After last week’s marathon post, it’s kinda nice to be able to have short one this week. Why, you ask? Because two-thirds of this episode is pure woo and spirituality. It has nothing to do with archaeology, and honestly has little to do with science, so…my job here is basically done after the first 20 min.
First, I want to talk about the obvious cutting and remixing of the first 30 seconds of the show though. The way it’s cut makes it look and sound like professional archaeologists are agreeing with topics that they were never even asked about in the show. I mean, yeah, who only watches the first 30 seconds of a show and not the rest? But it’s also the promo clip so it’s all some people may see, like a commercial. So, yeh, seeing something being dishonest like this bugs me.
But onto the show.
The show opens with Fox being driven out to Stonehenge by her local guide, Mark Conroy. Fox gives us this fluffy, woo-full voiceover with some actual facts about Stonehenge. The only real tidbit I take issue with is this awe she expresses at the age of Stonehenge and how amazed she is at celestial alignment: “2000 years before the science of astronomy was invented, at least as far as we know.”
This is an interesting turn of phrase for two reasons. First, it’s that whole “primitive people couldn’t have done this because I don’t understand how they could have” argument. It’s one the fringe dearly holds onto because it sets up the next implication of this statement, that there must have been someone else who did build it. You’ll see how this comes to the forefront later.
Ok, so the first 20 mins or so of the show is pretty if you ignore the woo language. We meet Si Cleggett a project manager at Wessex Archaeology. Wessex Archaeology has a great page on their Stonehenge project here, and a fun twitter @wessexarch .
Cleggett does as a fantastic job of explaining what archaeology can tell us about Stonehenge and takes to see some of the things found here.There’s also human remains, again, so points off for that. By Cleggett is very careful with his language and doesn’t feed into any pseudo ideas about Stonehenge, which is nice and how a show about Stonehenge should be.
We transition from Wessex Archaeology to talking with Timothy Darvill. He gives us his ideas about where the Blue Stones at Stonehenge came from, and show us an interesting thing about the sounds the stones make when struck. Fox records these sounds because she thinks they have magical healing powers, and that’s where all the archaeology ends.
From here is just Fox getting her head scanned while listing to tones and the banging noises, then going to Avery to talk a druid about Ley Lines.
There is a bit of dowsing, and really can’t help but point out how you can see Fox’s hand bending to make the dowsing rod move. See first Maria Wheatly, the druid in question demonstrates the dowsing and clearly shows where the energy bands are first, even touch the stones to point out nice clear landmarks.
So it’s not surprising that Fox easily retraces the Bands locations, tilting her hand to get the rods to move.
Probably the only other moment of any interest to us is when Fox goes to see her personal hero and mentor, Graham Hancock.
I’m just gonna leave this bit from Wikipedia here because it pretty much sums up Graham Hancock.
Graham Bruce Hancock (/ˈhænkɒk/; born 2 August 1950) is a British author and reporter. Hancock specializes in pseudoscientific theories involving ancient civilizations , stone monuments or megaliths, altered states of consciousness, ancient myths, and astronomical or astrological data from the past.
One theme of his works proposes a connection with a ‘mother culture’ from which he believes other ancient civilizations sprang.An example of pseudoarchaeology, his work has neither been peer reviewed nor published in academic journals.“
Hancock spends his time on the show basically hawking his most recent book and repeating his unsupported about his mysterious ‘mother culture’ (Atlantis) who were wiped out by a global climate event (the younger dryas) and the survivors then spread out all over the world creating culture and building all the megaliths in the world.
There is so much wrong with Hancock’s theory I could write a book, but I’m trying to keep this short
The last bit of the show we get a call back from Bartsch who tells Fox something about how her brain responded to the knocking sounds on the stones and it was something about Alpha waves. We fade out here here and see a barrage of images of foggy landscapes and Fox hugging rocks.
There’s really not a lot to unpack here because the archaeology is solid, not on any part of Fox’s other than there doesn’t appear to be much deceptive editing here. She does start the show with the premise that Stonehenge is some kind of prehistoric hospital, and that the stones have magical healing properties. One part of that statement might be supported by archaeology (its the first half if you couldn’t tell) but the other half is just spiritualism and feelings.
After reviewing the first episode of Legends of the Lost about Viking Women and watching Fox sit out on a spiritual quest, now seeing her walk around Stonehenge and Avery, hugging stones and feeling energy waves, I do want to talk about Fox’s Religious Tourism here. Fox is using this series, so far, to indulge her desire to go to ‘spiritual’ places and have ‘religious’ experiences. Personally, I find it disrespectful to the religions she’s dipping her fingers in, and knowing what’s coming up in the series (giants) I’m already cringing inside.
Jason Colavito also did a review of the show, you can read it here.
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