Archive for the 'Neolithic' Category

Mar 25 2015

The Undreamed Region – Barrows in folklore & archaeology

Dragon Hill by the White Horse of Uffington

Dragon Hill by the White Horse of Uffington

Pic: Beth M527

We’re very proud to bring you a special Guest post by David Taylor. He begins with a quote from Beowulf: Draca sceal on hlaew, frod, fraetum wlanc. (The dragon shall be in the tumulus, old, rich in treasures.) He goes on to say:

Hills, mounds and burial sites. Places which have a timeless allure. Such places can be seen and regarded as mythically liminal, a place that it is not a place. A place outside of time. A place where the living freely walk with the dead. Barrows are just such places. Archaeologically speaking, barrows or tumuli are large man made mounds of earth used for internment of the dead in Western Europe.

It is a practice which originated in the Neolithic period (c.4300 – 2000 BC). The word barrow comes from the Old English (Anglo-Saxon) word beorg, which is related to berg, which in turn means ‘mountain'(1).

There are basically two types of barrows. The oldest are the Neolithic Long Barrows such as Belas Knap in Glos. and West Kennet in Wiltshire. The later are Round Barrows which date from the Bronze Age (c.2000 – 700 BC), and these in turn can be sub-divided into at least thirteen types (2). Barrows usually consist of a stone box chamber which contain the body and sometimes the possessions of the deceased. The chamber is usually covered with earth. They sometimes stand in high places, acting as landmarks. They are a central feature to the study of leys and earth mysteries. A good example of Barrows and alignments comes from Uppsala in Sweden. There is a remarkable alignment of approx. six fifth to sixth century barrows which are visible across the flat landscape. At the head of the alignment is a larger mound which acted as a moot site. Opposite this site where an important pagan temple stood, now stands the Old Uppsala church.

One of the many unanswered questions about long barrows in particular is why are they so long? The first, and most obvious theory was that they were constructed as a huge monument to some great royal chief, but the lack of emblems of royal prestige at most long barrows negates this as a theory. Michael Dames in his seminal work ‘The Avebury Cycle’ (3) suggests that the West Kennet long barrow is a monumental image of the living neolithic Great Goddess, in her Old Hag guise. As Dames himself writes “Long barrows are long because they show the Winter goddess as gigantic.”

Entrance to the Underworld

In mythic tradition as already stated barrows were considered magical places, entrances to the realm of the goddess, the entrance seen by many as symbolising the vagina of the goddess and the interior her womb.

The earth under which men are buried is the mother of the dead. The acceptance of such an explanation would have an important effect on the construction of burial places.

Reconstructed view of the Pentre Ifan Crmolech

Reconstructed view of the Pentre Ifan Crmolech

Pic: Wiki

The object of the tomb builders would have been to make the tomb as much like the body of a Mother as he was able. The same idea seems to have been carried out in the internal arrangements of the passage grave, with the burial chambers and passage perhaps representing uterus and vagina. (4)

The well known cromlech at Pentre Ifan, Wales, was known in folklore as ‘the womb of the goddess Ceridwen’ (5).

In the story ‘Pwyll Prince of Dyfed’ in The Mabinogion, Pwyll dares to sit on a mound called Gorsedd Arberth and repeatedly sees a lady dressed in gold riding a white horse that could not be caught. She was Rhiannon. Pwyll eventually enters the underworld kingdom of Annwn where he exchanges places with its lord, Arawn and rules for a year (6). Another story of equal pagan imagery is Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, (7) which sees Gawain’s quest to find the Green Chapel, possibly a barrow, and his other-world initial style beheading game with the Green Knight (8). To those who entered the faerie realm there were countless hidden dangers. One day in 1692 the Rev. Robert Kirk was walking upon a faerie hill at Aberfoyle in the Scottish Trossachs, when he collapsed and died. If this had happened to anyone but the Rev. Kirk the incident would have passed with little interest. But the Rev. Kirk was no ordinary minister. In 1691 he had written a book entitled ‘The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies’ . It was believed that his soul was imprisoned in the Faerie realm awaiting the pertinent ritual to set him free (9).

Within Northern Europe the fertility deities the Vanir have close connections with burial mounds. Chief of the Vanir is the god Freyr, whose symbol is a ship, and at such places as Sutton Hoo we find evidence that a ship was buried in the barrow, possibly suggesting that the ship was to act as a vehicle to the otherworld. Norse tradition also tells that Svart Alfs (Dark Elves) were the dead ancestors of the land and they could be found in burial mounds. The Dark Alfs or Mound Elves of folklore are not to be confused with ‘New Age’ fantasies. In the Icelandic Kormaks Saga a badly wounded warrior has the blood and flesh of a steer placed on a alf mound as a libation to healing. It was also considered great bad luck to build on mounds or to brake branches of trees growing on mounds. They could also be great places of inspiration. There is a story in Flateyjarbok of a poet who gained his inspiration after sleeping on the mound of a dead poet, who appeared in a dream to teach poetry (10).

The Hollow Hills

In Irish tradition the barrows where the ‘hollow hills’ and where the handy work of the Sidhe, and mortals could enter faerie land via the barrow. The links between barrows and faerie folk is a wide ranging and strongly held belief amongst most European cultures. Different cultures ascribe different beings to barrows and mounds. To the Norwegians they were called Thusser, the Finnish they were called Maanvaki and to the Swedish they were known as Pysslinger-Folk.

They are either portrayed as small ugly folk or beautiful, tall and thin.

Barrow-Wight Lord

Barrow-Wight Lord

Pic: Simobaro

For those wishing to communicate with the dead, barrows where the ideal place to venture. In the story of ‘Waking of Angantyr’ in the Elder Edda, the story describes Hervor going a barrow when it was gaping open and wreathed with supernatural flame. There she confronted her dead father and requested his sword Tyrfing which had been forged by the dwarf Dvalin. Despite his warnings Hervor is finally given the sword for her show of courage (11).

This cross over between barrows as entrances to the realm of faerie and the dead is a curious one, which seems to indicate a strong link between faeries and the dead, even that in certain circumstances the dead become faeries as an evolutionary cycle (12). Barrows certainly played an important role in the life of early farming communities. Built to endure the harsh elements , our best examples of trying to understand the relationship between life and death, things temporal and spiritual, lies in Orkney, for there seems to be strong archaeological evidence that tombs were considered to be houses of the dead, their design mirroring that of the houses of the living. Although we cannot say for certain, I believe that these tombs to the ancestors were visited by the family and community in a similar way that Victorian families used to visit places like Highgate Cemetery in London and hold picnics in the tombs of beloved family members. Echoes, albeit very faint, of something far older may exist at places like Fortingall, Tayside, where every Samhain a bonfire was lit on the Bronze Age barrow called Carn nam Marbh (Mound of the Dead).

Undiscovered Country

Near Mold in Clwyd there was a tumulus known as Bryn-yr-ellylon, ‘the hill of the fairies’. Legends grew up around this burial mound concerning a warrior figure dressed in gold armour that several local people claimed to have seen over the years. In 1833 workmen clearing the tumulus came across the skeleton of a tall man laid out and wearing an impressive gold collar (13). A similar story concerns Rillaton Barrow, Linkinhorne, Cornwall. Traditions tell of a Druid who lived in the barrow on Bodmin Moor, who offered passing hunters a drink from his golden cup. One day a hunter came along who vowed to drink the cup dry. When he couldn’t he galloped off on his horse still clutching the cup, but his horse fell, and both were killed. He was buried on the spot. When the round barrow was opened in 1818 it was found to contain a gold cup (14). Both the cup and the collar are now in the British Museum. A similar story has only recently come to light concerning the well known discovery of the Anglo-Saxon royal burial at Sutton Hoo (15). Since at least the Anglo-Saxon period barrows have also been seen as the repositories of great treasures, often guarded by a dragon (16). As fearful as dragons appeared, the lure of wealth was too great, and unfortunately countless barrows were ransacked, any treasures they may have held lost forever.

Of things undreamed of…

Despite the discovery of human remains in many barrows, it would be an over simplification to see them simply as burial houses. As Danny Sullivan, editor of The Ley Hunter writes concerning Long Barrows ” It is likely that the latest of them were shrines rather than cemeteries, places from which the bones of ancestors were removed for the rituals of the living” (17). The practices of the Kogi Indian shamans may give us some interesting insights into ancient barrow rituals. Would-be shamans are incarcerated in a cave from infancy, not being allowed to venture outside for several years. When the shaman is finally let out, he can ‘see’ the spirits of the landscape. Could barrows have been utilised for similar activities ? Animal bones have been found in barrows such as Hetty Pegler’s Tump (Uley tumulus) in Gloucestershire, where the jaw bones of wild boars have been discovered, leading to speculation that the animal was used as a family totem, a psychopomp, bridging the gap between the worlds (18). A similar explanation may explain the mysterious arrangement of three ox skulls along the axis of the Beckhampton long barrow, West of Avebury.

An often neglected aspect of barrows are ‘blocking stones’, physical barriers across the entrances to barrows but which do not prevent physical access to them. Two examples can be seen at Wayland’s Smithy in Oxfordshire and West Kennet in Wiltshire. What could be the purpose of these ‘blocking stones’ ? With the current paradigm in ley research links leys with ‘spirit paths’, and leading earth mysteries researchers Paul Devereux and Nigel Pennick have theorised that ‘blocking stones’ may have been erected to act as ‘spirit traps’, preventing spirits from entering or leaving the tomb (19).
Blocking Stones at Wayland's Smithy

Blocking Stones at Wayland’s Smithy

Pic: digitaura

Russian shaman and physicist Evgeny Faidish also links ‘spirits’ with landscape features such as barrows. During his work with the nomadic Khanty tribe of Siberia, Faidish enquired of the tribal shamans why ‘spirits’ favoured certain landscapes. He was told that they like porous soil, which helps to preserve and accumulate energy. The organic nature of such soils means that they used to be composed of living organisms which release energy which accumulates in the soil and which in turn feeds the ‘spirits’ (20) .

It has been pointed out by several earth mysteries researchers that the design of barrows, alternating layers of organic and inorganic material is very similar to the construction of an orgone accumulator, a device created by Wilhelm Reich to focus the amount of natural orgone or ‘life force’. Reich used his accumulators as a healing device. The relationship between healing and natural sites is an intriguing aspect, as it seems that certain sites emit an increased natural radioactivity which can bring on a feeling of drowsiness. Recent research work into ancient sites seems to show that natural earth radiation can bring about an Altered State of Consciousness (ASC) which may affect the bodies natural healing process This may sound strange but at the beginning of this century, radioactive caves in Colorado were used for health visits by some Americans in the same way that some people visit spas. Wells such as Sancreed in Cornwall have so far been proposed as dreaming/healing sites along with the Roman site of Lydney in Gloucestershire, and as we have already seen from Flateyjarbok barrows were seen as valid places to gain inspiration, could they also have been used as healing sites ? (21). And if they were used for healing, then maybe they were used for other things.

Vocal Frequencies on the Stones

Vocal Frequencies on the Stones at Wayland’s Smithy

Pic: FlickrDelusions

Recent research work at Wayland’s Smithy and other tumuli by Paul Devereux, Professor Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunne appears to suggest that such sites may have been deliberately designed for particular acoustic properties. In particular, the natural resonant frequencies of such sites were all within the human vocal range, and the chambers could thus act to amplify any pronouncements or chanting made from inside (22) . Recent visitors to Fourknocks passage tomb in Ireland noticed the rock art which forms an ‘undulating line’ running around the interior of the tomb. They decided to try an experiment, and chant, using the line of the rock art as a musical notation. One of the group reported afterwards: “A bright light appeared from the stones, ran around the top of them, and then rose upwards and disappeared”(23). This is not a one off experience, as similar experiences have been reported at various chambered tombs around the country (24). The archaeologist Aubrey Burl draws an evocative picture when he writes about a possible neolithic barrow ritual: ” Incantations may have been uttered around the skulls of totem animals before the bones and broken objects were deposited in the mortuary house, and then bonfires and feasts followed with the recitation of ancestral myths… .” (25)

It is not just Earth Mysteries researchers and Pagans who suggest that barrows were not simply used for burials as a recent article in the prestigious journal of the Prehistoric Society also makes the same point (26). Some academics have also been intrigued by the possible ‘ritual’ aspect of burial tombs, and at such places as Newgrange, its rock art has already been shown to embody ‘entoptic’ motifs which suggest they were produced by people familiar with ‘Altered States of Consciousness’ (ASC) (27). Even the very layout of some passage tombs may have been deliberately designed to match the ‘tunnel’ effect so often reported in Near Death Experiences (NDEs) (28). Respected Earth Mysteries researcher Phil Quinn has also noticed that a large proportion of Long Barrows are situated on or near earth faults (29). Paul Devereux has also amassed some impressive data that suggests that rocks undergoing stress, such in areas as earth faults, can induce light phenomena and ASCs (30). Could it be that the would-be initiate had to undergo a symbolic death and then rebirth from the Earth Goddess, having communed with the ancestral spirits, with a little help from the naturally consciousness altering geology ? A friend recently told me of a visit some years ago to a burial tomb in Jersey where he took some photographs. Upon looking at them later he noticed what appeared to be faces on the interior walls of the tomb. In ancient times would this ‘simulacra’ have been enhanced to the would-be initiate, expectant of contact with his ancestors and possibly even high on hallucagenics ?

Barrows are a rich source of knowledge for those with the wisdom to listen, and the urge to learn. And please remember, it isn’t just tourists and road builders who damage ancient sites, recent ‘pagan’ activity at West Kennet Long Barrow is caused by a mindless minority, but it affects the responsible majority.*

“… all is blank before us,

All waits undream’d of in that region…”

Walt Whitman

References:

(1) Ancient Burial-Mounds of England – Leslie V. Grinsell (Greenwood Press 1975)

(2) Collins Field Guide to Archaeology – Eric S. Wood (Collins 1968)

(3) The Avebury Cycle – Michael Dames (Thames & Hudson 1977)

(4) Cyriax, T. in Archaeological Journal (1921 Vol.28)

(5) Earth Mysteries – Michael Howard (Hale 1990)

(6) The Mabinogion – Gwyn Jones & Thomas Jones (Everyman 1991)

(7) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Penguin 1959)

(8) Gawain, The Green Knight and the Otherworld Journey – Rowan (White Dragon No.9 Samhain 1995)

(9) Robert Kirk: Walker Between the Worlds – R.J.Stewart (Element Books 1990)

(10) Gods and Myths of Northern Europe – H.R.Ellis Davidson (Penguin 1964)

(11) The Elder Edda – Transl. Paul Taylor & W.H.Auden (Faber 1969)

(12) Call of the Horned Piper – Nigel Aldcroft Jackson (Capall Bann 1994)

(13) English Myths and Traditions – Henry Bett (Publisher unknown 1953)

(14) Albion: A Guide to Legendary Britain – Jennifer Westwood (Paladin 1987)

(15) Strange But True (BBC TV 1996). For details of the archaeology of the ship-burial see The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial – R. Bruce-Mitford (British Museum 1972)

(16) The Hill of the Dragon: Anglo-Saxon burial mounds in literature & Archaeology – H.R.E.Davidson (Folk-lore LXI 1950)

(17) Shamanic Gateways to the Otherworld? – Danny Sullivan (Gloucestershire Earth Mysteries No.17)

(18) Ancient & Sacred Sites of the Cotswolds – Danny Sullivan & Jo-Anne Wilder (GEM Publications 1996)

(19) Lines on the Landscape – Paul Devereux & Nigel Pennick (Hale 1989)

(20) Siberia: Land of Shamans – Evgeny Faidish (Inward Path 2/92)

(21) Dream Incubation – Bob Trubshaw (Mercian Mysteries No.23 May 1995)

(22) The Old Stones Speak – Robert G.Jahn (The Ley Hunter No.123, Summer 1995)

(23) Touchstone No. 45 (July 1996)

(24) Places of Power – Paul Devereux (Blandford 1990)

(25) Rites of the Gods – Aubrey Burl (Dent & Sons 1981)

(26) Food for the living: a reassessment of a Bronze Age barrow at Buckskin, Hampshire – M.J. Allen (Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society Vol.61 1995)

(27) Entering alternative realities: cognition, art and architecture in Irish passage-tombs – J. Dronfield (Cambridge Archaeological Journal Vol. 6 No. 1 1996)

(28) Precognitive and prophetic visions in near-death experiences – Prof. K. Ring (Anabiosis: Journal for Near-Death Studies Vol. 2 No. 11 1982)

(29) To A Fault – Phil Quinn (Readers Forum The Ley Hunter 120)

(30) Earth Lights Revalation – Paul Devereux (Blandford 1989)

* Save Our Sacred Sites can be contacted at: 9 Edward Kennedy House, Wornington Road, London, W10 5FP. Please enclose a SAE.

The original article can be found at the White Dragon.

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You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Description Page.

 

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You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Handster at http://www.handster.com/celtic_myth.html or by using the QR code opposite. It’s also found on the Opera Marketplace in the US.

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Windows 8 Phone App

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Originally posted 2013-09-24 11:12:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 25 2014

Irish Heritage Survey results


The Mound of Hostages
Pic: Dunechaser
The Irish people have just undertaken a survey whose results were released to coincide with National Heritage week. The results are somewhat surprising. Chief among the Irish heritage locations and landmarks respondents were most embarrassed at not having yet visited was the Hill of Tara. Listeners to our stories know how central and important the Hill of Tara is to the Heritage of the Irish Celts. The three most important sites voted for were Newgrange, the Burren and Glendalough in Co. Wicklow.

The Irish Times

The Irish Times – Friday, August 26, 2011, reported:

The three most popular heritage sites are Newgrange Co Meath, the Burren in Co Clare and Glendalough in Co Wicklow.
That is according to a new survey released to coincide with National Heritage week.
However, while 450 of the 600 people interviewed claimed heritage was important for tourism, many respondents expressed some shame at not having visited popular sites.
Chief among the Irish heritage locations and landmarks respondents were most embarrassed at not having yet visited was the Hill of Tara. In second place was the Rock of Cashel and in third position came Newgrange.

When asked to choose the heritage property that most closely depicts Ireland’s history, participants chose round towers and monastic locations as the structure most in fitting with Ireland’s rich historical past. Ancient settlement sites ran a close second.
However, more than one-third of respondents (37 per cent) were unable to say whether sufficient efforts were being made to protect sites and properties.
Almost the same percentage of respondents believed more could be done (36.8 per cent) to preserve our properties. Meanwhile, the remainder, 26.2 per cent, believed that enough was being done to maintain heritage landmarks. In order of historical importance as deemed by respondents, the GPO was the only 20th century site mentioned, and came in in second place. Newgrange was top.
The survey was commissioned by Keane public relations, acting for the Ecclesiastical insurance company to mark heritage week. Ecclesiastical donates a significant proportion of its profits to charity.

The Irish Times 

The Irish Examiner

Fergus Black, in the Irish Examiner, repiorted that:

IT is 5,000 years old, famously sees the light once every year, and has now been voted Ireland’s top heritage site and most important historical landmark.
The Neolithic passage tomb in Newgrange — lit up by the winter solstice sunrise in December — has been crowned the nation’s favourite, knocking the iconic GPO in Dublin and the Burren in Co Clare off the top spots for the most historically important and favourite heritage site in the country.

The Entrance at Newgrange
Pic: Kevin Lawver

Yet despite its ‘top of the spots’ popularity, almost one in ten people say the Meath attraction is the one that they are most embarrassed to admit having not yet visited.
Kerry is also given the thumbs up, topping the public’s preference as the most scenic county with just one eastern county, Wicklow, featuring among the country’s top six county beauty spots.
The findings are revealed in a nationwide survey which shows that three out of four people believe our heritage is vital to Irish tourism. More than 600 adults were polled as part of a nationwide survey by the Ecclesiastical insurance company to assess the public’s views on Irish heritage. Up to last week, the most up- to-date figures show there were more than 157,000 visitors to Newgrange, its visitor centre and to the nearby megalithic site of Knowth.
The Office of Public Works which manages Newgrange and other heritage sites said that last year’s ash cloud disruption had adversely affected visitor numbers across many attractions but this year’s figures were well up and had been boosted by the “free first Wednesday” initiative at many of its sites.
According to the survey, Newgrange headed the top 10 list as Ireland’s favourite heritage site ahead of the Burren, Glendalough and the Cliffs of Moher. It was also voted number one favourite heritage structure over such landmarks as the Rock of Cashel, — visited by Queen Elizabeth during her recent trip — Dublin Castle, Trinity College and the GPO.
Embarrassed
And it came out on top again in the favourite historical site category, beating the GPO and Hill of Tara.
Despite its apparent popularity however, Newgrange is ranked third of the top ten Irish heritage sites and landmarks people are most embarrassed at having not yet visited.
The Hill of Tara tops the list with one in eight of those surveyed saying they were most embarrassed about not having visited it yet, followed by the Rock of Cashel (9.93pc) and Newgrange (9.30pc).
While almost three in every four people believe heritage is critically important to Irish tourism, the survey also revealed that more than a third were not satisfied with the level of work being done to preserve heritage sites and a similar number were unaware of the work being done to preserve them.
Irish Independent

Read more:

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/newgrange-tops-heritage-site-poll-165466.html#ixzz1W7TOn3qU

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/newgrange-tops-heritage-site-poll-165466.html

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You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Descripition Page.


You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Appbrain at http://www.appbrain.com/app/celtic-myth-show/tv.wizzard.android.celticmythpodshow841 or by using the QR code opposite.

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Originally posted 2011-10-22 08:46:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

Thornborough Henges: How YOU can help preserve them in with a few words

Thornborough Henges, North Yorkshire.Pic :Jane Tomlinson, Heritage Action  The Heritage Trust Blog reports : CAMPAIGNERS say allowing people access to a set of ancient monuments in North Yorkshire whose importance is said to rival Stonehenge is crucial to safeguarding their future. The Thornborough Heritage Trust has been set up to protect and raise awareness of the six “henges” and other Neolithic and Bronze Age sites on fields between Bedale and Ripon, with one of its first  objectives being to open them up to visitors.Dr Jan Harding, one of the trust’s founders and a senior archaeology lecturer at Newcastle University, said::

Despite being of unique cultural value and being described by English Heritage as the most important prehistoric site between Stonehenge and the Orkneys, it is closed to visitors, lacks educational information and sits in an extensively quarried landscape. At the moment, there isn’t even a display board. Getting some kind of formal access for the public is vital.”

It’s a while since we at Heritage Action went there (as part of our campaign against Tarmac PLC’s application to quarry its surroundings) but we do recall it was very visitor-unfriendly with no signage, parking or access. We also remember two more things that might be helpful:

In 2006 (while Tarmac was trying to get permission to extend their quarry) the landowner announced he wanted to make the monument into a tourist attraction with a car park and visitor centre and Tarmac were supportive:

 “We see no conflict in principle between tourists visiting the henges and continuation of our quarry at Nosterfield with the useful employment it provides. [Nidderdale Today, March 2006]

And earlier, in 2005, Tarmac offered to give 60 acres of land next to the Henges to a charitable trust on behalf of the Nation to protect it for all time from further exploitation, saying (in the words of their Area Director, Simon Phillips):

“The preservation of the henges is vitally important to us all, and we look forward to working with English Heritage and North Yorkshire County Council to develop this charitable trust.” [Ripon Today, June 2005]

Ah the benefits of a good memory! That might be the answer. Tarmac were both supportive of tourism and anxious to protect the Henges before they got permission so they’ll hardly be less supportive of tourism or less anxious to protect the Henges now they have got permission will they?  Nor less generous – the gift of the land would have been worth over a third of a million if it had happened would it not? So they’d hardly now refuse to finance some formal access, carparking, the best information boards money can buy and a fund to provide a Rolls Royce interpretation facility in the local village, as befits the most important prehistoric site between Stonehenge and the Orkneys. £350K would cover it splendidly.

Please help by reminding Mr Phillips about what he said (you can contact him via the press relations department of Tarmac pr@tarmac.co.uk and/or their parent company Anglo American james.wyatt-tilby@angloamerican.com  Hopefully he’ll remember, but just point him to this article to make sure. We’re confident both Tarmac and Anglo American, being honorable, honest companies, ever anxious to protect their reputations and help local communities will agree to donate the money without delay.

Source 1

Source 2

You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Description Page.

 

You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Wizzard-Media-Celtic-Myth-Podshow/dp/B004W8QR58 or by using the QR code opposite. Amazon Store QR

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Originally posted 2012-03-03 12:07:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

Celtic Scottish Sweat Lodge/Sauna saved and re-built

Moving Stone at Bressay
Pic: Bronze Age Bressay
News at the Scotsman.com reports that a Bronze Age structure thought to have been used as a sauna has been saved from destruction by the sea after a team of archaeologists moved the entire find to a safer location. The building, which dates from between 1500BC and 1200BC, was unearthed on the Shetland island of Bressay eight years ago. It was found in the heart of the Burnt Mound at Cruester, a Bronze Age site on the coast of Bressay facing Lerwick.

But earlier this summer (2008), because of the increased threat of coastal erosion, local historians joined archaeologists to launch a campaign to save the building and to move it somewhere safer. A third of the mound had already been lost to sea erosion.

The central structure was carefully dismantled and each stone numbered before being moved to a site a mile way next to Bressay Heritage Centre.

And today (23/8/2008), following the completion of the unusual removal scheme, the Bronze Age building will be officially opened at its new location by Tavish Scott, the MSP for Shetland. Douglas Coutts, the project officer with Bressay History Group, said the structure was one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever made in the Northern Isles.

The building was hidden in a mound of burnt stones and is thought to have been used for feasts, baths or even saunas.

The structure comprises a series of dry-stone, walled cells, connected by two corridors. At the end of one corridor is a hearth cell, thought to have been used for heating stones, and at the other end is a tank sunk into the ground which is almost two metres long, more than a metre wide, and half a metre deep.

Burnt Mound at Cruester,  at Bressay
Pic:Bronze Age Bressay

Mr Coutts said:

Burnt mounds don’t usually consist of very much more than a hearth and a tank and a heap of burnt stones. But in Shetland, we seem to have much more complex structures with little rooms or cells leading off from a main passageway which connects the hearth and tank.

He added:

 

We think these cells may have originally been roofed over in a beehive shape. One theory is that these structures may have been used for cooking meat or tanning hides. But it is possible they could have raised steam by heating the water and that these little cells could have been used as saunas.

Tom Dawson, a researcher at St Andrews University who also worked on the removal project, said coastal erosion was threatening thousands of archaeological sites around Scotland.

 

The local group here came up with a novel idea for dealing with the problem. It is great to have had the chance to give new life to this particular site and make it accessible to future generations, while also learning something new, not just about Cruester, but about burnt mounds in general.

This structure is important in world terms. There are thousands of burnt mounds in Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia but only a handful are known to have structures within them.

Mr Scott praised the partnership between the local history group and outside archaeological bodies.

He said:

This exhibition will be a great asset for visitors to Bressay and local people. The more we understand about the past, the better informed we are about the future.

[Source]

Look out tomorrow for more details on how the re-construction of the Burnt Mound is helping Education in 2009.

Originally posted 2009-12-29 08:30:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Aug 11 2014

Archaeologist Tells Of Neolithic Discoveries

breamish-valley
Pic: Uncle Bucko
The Morpeth Herald Tells us:NEW Thoughts on Ancient Northumberland was the title of Paul Frodsham’s lecture at Morpeth Antiquarian Society. Mr Frodsham was the Northumberland National Park archaeologist for 15 years until 2007.

His talk concentrated on a small but incredibly rich area of the Breamish valley on and around Ingram Farm, where amazing archaeology has survived years of agricultural work. Twelve years of research from 1994 revealed evidence of occupation from the Neolithic to the present-day.

The work was done by more than 400 diggers, including staff and students from Durham University, amateurs and professionals from the Northumberland Archaeological Group, and other experts.
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Originally posted 2009-05-15 10:42:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Jul 22 2014

Wild Rabbits lead to massive finds at Land’s End in Cornwall

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<b>Big Heritage at Land's End</b>

Big Heritage at Land’s End

Pic: Falmouth Packet

A day of digging by three expert archaeologists has unearthed more than 60 objects from a one-metre square excavation at Land’s End reports The Falmouth Packet. In February the wild rabbits at Land’s End accidentally uncovered a collection of flint scrapers and arrowheads while burrowing their warrens. This discovery prompted Land’s End to commission a thorough archaeological investigation of their land and now the finds discovered and compiled by Big Heritage UK have revealed some further startling results.

Evidence of an iron-age hill fort, a bronze-age barrow cemetery, a Neolithic passage grave and more, all compiled in the report, has been further compounded by a plethora of ancient objects unearthed in the course of a one day dig at the British landmark.

The Big Heritage team have now found Mesolithic stone hammers, arrow heads, scrapers and waste from a flint tool-making factory during their preliminary one-day excavation at the site.

Dean Paton, lead archaeologist for Big Heritage, said:

We discovered more prehistoric tools in just one square metre of Land’s End than in countless other sites combined. We’ve found about 60 flint tools and two stone hammers and they are stunningly beautiful. I’m lost for words – it almost sounds like something out of an Indiana Jones film.

In the present time, more than 400,000 visitors journey to Land’s End every year and these latest discoveries show people have actually been travelling to the westernmost point of Cornwall for 10,000 years or more.

Alice Reynolds, marketing manager for Land’s End, said:

We are delighted by these latest finds and very grateful to both Big Heritage and the Land’s End bunnies for helping us uncover our ancient history.

Read the full story on the Packet website.

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Jul 10 2014

Doggerland – Britain’s lost ‘Atlantis’ has been found under the waves

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Drowned world: Scans show a mound discovered under the water near Orkney, which has been explored by divers

Drowned world: Scans show a mound discovered under the water near Orkney, which has been explored by divers

Pic: Daily Mail

Divers have found traces of an ancient land swallowed by the waves about 8,500 years ago reported the Daily Mail back in 2012. This land once stretched from Scotland to Denmark and seismic scan have revealed rivers, mountains and the scientists believe Doggerland, as it has become known after the Dogger Bank, had a population of tens of thousands of people and was a home to Mammoths as well as other giant animals. ‘Britain’s Atlantis’ – a hidden underwater world swallowed by the North Sea – has been discovered by divers working with science teams from the University of St Andrews. Doggerland, a huge area of dry land that stretched from Scotland to Denmark was slowly submerged by water between 18,000 BC and 5,500 BC. Divers from oil companies have found remains of a ‘drowned world’ with a population of tens of thousands – which might once have been the ‘real heartland’ of Europe.

A team of climatologists, archaeologists and geophysicists has now mapped the area using new data from oil companies – and revealed the full extent of a ‘lost land’ once roamed by mammoths.

The research suggests that the populations of these drowned lands could have been tens of thousands, living in an area that stretched from Northern Scotland across to Denmark and down the English Channel as far as the Channel Islands. The area was once the ‘real heartland’ of Europe and was hit by ‘a devastating tsunami’, the researchers claim. The wave was part of a larger process that submerged the low-lying area over the course of thousands of years.

Richard Bates of the University of St Andrews said:

‘The name was coined for Dogger Bank, but it applies to any of several periods when the North Sea was land. Around 20,000 years ago, there was a ‘maximum’ – although part of this area would have been covered with ice. When the ice melted, more land was revealed – but the sea level also rose.

Life in 'Doggerland' - the ancient kingdom once stretched from Scotland to Denmark and has been described as the 'real heart of Europe'

Life in ‘Doggerland’ – the ancient kingdom once stretched from Scotland to Denmark and has been described as the ‘real heart of Europe’

Pic: Daily Mail

‘Through a lot of new data from oil and gas companies, we’re able to give form to the landscape – and make sense of the mammoths found out there, and the reindeer. We’re able to understand the types of people who were there.

‘People seem to think rising sea levels are  a new thing – but it’s a cycle of Earth history that has happened many many times.’

Organised by Dr Richard Bates of the Department of Earth Sciences at St Andrews, the Drowned Landscapes exhibit reveals the human story behind Doggerland, a now submerged area of the North Sea that was once larger than many modern European countries.

‘We have now been able to model its flora and fauna, build up a picture of the ancient people that lived there and begin to understand some of the dramatic events that subsequently changed the land, including the sea rising and a devastating tsunami.’

The research project is a collaboration between St Andrews and the Universities of Aberdeen, Birmingham, Dundee and Wales Trinity St David. Rediscovering the land through pioneering scientific research, the research reveals a story of a dramatic past that featured massive climate change. The public exhibit brings back to life the Mesolithic populations of Doggerland through artefacts discovered deep within the sea bed.

A visualisation of how life in the now-submerged areas of Dogger Bank might have looked

A visualisation of how life in the now-submerged areas of Dogger Bank might have looked

Pic: Daily Mail

The research, a result of a painstaking 15 years of fieldwork around the murky waters of the UK, is one of the highlights of the London event.

The interactive display examines the lost landscape of Doggerland and includes artefacts from various times represented by the exhibit – from pieces of flint used by humans as tools to the animals that also inhabited these lands.

Using a combination of geophysical modelling of data obtained from oil and gas companies and direct evidence from material recovered from the seafloor, the research team was able to build up a reconstruction of the lost land.

The findings suggest a picture of a land with hills and valleys, large swamps and lakes with major rivers dissecting a convoluted coastline.

As the sea rose the hills would have become an isolated archipelago of low islands. By examining the fossil record – such as pollen grains, microfauna and macrofauna – the researchers can tell what kind of vegetation grew in Doggerland and what animals roamed there.

Using this information, they were able to build up a model of the ‘carrying capacity’ of the land and work out roughly how many humans could have lived there. The research team is currently investigating more evidence of human behaviour, including possible human burial sites, intriguing standing stones and a mass mammoth grave.

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2167731/Britains-Atlantis-North-sea–huge-undersea-kingdom-swamped-tsunami-5-500-years-ago.html#ixzz374DGxUiM
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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Apr 07 2014

Neolithic warfare: new research

arrowheads-co
Pic: Archaeology.co.uk
Archaeology.co.uk reports that the perception that much of prehistory was relatively peaceful is changing. New research has identified evidence of violent assault in the Neolithic. What does this tell us about Stone Age life as a whole? Forensic archaeologist Martin Smith explains.

Whilst many Neolithic burials have been excavated during the last 150 years, they have received only limited study. Modern analysis of these remains by osteo-archaeologists is revealing shocking evidence for violent assaults involving clubs, axes, and arrowshot about 5,500 years ago.

Recent years have seen growing interest in conflict archaeology. Warfare has gone from being a subject rarely mentioned by archaeologists to one that is widely debated. Current  world events may have something to do with this, but it is also linked to advances in our ability to recognise evidence of violence, and a drive towards new theoretical approaches for making sense of it. Most research of this kind has usually been concerned with more recent periods, but lately consideration is also being given to prehistory. In particular, we now have a growing body of evidence for aggression between groups and individuals during the Neolithic, most of which comes in the form of skeletal injuries. The fact that acts of violence sometimes occurred in this period now seems indisputable. However, assessing what this tells us about Neolithic life as a whole is harder.

Read the full article at archaeology.co.uk

Originally posted 2009-04-25 09:58:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Apr 01 2014

Prehistoric Scotland had links to lands overseas

Upper Largie Footed Food Vessel
Upper Largie Footed Food Vessel
Pic: Culture 24
Back in February 2008, Culture 24 reported on a discovery made in Upper Largie which provided exciting evidence of 4,000 year-old links between prehistoric Scotland and the Netherlands. Upper Largie is near Kilmartin in Argyll and Bute and the original excavations took place in 2005.

Analysis of the pots by Alison Sheridan, of National Museums Scotland, has revealed early international-style Beakers of the type found around the lower Rhine, which is the modern-day Netherlands and a strange hybrid of styles that suggest Irish and Yorkshire influences.

These finds are very rare.

said Martin Cook, the AOC Archaeology Project Officer, who oversaw the excavations in 2005.

I think there are three or four other examples that early in Scotland. We initially didn’t realise how unusual they were, as it is so unusual to find three beaker ceramic vessels in the same feature.

The actual structure was very unusual, there’s only been one other grave excavated like that in Scotland – you just don’t get features like that generally.

The excavations revealed two graves within a complex Neolithic and Bronze Age ritual landscape composed of monuments including an Early Neolithic cursus (long earthwork) and an Early Bronze Age timber circle.

The grave is so early and the style of ceramic is so rare for this period that it’s either an immigrant or a first or second generation descendant who still knows these techniques. The pots are made from local material which certainly suggests an immigrant or a second generation person.

Travel at this time would have been difficult with few established tracks and thick forests covering much of the British Isles – much of it populated by some dangerous wild animals. Seaward travel to or from Yorkshire and Ireland to pick up these influences would have been the slightly easier option.

I think it just re-emphasises the importance of Kilmartin as a centre during this time.

added Martin.

For more information about the work of AOC Archeology Group, see www.aocarchaeology.com

To read the full article, please go to Culture 24.

Originally posted 2009-12-23 08:24:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Feb 14 2014

‘Welsh Stonehenge’ Halted Work on Windfarm

Windfarm in Wales was expected to generate electricity for 23,800 households

Windfarm in Wales was expected to generate electricity for 23,800 households

Pic: International Business Times

A multimillion pound windfarm was potentially scrapped after a Stone Age monument was spotted on the site using Google Earth. Work to install the 15 wind turbines had already began after experts said they were unable to find anything of historical interest on the mountaintop in Carmarthenshire, Wales. But a weekend rambler stumbled upon a row of stones while trekking across the site on the mountain and realised they were of historical interest reported the International Business Times in 2012.

Archaeologists were called in and discovered the stones on Mynydd Y Betws were between 3,500 and 5,000 years old and could have been part of an ancient site of worship. Mynydd y Betws is a mountain located on the border between Swansea and Carmarthenshire, south Wales.

It is the highest mountain in Swansea, and the highest land between the River Loughor and the Upper Clydach River. A small road between Ammanford and Clydach passes very close to the summit, on which are located the historic ruins of Penlle’r Castell. Penlle’r Castell is an historic ruin on the summit of Mynydd y Betws in the far north of the City and County of Swansea. The Penlle’r Castell site was probably a late 13th-century stronghold garrisoned by one of the Marcher Lords.
Penlle'r Castell, Cwm-gors, 1988

Penlle’r Castell, Cwm-gors, 1988

Pic: Cysglu’r Tlysau

Prehistoric burial cairn and wind turbine on Bancbryn, Mynydd y Betws

Prehistoric burial cairn and wind turbine on Bancbryn, Mynydd y Betws

Pic: Sandy Gerard

Using Google Earth to plot the line of stones, experts claim the 1,600 ft-long monuments could be “almost as important as Stonehenge”, freelance archaeologist Helen Gerrard told the Daily Mail. Cambrian Renewable Energy, which was building the turbines, was working with the Welsh heritage organisation Cadw to assess whether the stones were used as part of a Stone Age monument. The British Archaeological Trust was demanding a full archaeological survey of the mountain. The image to the left shows a Bronze Age cairn and brand new wind turbine neighbour. The cairn forms part of a scheduled ancient monument within a prehistoric sacred landscape.

The wind farm consists of 15 turbines with an installed capacity of 34.5MW. Producing enough electricity annually to power on average 23,800 households and saving over 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over the lifetime of the project, the output from Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm is equivalent to almost one third of the domestic consumption in Carmarthenshire.

Although this windfarm project went through and is providing much needed energy to the Welsh community, we have to question the wisdom on its siting as well as the sad disregard for the calls from organisations like the British Archaeological Trust to obtain a full archaeological survey of Mynydd y Betws.

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