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You are here > Bonekickers message boards > Deleted > Real Archaeology

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Real Archaeology

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Message 1 - posted by markhorton (U12656708) , Jul 14, 2008

As the archaeology advisor to the series, whose reputation is apparently 'hanging by a thread' (dont worry I have very thick skin), can I suggest that you go to the history behind the series section on this website - if you really want to know about archaeology. We explain about Radiocarbon for example and calibration, about preservation processes, and the detailed background the Templars and Grandmontanes. Before you all go off the deep end, consider perhaps whether some of the supposed inaccuracies were not part of the plot (e.g. Viv's overenthusiastic removal of the piece of wood). We have complaints about the lack of finds try labelling - but actually show a label being written out etc..

I am quite happy to defend the show factually and methodologically. Just go near a real dig sometime!!
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Message 2 - posted by MartinR (U589884) , Jul 14, 2008

'consider perhaps whether some of the supposed inaccuracies were not part of the plot '

Problem is it's a pretty unbelievable plot development - now that's not your problem because you didn't write the series but this is the danger when professionals such as yourself allow their names to be hijacked by writers.

The more believable archaeological practice would have required a pretty ropey script be rewritten and it's clear that the BBC have allowed the writers to run wild with this one off the back of one decent past show.

Did you read the scripts or plot outlines before agreeing to advise the series?


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Message 3, Jul 14, 2008

This posting has been hidden during moderation because it broke the House Rules in some way.

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Message 4 - posted by archaeoprof (U12639868) , Jul 14, 2008

Mark Horton wrote "I am quite happy to defend the show factually and methodologically. Just go near a real dig sometime!!"

As a professional field archaeologist with 15 years experience I have to say I saw precious little methodoligy displayed in this programme, archaeological or otherwise. Having been round many digs over the years I have never seen one as unprofesional, chaotic,mis-managed, un-archaeological and just plain messy as the one potraid on the programme - then again I've never been to a Bristol University dig before either.

Your involvement and support for this mess of a program will I suspect just reinforce the view amongst many field archaeologists that most academics make poor field archaeologists and should stick to theory, although I do hope I'm wrong.

Finally I would like to see anyone justify the program's rediculous use and application of geophysics?

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Message 5 - posted by Thuban (U8349152) , Jul 14, 2008

"Can I suggest that you go to the history behind the series section on this website - if you really want to know about archaeology."

I really don`t think lack of knowledge about archeology is the problem, though it does seem illogical to go looking for repectable archeology in a "history behind the series" section of this awful programme.

Be that as it may, it`s the distortions of history here that irritate me. Why did you allow the political agenda of the writers and presumably of the BBC to go unchallenged? The Knights Templar may not have been particularly popular, no holier-than-thou fanatic ever is, but the fact that Philip lV owed the Order far more money than he could possibly repay may have had more than a little to do with his vicious persecution of the Templars and may well explain the involvement of the Pope in the disgraceful and frankly ridiculous propaganda campaign against them.

Were you not aware there was a religious and political agenda here that would inevitably come to fore, no matter how silly the programme, at first sight, appeared to be ?

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Message 6 - posted by beckyrn0607 (U12661632) , Jul 14, 2008

Oh please! Just drop the criticisms. It's a drama series, who cares if it's not accurate. This just seems like a message bored to flaunt your knowledge on all things archaeology and take a dig at the BBC...who it seems in your eyes can't do anything right. Many of the people criticising the programme are coming across as very narcissistic.

Yes, we're all entitled to our opinions, but surely if your the experts that you make us think you are then you wouldn't be watching such inaccurate drama's, which you know won't be 100% accurate because it is simply impossible!

And I bet the people who dislike the programme so much, will be back on her tuesday night to pick apart the next episode. Just do us a favour and don't watch it so we can all have a peaceful life...go back to Time Team.

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Message 7 - posted by digger (U12397157) , Jul 14, 2008

If you haven't already, please do check out Mark's mini-video on the real history behind Episode One, as well as an introduction to some archaeological technqiues. It's great stuff.

www.bbc.co.uk/boneki...

Digger

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Message 8 - posted by digger (U12397157) , Jul 14, 2008

Excuse my spelling of techniques above. Very untechnical ;o)

Digger

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Message 9 - posted by Slightly-Foxed_a cat needs rehoming in Droitwich (U9332727) , Jul 14, 2008

Hello Mark

Serious question.

I just wondered as part of your research advice to the programme makers, did you look into modern-day organisations who have a "Templar" theme and heritage.

I happen to know a couple of people who are members of this charitable organisation:

www.templars.org.uk/

and one of them at least is not happy about the way in which the "modern Templars" in Boneknickers epi 1 were portrayed, particularly as their organisation does a lot of interfaith interdenominational charity work ...

I know you can't stop the scriptwriters putting in any loony idea that pops into their head (as shown by last Tuesday's episode) and that your remit only extends so far as trying to make sure that the archaeology is as realistic as possible, given the format, but I just wondered what reaction you might have had from the modern Templars and whether their feelings were considered?

Perhaps some bridge building might be in order!

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Message 10 - posted by U1961224 (U1961224) , Jul 15, 2008

Firstly, Dr Horton, I think you should be commended for being alone among those involved who appears to be willing to raise their head above the parapet!

However, I don’t think you have been best served so far by the writers – both of whom have elsewhere emphasised the trouble they went to to get the archaeology right! While this ‘credibility by authority’ argument is often used to give a veneer of authenticity, in reality fact usually comes a poor second to dramatic fiction
Before you all go off the deep end, consider perhaps whether some of the supposed inaccuracies were not part of the plot (e.g. Viv's overenthusiastic removal of the piece of wood).

Quoted from this message



A case in point. I suspect ‘Viv’s’ behavour had a lot more to do with not wanting to slow down the action with painstaking recording and exposure of a prop that was pivotal to the plot.

Some missed opportunities too. Pity ‘Dolly’ Parton didn’t mention a source for his claim that the bad luck connotation of Friday 13th originated from the fate of the Knights Templar. Now that would have been a first!
I am quite happy to defend the show factually and methodologically. Just go near a real dig sometime!!

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Unless, presumably, you happen to be ‘Viv’! In which case you’d be as welcome as a fart in a perfume factory.

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Message 11 - posted by edwinfirst (U12674205) , Jul 15, 2008

On the History of the Templars, they were not all persecuted, in fact only prominent members of the order were. The rest faded away, many to join other orders.

Can't remember, please remind me where the market selling genuine Roman wooden crosses was in the Holy Land. Bet the Byzantines would have had them all already.

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Message 12 - posted by sidsharp (U12674204) , Jul 15, 2008

Dear Mark Horton,

Have you heard of Granville Sharp, Lord Justice Mansfield and the Somersett vs Stewart case of 1772 which made slavery unlawful in England? Or is history someone else's department?

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Message 13 - posted by Tara674 (U9327633) , Jul 16, 2008

I am not an archaeologist, (Art Historian) so I only know what I have seen on Time Team and I don't really care if the methodology is 100% accurate.
What I do care about is historical facts being portrayed accurately and not over simplified in this manner. I also care that if something is being presented as drama it is well scripted and acted. I also care what the BBC is doing with my licence fee so I think I have a right to complain about poor programmes and expect better from the BBC.

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Message 14 - posted by Tim B (U3848338) , Jul 16, 2008

Welcome to the forums Mark

Seems no one else on here has the courtesy to even say that!!! Thanks for posting and joining in the debate, shame it had to be on the occasion to defend the show and yourself.

Talking of real archaeology, I started a thread in another area on here about National Archaeology Week -
www.bbc.co.uk/dna/bo...

Everyone and anyone can get involved! And it's real!

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Message 15 - posted by Slightly-Foxed_a cat needs rehoming in Droitwich (U9332727) , Jul 17, 2008

Dear Mark Horton

Are you ever going to come back and answer the question I asked about the Order of the Temple of Jerusalem above?

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Message 16 - posted by Vizzer aka U_numbers (U2011621) , Jul 17, 2008

Excuse my spelling of techniques above. Very untechnical

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Hlleo Dggier

Did you konw taht if you get the nmuebr of lttres rhgit and the frsit and the lsat ltter rhgit tehn poelpe don't nromllay ntocie sepllnig msitkaes.

rgedars

Vzzier

;-)

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Message 17 - posted by digger (U12397157) , Jul 17, 2008

;-)

It's crazy isn't it?

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Message 18 - posted by Vizzer aka U_numbers (U2011621) , Jul 17, 2008

Srue is!

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Message 19 - posted by Annie-Lou (U4502268) , Jul 17, 2008

Sadly it doesn't look like he's coming back (bit high handed to just post saying "I'm right about everything" then not answer any questions, isn't it?)

I'm a total non-expert, but I'd really like to know how you tell from "tree rings" exactly what year the tree was felled??? (Even supposing you had a whole cross-section and not just a lump)

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Message 20 - posted by noslen090 (U7470763) , Jul 17, 2008

You build up an archieve of information. So say you plant a tree today, then in 12 years fell it. You know when it was planted and how much rain fell on each of these years. You can work back from there.

However, I don't suggest that this is how dendrochronology started but it is a similar idea. The amount of rain fall is different each year, and the amount of rain fall directly relates to the size of tree rings. Therefore, starting with a piece of wood you know was felled on a certain date you can accurately count the number of years backward.

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