LETTER : The stone circles of black Africa

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The Independent Online
From Mr Geoffrey Littlejohns

Sir: A.D.C. Hyland (letter, 2 August) backs up his claim that "Blacks have been players in the stage of British history for thousands of years" by asserting that Stonehenge was built by Berbers. Stone circles have been found in Africa, so Stonehenge was built by blacks. Surely this is but an example of cultural imperialism, this time on behalf of blacks. Why should Berbers be labelled "black" just because they inhabit North Africa? I have met Berbers who look anything but black, individuals with blue eyes and light skins.

Mr Hyland also makes the assumption that cultural similarities must prove that ethnic background is identical. Just because he has seen stone circles in the Gambia, then stone circles everywhere else must have been constructed by black Africans. Surely quite distinct ethnic groups can produce apparently similar patterns of belief and culture.

If it was wrong for 19th-century European imperialists to assert that the prehistoric remains of Zimbabwe must have been constructed by white settlers in antiquity, then it is also wrong for 20th-century multi-culturalists to invent a spurious history for black settlement in Britain before the Fifties and Sixties.

Is it so difficult to find positive role models since the post-war immigrations that we have to fantasise about a prehistoric black presence?

Yours sincerely,

Geoffrey Littlejohns