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Bluestone ‘quarry’ findings questioned

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By Matthew Bearne

Disputed: ​​​T​​he​ ​'quarry' site

Disputed: ​​​T​​he​ ​’quarry’ site

FOLLOWING reports last week that archaeologists had located the ‘quarry’ where the Stonehenge bluestones originated, a paper had been published which casts significant doubt over their findings.

Earth scientists who worked at a bluestone monolith quarry site at Craig Rhosyfelin in Pembrokeshire have suggested that the archaeologists have got it all wrong, and that the so-called engineering features on the flank of the crag are entirely natural.  Furthermore, it is suggested that members of the digging team have unconsciously created the very features that they have cited in support of their quarrying hypothesis.

In a peer-reviewed paper published on Monday (Dec 14) in Archaeology in Wales journal Dr Brian John, Dr Dyfed Elis-Gruffydd and John Downes have described a set of Ice Age deposits and landforms at the site of an archaeological dig that was started in 2011, and have determined that there are no traces of human intervention in any of the features that have made the archaeologists so excited.  These include features described by the diggers as a quarry face, a quarry spoil bank, a storage platform, props and pillars, stone rails, a proto-orthostat, a revetment, and an export pathway.  Most of these are now dismissed as archaeological artifices unconsciously created by the archaeologists themselves during five years of highly selective sediment removal. In other words, the authors of the new article suggest that the archaeologists have created what they wanted to find, instead of describing what was there.

This site has been described by lead archaeologist Prof Mike Parker Pearson as the Pompeii of prehistoric stone quarries and has caused great excitement in archaeological circles.  The selection of this rocky crag near the village of Brynberian for excavation in 2011- 2015 was triggered by the discovery by geologists Richard Bevins and Rob Ixer that some of the stone fragments in the soil at Stonehenge were quite precisely matched to an unusual type of foliated rhyolite found in the crag.  This led the archaeologists to conclude that there must have been a Neolithic quarry here, worked for the specific purpose of cutting out monoliths for the bluestone settings at Stonehenge.

Commenting on the new research paper, Dr Brian John said: “The new geological work at Rhosyfelin and Stonehenge is an interesting piece of ‘rock provenencing’ – but it tells us nothing at all about how monoliths or smaller rock fragments from West Wales found their way to Stonehenge.  We are sure that the archaeologists have convinced themselves that the glacial transport of erratics was impossible. We are not sure where they got that idea from. On the contrary, there is substantial evidence in favour of glacial transport and zero evidence in support of the human transport theory. We accept that there might have been a camp site at Rhosyfelin, used intermittently by hunters over several millennia. But there is no quarry. We think the archaeologists have been so keen on telling a good story here that they have ignored or misinterpreted the evidence in front of them. That’s very careless. They now need to undertake a complete reassessment of the material they have collected.”

The three authors of the new paper suggest that this fundamental error in interpretation might have been avoided if there had been greater cooperation in the Rhosyfelin dig between archaeologists and specialists from related disciplines.

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Police: RNLI ‘most likely saved man’s life’ following tombstoning incident

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POLICE have issued an urgent warning following a tombstoning incident Tenby on Saturday evening (Apr 10).

A multi-agency operation was launched just after 6pm following reports of a man in difficulty after jumping from cliffs into the sea.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys police told The Herald: “We were called to the beach opposite St Catherine’s Island at around 6.15pm today, where a man had got into difficulty after jumping off the cliff into the water.

“On the arrival of officers, RNLI were at the scene and were administering CPR to the 23-year-old who was unconscious and not breathing.

“Fortunately, he regained consciousness shortly after and was taken to hospital for assessment.

Inspector Gavin Howells added: “This incident highlights the serious danger posed by tombstoning or cliff jumping, and the potentially life-threatening consequences.

“We urge people not to take part in this sort of activity anywhere along our coastline, and not to put themselves or the emergency services at risk for a thrill.

“We would like to thank our colleagues at the RNLI for their swift response to this incident, and for their actions which most likely saved this man’s life.”

RNLI Tenby posted on Facebook the following: “The Georgina Taylor was launched after person seen in difficulty in water

“Tenby’s RNLI inshore lifeboat was launched at around 6.25pm on Saturday, following a report of somebody in difficulty in the sea off Castle Beach.

“The volunteer crew were quickly on scene and immediately saw the casualty, who had been pulled from the water and was on the rocks.

“The casualty was taken from the rocks and into the lifeboat, where Casualty Care was administered whilst the helmsman made best speed to the harbour.

“As the lifeboat was entering the harbour, an ambulance was arriving at the slipway.

“The crew then assisted the ambulance personnel in getting the casualty onto the stretcher and into the ambulance, before re-housing the lifeboat.

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Police and drugs advice service issue warning over ‘deadly batch’ of heroin

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POLICE have asked the media to issue a warning over a batch of heroin.

The drug circulating in west Wales, first detected in Llanelli, is particularly dangerous, it has been confirmed.

“We are warning drug users to take extra care following reports of a particularly harmful batch of heroin circulating in the Llanelli area” said a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson.

“We have reasons to believe some drugs being distributed and used in the Carmarthenshire area at present have been contaminated with other substances and could be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately if they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone you believe could come into contact with these drugs.

”In an emergency or if you think someone’s life is at risk always dial 999.”

Earlier this week Barod, the drug and alcohol abuse service reported a dangerous and toxic heroin circulating in Pembroke Dock which a spokesperson described as being ‘potentially deadly’.

To comes as Public Health England issued a formal alert about the risks of heroin containing fentanyl or carfentanyl.

The warning reads: “There is significant evidence from a small number of post-mortem results of recent drug user deaths and from police seizures that some heroin may contain fentanyl or carfentanyl added by dealers.

“These are highly potent synthetic opioids and very small amounts can cause severe or even fatal toxicity.

“Those of you in contact with heroin users should be alert to the increased possibility of overdose arising from heroin cut with these synthetic opioids, be able to recognise possible symptoms of overdose and respond appropriately.”

The fentanyls are a group of synthetic opioids; some have legitimate uses while others are illicit drugs.

Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine and is a licensed medicine used to treat severe and terminal pain. Carfentanyl is 4,000 – 10,000 times more potent than morphine and principally used as an animal tranquilliser.

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Tenby’s famous walrus ‘Wally’ has been spotted again

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TENBY’S most famous marine animal has been spotted again after fears she had been scared away.

Wally was spotted on Friday evening by the seaside town’s Lifeboat station.

Thought to be a two-year-old male, the walrus’s return comes after it was feared she had been disturbed by people flocking to catch a glimpse of her and “getting too close”

The animal has attracted hundreds of people to the seaside town now that the travel restrictions with Wales have been lifted to coincide with the Easter school holidays.

Wally was last seen on Monday, but  members of the public were warned it was in the animal’s “best interests” to be “left alone” as much as possible and they were urged to “avoid the temptation to get near and disturb” her.

A joint statement was issued by the RSPCA, Tenby harbour master Chris Salisbury, Welsh Marine Life Rescue, Tenby lifeboat coxswain Phil John, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Natural Resources Wales and CSIP Marine Environmental Rescue said that they were concerned to hear that people had tried to get close by using personal watercraft or paddle and surfboards.

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