I hope you had a nice holiday season.
My name is Mark Eddy, and I am the publicist for Dennis Stone's property, America's Stonehenge. A friend's Facebook post led me to one of your articles, and after some surfing I saw your review of Scott Wolter's episode on Dennis' property. Dennis was disgusted. You had many inaccuracies and omissions. It was more of a hit piece than an objective review, and it is not reflective of writing on history/prehistory.
There are many mistakes. Here are the corrections from Dennis.
1) The man in the barber shop was not Mr. Goodwin. It was Dennis' father, Robert Stone.
2) The barber shop time period is set in the 1950s, not 1930s.
3) The renaming of America's Stonehenge from Mystery Hill was not based on a visual similarity with the English stone circle. The astronomical alignments are a commonality and functionality to both ancient sites.
4) Dennis' son is Kelsey, not "kid." Kelsey is married and is a successful engineer, who also has a great interest in the family property. That was very condescending to use such a term for an adult.
5) Your comment about Goodwin '"restoring'" stones to their '"original'" position is inaccurate. If you are suggesting he moved stones, where did you get that information? Do you have info that Dennis and his family have not collected in the last 60 years? Moreover, where did you get it? For your information, Goodwin was not aware of astronomical alignments in the 1930s and 1940s. Most modern people learned of the astronomy incorporated into ancient, sacred sites after "Stonehenge Decoded" was published in the mid-1960s. You are providing misinformation to the public. Is it your opinion that the America's Stonehenge chambers are "cold cellars?" Please clarify. We can contrast your information with what we know about land records, documentation of when homes were built, early photos, etc.
6) You omitted information about the techniques used to quarry and dress the stones.
7) You omitted professionally done carbon 14 dating. This omission is a major flaw. If you are going to be fair, such information would be mandatory. You were there. A lot of your claims are cherry picked. You should know better.
8) There was a 1973-77 professionally conducted survey, which the Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysics department confirmed the alignments worked for 1800 BC. Can you provide contradicting evidence?
9) You admitted on your video that appears on the article in question that you disregarded the signs and climbed onto the Sacrificial Table. You did not show Dennis respect.
10) It is not 100% accurate that the Sacrificial Table was used as in the soap making process. There are well documented cases of human sacrifice during the Archaic Period, to which America's Stonehenge belongs. See Dr. Cheryl Claassen's writings.
11) When one looks at the evidence, I do not understand your need to discredit Diffusionism. One can look at such artifacts as the swastika found in the Hopewell Mound Group's prestigious Mound 25 and get a good understanding that there was a transatlantic cultural exchange of ideas. So you are buying into the outdated Isolationism theory? You want to see humans as limited by oceans? Also the mounds around Stonehenge look exactly like Marietta, Ohio's Conus Mound, the Grave Creek Mound, and other mounds in the Kanawha Valley. Moreover, there is a similarity between the Grave Creek Mound, the Circleville, Ohio Mound and Silbury Hill. Don't forget about the corbelling found at AS and Newgrange and Maes Howe. What about the similar appearance of America's Stonehenge's Summer Solstice Sunrise Stone and the Standing Stones of Stenness and their alignments to notches in hills? If you have been to Stenness, you can't help but to notice the striking similar layouts of both places. Other than being at Dennis' place, how many of the Old World sites have you visited?
12) Did you read David Goudsward and Robert Stone's "America's Stonehenge: The Mystery Hill Story" or Joanne Lambert's "America's Stonehenge: An Interpretive Guide," which contains copies of the carbon dating done by Geochron Laboratories, Inc. Did you watch the video at the Visitor's Center? Those are some of the numerous inaccuracies, misinformation/disinformation that take your "investigation" into the realms of attempting to pass your opinions as facts.
You do provide a disclaimer at the start about fixing some "incorrect information." You are fallible too. Jason, you did not correct enough. We, at America's Stonehenge, are asking you to remove this article from your website and not to post it on any other website. We cannot support this hatchet job and your other thoughts on Diffusion. This article on Dennis' property shows you have an agenda, not a healthy skepticism. Moreover, this article is bordering on slander. We find it distasteful that you have passed your negative judgment and doubt on a respectable family business, but this is a two way street, and our judgment is that you showed us a lack of candor and scholarship. I am going to represent my employers and not remain silent. The above are Dennis' and my corrections. You are not a historian and only have a surface understanding of America's rich prehistoric past. Again, please remove your post about America's Stonehenge.
Thank you, Jason, for your compliance.
Publicist for America's Stonehenge
I will not be removing the review for the following reasons:
1-3. According to my notes, the episode in question did not clearly specify who the characters were meant to be or the years in which the reenactments were meant to occur. My impression of what seemed to occur is how I saw it (I even used the word “presumably” to indicate my uncertainty); the issue has no bearing on America’s Stonehenge as a business and is an issue with America Unearthed, the only party that might legally object to my description of their program, though the First Amendment would prevent this. If I misinterpreted it, that is more likely the fault of the production design than my ignorance. I’m happy to acknowledge that the character was meant to be Robert Stone rather than William Goodwin, the preceding owner of the site, if that is indeed the case.
4. Rudeness isn’t a crime. Kelsey Stone is, I believe, younger than me, so in the time-honored tradition of age hating youth, he’s a “kid” relative to me. If not, he’s still much younger than Scott Wolter.
5. Plymouth State University archaeologist David R. Starbuck, writing in The Archaeology of New Hampshire (2006), states that William Goodwin moved some stones and that many individuals over the intervening decades attempted to “restore” the site to its presumed original condition. Granted, it is not entirely clear from Starbuck’s text how much of the movement he attributes to Goodwin himself, but other books state the same thing, including James Hafnor’s Strange But True, America (2009), Curtiss Hoffman’s People of the Fresh Water Lake (1990), and George Sullivan’s Discover Archaeology (1980). It is hardly a minority opinion.
6. Quarrying techniques were not relevant to my review, which was not a history of America’s Stonehenge but a review of a television show. If you want to play that card, then the issue that arises is that the quarry marks, as Starbuck notes, are of a “post-1830s origin.”
7. The carbon dating of the site was done on a piece of charcoal that is not clearly associated with the stone construction. All it proves is that someone was there at a particular period and had a fire. Again, my review is not a comprehensive history of the site, and it wasn’t relevant to my review, which is why I exercised my discretion in omitting it.
8. The alignments are only relevant if one can (a) prove they were done purposefully and (b) prove that the rocks have been in position since 1800 BCE. Since, as Starbuck notes, many stones have been moved in the past century, this is not certain. It is not my job to “prove” the alignments don’t exist; it is the claimant’s job to prove they are purposeful and relevant.
9. I was 16-year-old kid at the time. You’re seriously going to blame me for being a goofy kid and taking a picture in the mid-1990s? Guess what—I also touched Mark Twain’s typewriter in Elmira against the rules when I was 15. Yes, I was bad to the bone.
10. The question of whether the “sacrificial table” is a soap-making stone is one of archaeological interpretation, for which I have archaeologists who say that it is one and a self-interested, self-promoting business that says it is not.
11. This point has nothing to do with any alleged libel and is a matter of interpretation. If my judgment is that diffusionism is not supported by evidence, you may agree or disagree based on what you consider the strength of the argument. No one is forcing you to accept a conclusion. Listing a bunch of sites that you feel is superficially similar is not the same thing as demonstrating that I somehow libeled America’s Stonehenge in following the generally accepted archaeological conclusion that it is a colonial era site.
12. I imagine I must have watched whatever video was on offer back in the mid-1990s, though I don’t remember it. I’m not sure, though, how more versions of the same claims would impact my review of a TV show. If the claims aren’t convincing at first glance (a prima facie case, for fans of rhetoric), the audience isn’t required to try to make the claimant’s argument for him.
Finally: All of my comments were directed at the supposed archaeological site of Mystery Hill, not the business operating as America’s Stonehenge. From what I can remember, America’s Stonehenge operates a fine and upstanding tourist attraction, and I recommend all of my readers to visit it for themselves. Unless America’s Stonehenge would like to claim that its business is advocating a particular type diffusionism and not selling access to the Mystery Hill stone site, I don’t see how I have defamed them in any way. I know from the books I bought at the gift shop 20 years ago that the site offered different perspectives on who built the site—Irish monks, Phoenicians, etc.—so “colonials” ought not to be in any way at odds with their business model, nor can my conclusions be considered outside the scope of their alleged aim to explore all possibilities. But, if they’d like to argue otherwise, they can surely try to explain why only one point of view is acceptable to supposedly open-minded purveyors of possibilities.