Giant rock structure twice the size of Stonehenge found under sea

11 04 2013

Scientists have discovered a giant structure, weighing 60,000 tonnes and twice the size of Stonehenge, under the Sea of Galilee in Israel.

Giant rock structure found under sea

Giant rock structure found under sea

The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology reports that the “monumental stone structure” was cone-shaped and made of rough basalt.

Researcher Yitzhak Paz, of Ben-Gurion University’s Israel Antiquity Authority, said the structure was found in 2003 during a sonar survey and divers had now been down to investigate.

He told the journal that the structure could be 4000 years old.

“The more logical possibility is that it belongs to the third millennium BC, because there are other megalithic phenomena close by,” Dr Oaz said.

At a height of 10 metres and with a diameter of 70 metres, the structure appears to be a giant cairn, used in many parts of the world to mark burials.

“Close inspection by scuba diving revealed that the structure is made of basalt boulders up to a metre long with no apparent construction pattern,” researchers said. “The boulders have natural faces with no signs of cutting or chiselling. Similarly, we did not find any sign of arrangement or walls that delineate this structure.”

The scientists say to monument was definitely manmade and probably built on land, only later to be covered by the Sea of Galilee as water levels rose.

Putting all the data together researchers found that the structure is cone shaped, about 230 feet (70 meters) in diameter and nearly 32 feet (10 meters) tall. It weighs an estimated 60,000 tons.

Putting all the data together researchers found that the structure is cone shaped, about 230 feet (70 meters) in diameter and nearly 32 feet (10 meters) tall. It weighs an estimated 60,000 tons.

“The shape and composition of the submerged structure does not resemble any natural feature. We therefore conclude that it is man-made and might be termed a cairn,” they said.

The journal published a list of nearby examples of megalithic structures. One was the monumental site of Khirbet Beteiha, located 30km north-east of the submerged stone structure. It comprises three concentric stone circles, the biggest of which is 56 metres wide.

During the third millennium BC the city of Bet Yerah was one of the biggest sites in the region, Dr Paz said.

“It’s the most powerful and fortified town in this region and, as a matter of fact, in the whole of Israel.”

Dr Paz told the Journal of Nautical Archaeology that he was hopeful that an underwater archaeological expedition would soon excavate the structure.

The search will focus on finding artifacts and organic material in order to accurately date the site.

Link Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/16676628/giant-rock-structure-found-under-sea/

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Merlin @ Stonehenge
The stonehenge Stone Circle News Blog





Ancient Avebury site has so much potential

12 02 2013

A TWO-man Avebury stone circle research team say the site should capitalise on a World Heritage boost.

The Which? Travel magazine hailed Avebury as the second greatest World Heritage site, behind only the ancient Mexican city of Monte Alban and ahead of attractions including the Great Pyramid and the Taj Mahal.

Avebury_Stone Circle, WiltshireThis was music to the ears of author Eric M Crook and artist Maurice Giraffe from Swindon, who have spent decades investigating not just Avebury but other ancient sites such as Stonehenge and Silbury Hill.

Mr Crook, 88, is the author of a study called Wiltshire: A Journey-man’s Tale. Many of the book’s illustrations are the work of Mr Giraffe, 55, who combines artistic and technical drawing skills to plot the relative positions of stones.

Mr Crook said of the Which? Travel accolade: “It’s fantastic for this to happen, and we would hope that maybe somebody has taken notice of our comments over the years about this place being so important.”

Mr Giraffe added: “I too am very, very pleased that Avebury has been nominated within the top 10.

“At the same time, what draws the attention is that seven of the 10 are building complexes. There is only one stone circle.

“Avebury should now improve its facilities for visitors. Shelters from the rain would be useful, and so would pathways for wheeled access around the stones. We’d like to see uplighters installed so the stones can be seen better at night.”

The two also suggest night time tours and regular grass cutting, as well as restricting access by grazing sheep.

The researchers believe the archaeological establishment has missed clues about ceremonial and navigational uses for such prehistoric places.

They say their research indicates that the surviving Avebury stones were once part of a vast amphitheatre featuring many thousands of carved human and animal faces, and these faces would have appeared to come to life in flickering firelight.

The researchers say remnants of these carvings can still be seen in fragments hacked from the stones down the years, whether for recycling or because the early Christian church objected to the old religions.

Mr Crook said: “Many churches were built with the old stones, and also other properties across Wiltshire.”

Wiltshire: A Journeyman’s Tale costs £9.99 and can be ordered from Amazon and book shops.
Article (By Barrie Hudson – http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk)

Merlin says: ‘Not sure about the uplighters idea’ ?

Merlin @ Stonehenge
Stonehenge News Blog





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 Companywww.StonehengeTourscm

Merlin says “Visiting Wiltshire ? Buy this book!”

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





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





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 





Pagan stone circle built at US Air Force training academy

29 11 2011

The US military has built a stone circle in its Air Force academy to give pagans, druids and witches somewhere to practice their religion.

Stonehenge, UK: The Colarado base has spent around £50,000 building the Stonehenge-like structure

Stonehenge, UK: The Colarado base has spent around £50,000 building the Stonehenge-like structure


The Colorado base has spent around £50,000 building the Stonehenge-like structure to allow witches to cast spells, and pagans to form “circles of power” by night.

it is situated on top of a wooded hill and includes a fire pit.

The academy says it is for cadets who practice ‘Earth based’ religions including druids, witches and North American faiths.

Despite the expenses it is believed only three out of the 4,300 cadets have openly admitted that they are pagan.

Bob Barr, a former Republican congressman, campaigned to ban witches from the military, saying: “What’s next? Will armoured divisions be forced to travel with sacrificial animals for Satanic rituals? Will Rastafarians demand the inclusion of ritualistic marijuana cigarettes in their rations?”

The Wiccan religion was added to the US Army’s chaplain’s handbook in the 1970s and includes details on how covens are organised and how Druids worship ‘Mother Earth and Father Sky.’

“Most Wiccan groups also practise magic, by which they mean the direction and use of ‘psychic energy’ — those natural but invisible forces which surround all living things,” it explains.

The air force says the site is to help to protect the constitutional right to religious freedom.

But some think it is an attempt to attract more Wiccans to the army.

“Many men attracted to wicca are also attracted to this fantasy of the ancient warrior who is spiritually adept, but also a great fighter,” Margot Adler, a renowned witch and broadcaster, said.

The American Religious Identification Survey estimated that there were 700,000 pagans and wiccans in the US

US Army says Wiccan work it out

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

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge and Avebury Small Group Guided Tour.

28 10 2011

A new tour operating from London gives the  unique opportunity to explore the awe inspiring world famous Stonehenge and Avebury Prehistoric Landscapes with an expert service, guided by a qualified archaeologist.
avebury-guided-tour
The tour includes –

  • Return travel from London in a luxury coach 
  • Entrance in to Stonehenge
  • Visit Stonehenge Cursus, Stonehenge Avenue and several Bronze Age Round Barrows (burial mounds)
  • A visit to one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Bath. Nourished by natural hot springs, stunning architecture, great shopping and iconic attractions
  • Guided coach tour around some of the most beautiful and stunning architectural works in Bath
  • Visit Woodhenge and Durrington Walls
  • Visit West Kennet Long Barrow and Silbury Hill
  • Visit Avebury Stone Circle and Henge 

 You will enjoy the passion and enthusiasm expressed by our professional,  archaeologist tour leaders.
The Avebury Landscape

West Kennet Long Barrow
– One of the largest Neolithic burial tombs in Britain. The West Kennet Long Barrow was constructed about 3700 BC, and was in continual use for well over 1000 years.

Silbury Hill – The largest man-made mound in ancient Europe, Silbury Hill was constructed c2800 BC. Even after centuries of research, archaeologists have still not discovered the original purpose of the Hill – ideas include it use as a territorial marker, burial mound and as a cenotaph.

Avebury Henge, Stone Circle and West Kennet Avenue – The largest stone circle in Europe, Avebury formed the centre of one of the most impressive Neolithic ceremonial landscapes in Britain. The great circles, 200 standing stones arranged in an outer and 2 inner circles, surrounded by a massive bank and ditch, were the focal point of the area. They were connected by the West Kennet Avenue of standing stones to other locales in the region, including the Sanctuary on Overton Hill – the site of a postulated temple. Hundreds of great sarsen stones from the downland around, often weighing over 20 tonnes, were used in the construction of the site, some 2500-2200 BC.

 

Visit Bath for Lunch, Guided coach tour and ‘Free Time’

 

The Stonehenge Landscape

 

Durrington Walls is the site of a large Neolithic settlement and later henge enclosure. It is 2 miles north-east of Stonehenge. Recent excavation at Durrington Walls, support an estimate of a community of several thousand, thought to be the largest one of its age in north-west Europe. At 500m in diameter, the henge is the largest in Britain and recent evidence suggests that it was a complementary monument to Stonehenge

 

Woodhenge – Neolithic monument, dating from about 2300 BC, six concentric rings, once possibly supported a ring-shaped building.

 

Stonehenge Cursus –  (sometimes known as the Greater Cursus) is a large Neolithic cursus monument next to Stonehenge. It is roughly 3km long and between 100 and 150m wide. Excavations by the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2007 dated the construction of the earthwork to between 3630 and 3375 BC. This makes the monument several hundred years older than the earliest phase of Stonehenge in 3000 BC.

 

Bronze Age round barrows The Stonehenge UNESCO world heritage site is said to contain the most concentrated collection of prehistoric sites and monuments in the world. One monument type missed by the casual observer is that of the Bronze Age round barrow (burial mounds). As we walk through this landscape, you will come into contact with these intriguing ancient burial sites and through the expertise of our tour leaders, you will come face to face with the customs and people of Bronze Age society buried in close proximity to the unique stone circle of Stonehenge.Stonehenge Avenue – Walk along the Stonehenge Avenue and approach this unique stone circle as was the intended route experienced by the Stonehenge’s contempories.

 

Admission to Stonehenge – The great and ancient stone circle of Stonehenge is an exceptional survival from a prehistoric culture now lost to us. The monument evolved between 3000 BC – 1600 BC and is aligned with the rising and setting of the sun at the solstices.

 

Evening: Return 19.00 (winter schedule 18.00)

 

 These are Archaeology Tours, and as a result we believe we offer an excellent up-to-date specialist service; giving you the opportunity to learn in great detail about these amazing prehistoric sites, but also leaving you time to explore your surroundings by yourself.

This exclusive tour operates all year and can be booked through:
‘The Stonehenge Tour company’ – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website








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