OK....remember that late night trip yesterday to Wally World for Doritos and Mr. Pibb? Well, I also saw the March 2011 issue of Scientific American with a glitzy cover about the "Neuroscience of Resilience" and a blue brain surrounded by a kind of red plasma. But that wasn't what ultimately commanded my attention, for glancing at the table of contents I discovered an article by William Underhill called "Putting Stonehenge in its Place."
Well, to make a long article short, the piece was actually quite interesting. For one thing, it details recent discoveries of human remains around the site, one of which - a human male from the Mediterranean - dates to approximately 2300 BC. In fact, there are several such recent discoveries around the monument, and this has led to a new - and predictably, very old - theory: that the site was some sort of ancient "Lourdes", a religious center frequented by people from afar seeking healing. Other archaeologists are probing the entire site around Stonehenge and one of them has discovered evidence that there are other, older sites, perhaps buried under the surrounding landscape, which would make the famous English henge the center of a complex of some sort.
Ok...granted, the site may have been a place of pilgrimage and perhaps religious healing. But is this the best that archaeology can do: dress up its favorite explanation for every ancient site - that they are "religious centers" - in new clothes? I looked in vain in the Scientific American article for any mention of Alexander Thom, the famous Oxford engineer who discovered the megalithic yard by investigating British and Norman French megalithic sites. I looked in vain for any mention of Sir Norman Lockyear's astronomical alignments work. And of course, need it be said that there was no mention of the site's peculiar placement on the global grid?
The article only brings home to me once again that "science" and in particular the "science" of archaeology is bound and determined to ignore the obvious results from members of its own community, when those results challenge is shop worn, and dare I say it, outdated paradigms. The only religion here is the religious faith and dogmatism with which the current paradigms are defended and enunciated.