At 04:39 PM 5/21/2003 +0100, you wrote:
>Paul Barford wrote:
>> In order to be accepted you need to demonstrate that this model explains
the >> evidence better than the current interpretations. It seems to me that
it does >> not.
At 04:39 PM 5/21/2003 +0100, John Wood wrote:
>I have to agree with Paul.
>The hypothesis is a novel one and who knows there may be an element of
>reality to this subject. However I feel it seems more a case of fitting the
>evidence to the hypothesis rather than the opposite which is how scientific
>research and interpretation should be carried out.
Thank you, John and Paul, for your interest and comments. Whatever the
truth is with regards to this question, it makes a great difference in how
Stonehenge is viewed. Only by probing will the answers become apparent.
So, skepticism is warranted and welcome.
Actually, the idea of a moat surrounding Stonehenge grew out of an
investigation into the possibility of a canal linking the River Avon with
Stonehenge (a question inspired by Gerald Hawkins' "Stonehenge Decoded",
1965). My approach to that was to try to show some condition that would
rule it out (that would prove a canal to be impossible). One requirement of
such a canal is a considerable head of water somewhat higher and accessible
to the northeast causeway. Thus the question: "Could the surrounding ditch
actually represent a moat?" It would seem, to be a simple matter to rule
out a moat and thereby rule out the canal idea and get back to the sanity of
Briefly, my method has been sort of a give and take approach, somewhat as
you suggest, of listing the requirements of a moat on that site, with its
particular conditions of geography and geology, and comparing it with a list
of the conditions that have been found to exist. The more obvious of the
required conditions are confirmed, largely by Col. William Hawley's
excavations of the 1920s, while at the same time, and as you suggest, some
of the conditions reported (again mostly by Hawley) do seem to fit well with
what might be expected (the 'dark layer', for instance). While not having
been foreseen, some do seem to be indications of a possible moat.
I am satisfied that the conditions of a theoretical moat are sufficiently
confirmed as to warrant further study. Incidentally, the seemingly possible
moat would have provided the required head of water at the northeast causeway.
The big question now seems to be (as Paul and others keep reminding) water.
Water could be the, sought after, coup de grace. Contrary to the best
intentions of others, it is not all that easy to rule out the water. There
are indications that water may have been directed from the watershed north
and west of Stonehenge to the moat.