no evidence to support the theory that the post ring is modern and not prehistoric. He did not make the above comment quoted in the Mail on Sunday, and neither does he think it to be correct. He apologises for any unintended damage that may have been caused to the good reputation of archaeology at Birmingham University and their colleagues at the universities of Bradford and Vienna.”