Stonehenge, Charles Darwin and Worms – What’s the connection ?

1 07 2012

Darwin’s earthworms and Stonehenge

One of Charles Darwin’s lesser known scientific contributions was the study of the humble earthworm. But could his work on this underground creature provide valuable clues about the ancient site of Stonehenge?

Stonehenge - clues in the earth.

Stonehenge – clues in the earth.

The earthworm plays a crucial role in improving soil fertility as it burrows beneath the ground.

Its work helps us to live in a green and pleasant land as the worms aerate the soil.

But as Darwin discovered, worms are also surprisingly good friends to archaeologists.

Today this humble beast is providing clues about the history of Stonehenge and its surrounding countryside.

Stonehenge solutions

Darwin’s studies of earthworms at Stonehenge involved some of the first scientifically recorded excavations at the site.

They’re unusual because they were carried out not by an archaeologist, but by a naturalist.

Darwin was interested in the action of earthworms in burying objects.

Earthy solutions – the humble earthworm.

It’s the continual processes of burrowing, digesting and excreting the soil by earthworms that gradually leads to

Earthworm clues - Charles Darwin.

Earthworm clues – Charles Darwin.

objects settling down in the soil.

In some cases they become completely buried by it.

Dr Josh Pollard, one of the directors of the Stonehenge Riverside Project, has been assessing the importance of Darwin’s worm experiments at the ancient site.

Pollard thinks he’s identified a fallen stone on the outside of the circle, and one that was split in two, as the subject of Darwin’s book – “Vegetable Mould and Earthworms”.

The book features a picture of the ground which had built up around the fallen stone and describes how the stone had sunk into the soil profile:

“At Stonehenge, some of the outer Druidical stones are now prostrate, and these have become buried to a moderate depth in the ground.”

Animal diggers

Darwin discovered that earthworms are rather like archaeological JCB diggers.

They eat the earth, it goes through their muscular tube, and comes out the other end as worm casts.

This is where the earthworms interact with archaeology.

The cumulative effect of millions of worms in a field chewing their way through the soil and depositing it on the surface is that they actually raise the surface of the soil.

Darwin worked out that the soil increased in depth by 0.2 of an inch per year.

After 10 years an object in the soil will go down two inches, and after 1,000 years it will reduce down 200 inches.

The result on the ground is that things disappear and gently sink into the soil.

To test this theory Dr Josh Pollard visited the site of one of his old excavations – the remains of a Saxon village on a farm overlooking Cheddar in Somerset.

Since his last visit a decade ago the landscape has changed – and it’s down to the efforts of the earthworms which have worked their their magic.

Earth shattering clues?

So should archaeologists be worried about the impact of earthworms?

Dr Josh Pollard says:

“When you’re finding small objects through the layer, they needn’t have started out in that layer, they may have started out higher up in the slightly later layer.

“But worms have gradually taken those small objects or maybe small pieces of charcoal or other material that we might actually use for things like radio carbon dating, down through the layers.”

So does this and Darwin’s research mean that the dating of Stonehenge, could be completely wrong?

And could the activities of earthworms continue to alter the landscape of Stonehenge in 100 year’s time as objects and stones sink deeper into the ground and get covered by soil?

To modern minds Darwin’s work on natural selection was far more important than his study of the humble earthworm.

But to archaeologists he founded the modern science of soil, and provided some clues about the changing landscape around Stonehenge.

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says “Darwin also ate owls!  Darwin was an inquisitive man. Sure he was curious about nature and all that science stuff, but he’s also a guy. So when he saw strange animals, he often wondered what they would taste like. The difference between Darwin and the rest of us is that he actually ate ’em!

More ‘Stonehenge Fun Facts’ coming soon………………

Merlin @ Stonehenge





View Stonehenge and other ancient cultural sites up close with Google’s new World Wonders Project

1 06 2012

Google launched the World Wonders Project on  Thursday, a new site that gives users the chance to see ancient and cultural  sites around the world up close.

Google’s Street  View has proved to be an invaluable tool for those people curious about the  world beyond their front door. Since its launch five years ago, the service has  traveled the world mapping roads, railways, parks,  airports, malls and even parts of the Amazon  basin.

And now the company has given us yet another excuse not to venture from the  confines of our cosy couch with the introduction of a new feature: the World Wonders Project.

Announced on Thursday in a post on the Mountain View  company’s official blog, the project offers up 132 ancient and cultural sites  spanning 18 countries. The World Wonders Project uses Street View technology to  allow users to get an up close view of the locations, which include the UK’s  Stonehenge, archaeological areas of Pompeii in Italy and ancient temples in  Japan’s former capital, Kyoto.

Some nice little bonuses come with Google’s new offering. Its Stonehenge  pictures, for example, take you right in among the stones — something you can’t  do if you visit in person, as a rope cordon around the ancient monument has been  in place for the last 35 years.

“Most could not be filmed by car, so we used camera-carrying trikes to pedal  our way close enough,” Melanie Blaschke, product marketing manager of the World  Wonders project, explained in the blog post.

To enhance the experience, the site offers 3D models and YouTube videos  relating to each location.

“We also partnered with several prestigious organizations, including UNESCO,  the World Monuments Fund, Getty Images and Ourplace, who provided official  information and photographs for many of the sites,” Blaschke wrote, adding “World Wonders is part of our commitment to preserving culture online and making  it accessible to everyone.”

Google hopes World Wonders will prove particularly popular with students and  scholars, and has even put together a number of educational packages for use in  the classroom.

So if you feel like enjoying some of the world’s ancient sites without  actually having to physically travel to them, or if time and money are a bit on  the tight side just now, the World Wonders Project could be well worth checking  out.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin sayes “Great, no need to get off my sofa?????”

Merlin @ Stonehenge





Prehistoric Wiltshire. Sites of Significance

1 05 2012

If you are in doubt about the key role Wiltshire plays in the long history of these Islands, and that it has done so since the time humans first set foot on our soil, this book joins the growing scholarly titles from the excellent ‘heritage; publisher Amberley Publishing will dispel it.

Prehistoric Wilsthire

Prehistoric Wilsthire

This attractive book is the latest in a successful series from the Stroud-based publisher Amberley. (Amongst others, their titles include Prehistoric Gloucestershire by Tim Darvill, and John Aubrey and Stone Circles: Britain’s First Archaeologist by Aubrey Burl.) It is well written by a knowledgeable local archaeologist in a style that is pleasingly free of jargon, and opens with a fitting tribute from Francis Pryor.

As with some other titles in the series, this pocket-sized book is specifically designed as a field guide (at 235 x 165mm it is slightly larger than A5), in this instance describing nearly 50 of the most visible and accessible prehistoric monuments within the county of Wiltshire. The selected sites are grouped by topographic region (the Marlborough Downs, the Vale of Pewsey and so on), the majority situated on the chalk uplands. All the familiar forms of earthwork from causewayed camps and long barrows to round barrow groups and hillforts are covered. Appropriately, they include the monuments of the World Heritage Site centred on Avebury and Stonehenge, but information from the latest fieldwork in those areas ensures up-to-date coverage.

An introductory section provides a brief outline of the conventional sub-divisions of later prehistory (the Mesolithic to the Iron Age). Thereafter, details are offered on how best to reach each site: although there are no maps, National Grid References and useful directions are offered. Some of the sites are on private land and hence the book judiciously warns ‘this guide does not infer rights of way’, deferring to the county’s highway authority for the latest information on footpaths and bridleways. Nonetheless, it describes what can be seen at each site from the best publicly-accessible vantage points. The entries briefly describe the history of investigation at each site and summarize current understanding of its function and date.

The book is beautifully illustrated. The majority of the figures are the author’s own fine colour photographs, although some monochrome archival images are also used where necessary. Arguably the best views are the excellent oblique aerial photographs. Their use as an invaluable aid to comprehension recalls the local tradition pioneered by O. G. S. Crawford and Alexander Keiller in their 1928 work, Wessex from the Air. Evidently, the author enlisted the help of several pilots, employing a range of micro-light and private aircraft to gain the necessary perspective. Because the book focuses on visible sites, most of the subjects are obviously upstanding earthworks. Nonetheless, the photographs include a few soil-marks, crop-marks and excavations to emphasis that even in an area which boasts some of the country’s best-known monuments, many others have been lost from normal view.

It is well known that Wiltshire contains a remarkable number of well-preserved field monuments of various forms, and hence the author is in the enviable position of being able to select the most impressive. Because of the quality and visibility of its ancient monuments, Wiltshire is an ideal region to serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with prehistoric remains, but equally it is an unceasing source of inspiration for the most experienced archaeologist. The field monuments are complemented by outstanding local museums whose displays reflect the long history of archaeological investigation within the county. Yet, despite the richness of their collections, these museums remain the responsibility of private trusts and societies that constantly struggle to find the necessary resources to conserve and exhibit their assets. It is most commendable, therefore, that Bob Clarke, the author, has written Prehistoric Wiltshire as a personal contribution to the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society’s fund raising effort to re-display the famous Bronze Age gallery at Devizes Museum. There are thus two compelling reasons to buy this excellent book – to guide you to some of the best prehistoric sites in Southern England, and to help display the spectacular objects found in some of those sites.

Sponsored by The Stonehenge Tour Companyhttps://stonehengetours.com/

Merlin says “Visiting Wiltshire ? Buy this book!”

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Celebrate World Heritage Day at Stonehenge and Avebury.

18 04 2012

World Heritage Day is celebrated annually on 18th April. This year, (also the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention), English Heritage experts are on hand to help you discover the prehistoric landscapes at Stonehenge and Avebury and to show how World Heritage Status is helping to conserve them.
Stonehenge Heritage

Stonehenge and Avebury became a World Heritage Site in 1986 for their outstanding prehistoric monuments dating from around 3,700 to 1,600 BC. The stone circle of Stonehenge is recognised throughout the world and the site is very special. The 2,600 hectares  of surrounding landscape contains 350 burial mounds and prehistoric monuments such as the the Cursus, Woodhenge and Durrington Walls. Part of this landscape is also managed by the National Trust.

Avebury is the largest prehistoric stone circle in the world. The site includes Windmill Hill, the West Kennet Long Barrow, the West Kennet and Beckhampton Avenues, the Sanctuary, Silbury Hill (the largest prehistoric mound in Europe),  the West Kennet Palisaded Enclosures, and important barrows.

The event is  from 10am to 6pm on April 18th and tickets cost £35 (includes refreshments).  Booking via English Heritage is essential: 0870 333 1181.
Link: http://www.insidewiltshire.co.uk

What is World heritage Day ?

World Heritage Day 18th April 2012 – Get Involved!

This year’s theme has been chosen to mark the 40th anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, which was adopted in 1972. The focus will be on “World Heritage and Sustainable Development: the Role of Local Communities”.

This special day offers an opportunity to celebrate local heritage all over the world! Why not get involved … there’s any number of things you could do to celebrate World Heritage Day 2012 …

  • Provide free admission to your heritage site
  • Publicise your site in local newspapers or radio
  • Hang World Heritage Day banners on your local sites
  • Organise a public talk or lecture on your local heritage
  • Put together an exhibition celebrating your local heritage
  • Award a prize to soemone who has made an outstanding contribution to your local heritage
  • Inaugurate a recently restored monument
  • Get the kids involved with tours or treasure hunts

World Heritage Day (International Day for Monuments & Sites) was created in 1982 by ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments & Sites) and was later approved at the UNESCO General Conference in 1983.
Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle News Blog Blog





Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Day Tour

1 04 2012

Celebrate World Heritage Day and the 40th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention with a fascinating exploration of the Stonehenge and Avebury Landscapes.  Join our experts and discover these extraordinary prehistoric landscapes and how World Heritage Site status is helping to conserve them.
Stonehenge
This is a tour with a mixture of walking and travelling by coach.  You will be led by Dr Nick Snashall, the National Trust Archaeologist for the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site.  Also taking part are Sarah Simmonds, the Avebury World Heritage officer (Wiltshire Council) and Beth Thomas, the Stonehenge World heritage Site Coordinator (English Heritage). This tour is being organised in partnership with English Heritage, National Trust and Wiltshire Council and open to members of both organisations and non-members.
Please note: this is a tour of parts of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site; there will be some walking so appropriate clothing and footwear essential. This tour will not be suitable for those with limited mobility; please let us know if there are any special needs. Older children would be acceptable (e.g. 12+ years).  Need to be able to listen to the talk and not disrupt group. The National Trust will supply parking permits for the car park.  These will be available on the day or in advance if time. Tour ticket will include FREE entry to Alexander Keiller Barn and Stable Galleries and Stonehenge. Tour ticket will include: morning coffee, light lunch and snack in the afternoon. Please let us know of any special dietary requirements. Sites visited include Alexander Keiller Museum, Avebury Henge, West Kennet Avenue, Stonehenge, Durrington Walls and Woodhenge.

When ?
Date: Wed 18 Apr 2012

<!–

–>How to BookPurchase your tickets today by calling our dedicated Ticket Sales Team on 0870 333 1183 (Mon – Fri 8.30am – 5.30 Sat 9am – 5pm).

Prices

All inclusive tour includes: car park fee in Avebury; morning coffee, light lunch and afternoon snack; mini-coach travel from Avebury to Stonehenge and return.

Link: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/stonehenge-and-avebury-world-heritage-day-tour-s-18-apr/

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin at Stonehenge





MEGALITHOMANIA TOURS 2012

28 03 2012

The Ultimate Conference for Megalithomaniacs 2012

Join us for an incredible selection of outdoor Antiquarian delights this May. Megalithomania invites you to explore, ponder, dowse, and be captivated by the incredible stones from antiquity. Over the years we have increased our tour schedule around the conference and now in 2012 we have eight days of tours and other activities for you to enjoy. From the heights of Glastonbury Tor, to the remote stone avenues of Dartmoor, the Olde English landscape still has lots to offer. With special guest experts joining us for each tour, who know their landscape well. For this year we introduce our new ‘Megalithic Cornwall‘ Tour with Glenn & Cameron Broughton. Save £42 if you book the ‘Full Ticket’ that includes the Cornwall Tour….

NEW: Megalithic Cornwall Tour Here


Coach travel included in price of all tours. Meet at Abbey Car Park. Bring packed lunch
. Info & Booking:             07779 113452

Friday 11th May: £55 (SOLD OUT)
Stonehenge with Robin Heath – 4pm – 9pm

Private Access to Stonehenge, with excursion to the Cursus, several Tumuli, Durrington Walls and Woodhenge. (inc private access to Stonehenge)

Monday 14th May:£50
Avebury & the Valley of the White Horse – 9am – 5pm

An exclusive tour around megalithic Avebury, the largest stone circle in the world, West Kennett Long Barrow, Silbury Hill and more with Peter Knight.

Tuesday 15th May: £50
Sacred Avalon Walking Tour – 9am – 1pm
with Anthony Thorley
Visiting the Tor, Glastonbury Abbey, Michael & Mary energy lines
Tuesday Afternoon: (inc in above price)
Cadbury Castle & Burrow Mump – 2.30pm – 6pm
A guided visit to two of the most impressive earthworks in Somerset

Wednesday 16th May: £50
Dartmoor Stone Circles and Avenues – 8am – 6pm

A five-hour walk around the incredible landscape of megalithic Dartmoor, Devon, visiting stone circles, megalithic avenues, menhirs and tracking earth energies. 90 min drive both ways. Bring packed lunch.
(NOTE: if you are going on the Cornwall Tour, you must be on this tour)

Link: http://www.megalithomania.co.uk/

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ http://www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says “This conference is wirth every penny and a good excuse to spend a couple of days in Glastonbury”

Merlin at Stonehenge





1st Exhibition of Mesolthic Amesbury – 3000 years before the Stones

24 03 2012

Resulting from the Amesbury 2012 initiative lead by Mayor Andy Rhind-Tutt and supported by Amesbury Town Council, local people and our Druids we are pleased to announce that Amesbury Town Council, have completed the purchase of the Melor Hall in Amesbury (Opposite the Antrobus Arms) and will now move to the process of planning and building the Town its first ever Museum and interpretation centre.

This will tell the Story of Amesbury and interest a percentage of those millions of tourists that visit our Stonehenge, bolstering the local economy and mutually supporting the two existing museums of Salisbury and Devizes and Stonehenge.
Amesbury Museum

On the Easter weekend, the existing hall will be used for an exhibition highlighting the Mesolithic rich heritage that is being found. This will feature live archaeology taking place locally at one of the most exciting dig sites in Britain today.

Meet the archaeologists, ask questions, handle finds and discover for yourselves the wonders of the Mesolithic Salisbury Plain.

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ http://www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says “This is great news for Stonehenge, Amesbury and Wiltshire Tourism 2012.  See you at the Easter Weekend event”

The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge Tour – Ancient ceremonial landscape of great archaeological and wildlife interest

16 02 2012

Explore the wider Stonehenge World Heritage Site with a guide and discover hidden histories, ancient mysteries and winter wildlife. February 18th 2012

Stonehenge landscapeWithin the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, the National Trust manages 827 hectares (2,100 acres) of downland surrounding the famous stone circle.

Walking across the grassland, visitors can discover other prehistoric monuments, including the Avenue and King Barrow Ridge with its Bronze Age burial mounds.

Nearby, Winterbourne Stoke Barrows is another fascinating example of a prehistoric cemetery. While Durrington Walls hides the remains of a Neolithic village.

The best approach to the famous stone circle is across Normanton Down, a round barrow cemetery dates from around 2600 to 1600BC.





Mystery of Britain’s Largest Meteorite Solved. Found at Druids burial site near Stonehenge

10 02 2012

With a weight that rivals a baby elephant, a meteorite that fell from space some 30,000 years ago is likely Britain’s largest space rock. And after much sleuthing, researchers think they know where it came from and how it survived so long without weathering away.

Likely the largest meteorite found in Britain, this one spans about 1.6 feet (0.5 meters) across and has been on Earth some 30,000 years.

Likely the largest meteorite found in Britain, this one spans about 1.6 feet (0.5 meters) across and has been on Earth some 30,000 years.

The giant rock, spanning about 1.6 feet (0.5 meters) across and weighing 205 pounds (93 kilograms), was likely discovered by an archaeologist about 200 years ago at a burial site created by the Druids (an ancient Celtic priesthood) near Stonehenge, according to said Colin Pillinger, a professor of planetary sciences at the Open University.

Pillinger curated the exhibition “Objects in Space,” which opens today (Feb. 9th) and is the first time the public will get a chance to see the meteorite. The exhibition will explore not only the mystery that surrounds the origins of the giant meteorite, but also the history and our fascination with space rocks.

As for how the meteorite survived its long stint on Earth, researchers point to the ice age.

“The only meteorites that we know about that have survived these long ages are the ones that were collected in Antarctica,” said Pillinger, adding that more recently, some ancient meteorites have been collected in the Sahara Desert. This rock came from neither the Sahara Desert nor Antarctica, but rather the Lake House in Wiltshire.

“Britain was under an ice age for 20,000 years,” Pillinger told LiveScience, explaining the climate would have protected the rock from weathering.

At some point, the Druids likely picked up the meteorite when scouting for rocks to build burial chambers. “They were keen on building burial sites for [the dead] in much the same way the Egyptians built the pyramids,” Pillinger said.

Then, years later, an archaeologist with ties to other, famous archaeologists, likely found the rock while excavating the Druids’ burial sites, he said. The archaeologist then brought the rock back to his house in Wiltshire, where its more recent residents took notice and alerted researchers.

“The men whose house this was found at spent a lot of time opening these burial sites 200 years ago for purposes of excavating them,” Pillinger said. “Our hypothesis is that the stone probably came out of one of those burial chambers.”

The meteorite is called a chondrite, a group that includes primitive meteorites that scientists think were remnants shed from the original building blocks of planets. Most meteorites found on Earth fit into this group.

The much smaller meteorite on display at the Royal Society's exhibit was excavated from a grain pit where ancient peoples of the Iron Age stored their crops.

The much smaller meteorite on display at the Royal Society's exhibit was excavated from a grain pit where ancient peoples of the Iron Age stored their crops.

Other objects on display include a much smaller meteorite, weighing about an ounce (32 grams), and excavated from a grain pit where ancient peoples of the Iron Age stored their crops. It was discovered in the 1970s at Danebury Hill Fort in Hampshire, though it wasn’t until the 1980s when scientists analyzed metal in the walnut-size object did they realize its extraterrestrial origin.

The exhibition will also include a Damien Hirst “spot painting,” which features the famous Beagle 2 spacecraft as its center spot. In addition, part of Newton’s apple tree will be on display.

The story of how researchers are uncovering the origins of these impressive specimens will astonish and delight visitors to this remarkable exhibition, which also contains letters and books charting the history of scientific interest in meteorites.  

The Royal Society’s London headquarters will house the exhibit through March 30.

Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescienceand on Facebook.
Sore: http://www.livescience.com

Sponsored by ‘The stonehege Tour Company’www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says “Out of this world”

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Archaeologists and pagans alike glory in the Brodgar complex

2 02 2012

Let’s not jump to conclusions about ritual significance, but this site is clearly immensely important to ancient British history

The Ring of Brodgar ancient standing stones in Orkney, Scotland, flank the Brodgar complex, now thought to be older than Stonehenge. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

The Ring of Brodgar ancient standing stones in Orkney, Scotland, flank the Brodgar complex, now thought to be older than Stonehenge. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

Archaeologists are notoriously nervous of attributing ritual significance to anything (the old joke used to be that if you found an artefact and couldn’t identify it, it had to have ritual significance), yet they still like to do so whenever possible. I used to work on a site in the mid-1980s – a hill fort in Gloucestershire – where items of potential religious note occasionally turned up (a horse skull buried at the entrance, for example) and this was always cause for some excitement, and also some gnashing of teeth at the prospect of other people who weren’t archaeologists getting excited about it (“And now I suppose we’ll have druids turning up”).

The Brodgar complex has, however, got everyone excited. It ticks all the boxes that make archaeologists, other academics, lay historians and pagans jump up and down. Its age is significant: it’s around 800 years older than Stonehenge (although lately, having had to do some research into ancient Britain, I’ve been exercised by just how widely dates for sites vary, so perhaps some caution is called for). Pottery found at Stonehenge apparently originated in Orkney, or was modelled on pottery that did.

The site at the Ness of Brodgar – a narrow strip of land between the existing Stone Age sites of Maeshowe and the Ring of Brodgar – is massive: the size of five football pitches and circled by a 10ft wall. Only a small percentage of it has been investigated; it is being called a “temple complex”, and researchers seem to think that it is a passage complex – for instance, one in which bones are carried through and successively stripped (there is a firepit across one of the doors, and various entrances, plus alcoves like those in a passage grave, which are being regarded as evidence for this theory – but it’s a bit tenuous at present). Obviously, at this relatively early stage, it’s difficult for either professional archaeologists or their followers to formulate too many firm theories.

When it comes to the pagan community, I don’t think that its sounder members will be leaping to too many conclusions too soon; as discussed in a previous column, some of us would prefer to rely on the actual evidence rather than rushing off at a tangent. I cannot help wondering whether the relatively muted response across the pagan scene to the Brodgar findings has to do with the fact that the central artefact discovered so far – the “Brodgar Boy” – is apparently male rather than female. I am cynical enough to wonder whether, if it had been a northern Venus, there would be much more in the way of rash speculation about ancient matriarchies. Will we see the pagan community flocking to Orkney at the solstices? I doubt it. Orkney is a long way off and rather difficult to get to, whereas Stonehenge and Avebury are with a reasonably easy drive if you happen to live in the south of the country. In the days when the site was at its peak, most traffic would have been coastal, and remained so for hundreds of years to come. (And to be fair, many modern pagans aren’t actually too keen on trampling over ancient sites, sacred or otherwise, due to awareness of their relative fragility).

With regard to the “boy” himself, and other ancient representations of the human form, we simply don’t know why people made them. Maybe they are gods, goddesses, spirits. Maybe they’re toys, or lampoons of particular individuals, or just someone doing some carving in an idle moment. It’s hardly a startling theory that, throughout history, people have made stuff for fun: I’ve always been very amused by Aztec pots made in the shape of comical animals, looking for all the world like the early precursor to Disney and somewhat at variance with the sombre bloodiness of other aspects of that culture.

 

As soon as the Bronze Age arrived, Brodgar was completely abandoned. There was apparently a mass slaughter of cattle, which would have fed as many as 20,000 people on the site; this is being taken by some experts as evidence of a complete and sudden cultural replacement. But whether it has ritual significance or not, the sheer size, age and numbers involved with the Orkney site make it of immense importance to the history of ancient Britain.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Compay’  www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @  Stonehenge 








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