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Archive for March, 2010

Abbey Road Studios Celebrated With Grade II Listing For ‘Outstanding Cultural Significance’

Iconic Studios Listed on Advice of English Heritage

English Heritage is delighted that the Abbey Road Studios have today (23 February 2010) been recognised by grade ll listing.  In 2003, English Heritage advised ministers that the building possessed huge cultural importance and a remarkable and inspiring association with music making and should be listed in recognition of this unique special interest. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has now endorsed that advice and listed the building.

Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage said:  “Some of the most defining sounds of the 20th century were created within the walls of the Abbey Road Studios.  English Heritage has long recognised the cultural importance of Abbey Road – it contains, quite simply, the most famous recording studios in the world which act as a modern day monument to the history of recorded sound and music.  The listing of the building is a welcome acknowledgement of the contribution the studios have made to our musical heritage, and we hope that in some form, they can continue to play a role in inspiring the musicians of the future”.

Listing is a way of saying that a building is special and that every care should be afforded to decisions affecting its future.  English Heritage warmly welcome EMI’s appreciation for the cultural value embodied in the building and their understanding that listing is an appropriate way to recognise that value.

Nicholas – Tour Guide
HISTOURIES UK

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Back Roads Touring
Back Roads Touring
Tour Britain with your own expert guide and small vehicle. We can use the country lanes to get you off the ‘beaten track’ and explore a side of England that only we can show you.

Big coach tour operators can only use the motorways (highways) and have many restrictions throughout the day or days.  Most London coach companies spend almost 2 hours collecting people from various hotels and then drop you at Victoria station to finaly start your day. 
All the coach companies also travel in convoy so they all arrive at the same attraction at the same time – it can be chaos and quite an unpleasent experience.  The BIG coach tours will allow just 30 minutes at Stonehenge, 1 hour at Bath, 45 minutes at Oxford etc etc.  Not even time to wipe your nose let alone explore and take photos.  Needless to say you will never be allowed to stop for a photo or an unscheduled toilet stop.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!!

From my experience its a false econmomy choosing a big coach tour over a private bespoke tour.  If you want to visit multiple attractions in one day (tick um off your list and get the t-shirt) spend a mimimal amount of time there and have a totally un-personal experience then this is for you.  If not then please, please, please consider organising a private tour and see the real Britain v ia the small country back roads.  It can ofeten work out cheaper than 3 or 4 tickets on a big (60 seater) coach.

Stii not convinced ?

The extra time on our private tours mean that in addition to famous attractions we can take you away from the normal overcrowded and commercialised tourist traps. Let us show you scenic villages that you may not have heard but definitely will not want to miss.

Litter, traffic congestion and noise pollution are just three of the problems contributed to by the large coach operators – why would you want to be a part of this?

Smaller groups leave fewer footprints. Our tours are environmentally more friendly and less disruptive to local communities meaning we will be welcome for years to come.

Large coaches are restricted to using the highways – and a highway in England is pretty much like a highway anywhere in the world.

With a group size of 60 passengers bear in mind how long it takes just to get on and off the coach – this invariably eats into your sightseeing time.

Larger coach companies can spend up to 9 hours of your tour on the road meaning you have an average of only 30 minutes at the attractions.

Explore the Real Britain with HisTOURies UK Trips

Simon – British Tour Guide
HISTOURIES – Back Roads Tours

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The British Isles have been populated by human beings for hundreds of thousands of years, but it was the introduction of farming around 7,000 years ago that began a process of radical change.

The dawn of farming

Human beings have been living in the part of northern Europe that is today called Britain for about 750,000 years. For most of that time, they subsisted by gathering food like nuts, berries, leaves and fruit from wild sources, and by hunting.

Over the millennia there were phases of extreme cold, when large areas of Britain were covered in ice, followed by warmer times. Around 10,000 years ago, the latest ice age came to an end. Sea levels rose as the ice sheets melted, and Britain became separated from the European mainland shortly before 6000 BC.

The introduction of farming was one of the biggest changes in human history.

The people living on the new islands of Britain were descendants of the first modern humans, or Homo sapiens, who arrived in northern Europe around 30,000 – 40,000 years ago. Like their early ancestors they lived by hunting and gathering.

The introduction of farming, when people learned how to produce rather than acquire their food, is widely regarded as one of the biggest changes in human history.

This change happened at various times in several different places around the world. The concept of farming that reached Britain between about 5000 BC and 4500 BC had spread across Europe from origins in Syria and Iraq between about 11000 BC and 9000 BC.

Neolithic revolution?

The change from a hunter-gatherer to a farming way of life is what defines the start of the Neolithic or New Stone Age. In Britain the preceding period of the last, post-glacial hunter-gatherer societies is known as the Mesolithic, or Middle Stone Age.

It used to be believed that the introduction of farming into Britain was the result of a huge migration or folk-movement from across the Channel. Today, studies of DNA suggest that the influx of new people was probably quite small – somewhere around 20% of the total population were newcomers.

Farming took 2,000 years to spread across the British Isles.

So the majority of early farmers were probably Mesolithic people who adopted the new way of life and took it with them to other parts of Britain. This was not a rapid change – farming took about 2,000 years to spread across all parts of the British Isles.

Traditionally the arrival of farming is seen as a major and rapid change sometimes called the ‘Neolithic revolution’. Today, largely thanks to radiocarbon dates, we can appreciate that the transition from hunter-gatherer to farmer was relatively gradual.

We know, for example, that hunters in the Mesolithic ‘managed’ or tended their quarry. They would make clearings in woodland around sources of drinking water, and probably made efforts to see that the herds of deer and other animals they hunted were not over-exploited.

The switch from managed hunting to pastoral farming was not a big change. The first farmers brought the ancestors of cattle, sheep and goats with them from the continent. Domestic pigs were bred from wild boar, which lived in the woods of Britain.

Neolithic farmers also kept domesticated dogs, which were bred from wolves. It is probable that the earliest domesticated livestock were allowed to wander, maybe tended by a few herders.

Sheep, goats and cattle are fond of leaves and bark, and pigs snuffle around roots. These domestic animals may have played a major role in clearing away the huge areas of dense forest that covered most of lowland Britain.

Burial and belief

Stonehenge stone circle, near Amesbury, Wiltshire Stonehenge stone circle, near Amesbury, Wiltshire  ©

Neolithic farmers also brought with them the first seed grains of wheat and barley, which had been bred many millennia earlier from wild grasses that grew in region of modern-day Iraq.

Initially, cereals were probably grown in garden plots near people’s houses. Once harvested, the grain needed to be stored and protected from natural pests and from raiding parties.

This tended to encourage a more settled way of life than that of the Mesolithic communities, who would move around the country on a seasonal pattern, following the animals, birds and fish they hunted.

The ‘henge’ monuments, like Stonehenge, incorporate lunar and solar alignments.

In many cases the earliest Neolithic sites (approx 4000 – 5000 BC) occur alongside late Mesolithic settlements, or in areas that we know were important in post-glacial times.

From the start of the fourth millennium BC (about 3800 BC), we see a move into new areas that had not been settled or exploited previously.

This period, sometimes referred to as the Middle Neolithic, also witnesses the appearance of the first large communal tombs, known as long barrows, or mounds, and the earliest ceremonial monuments, known as ’causewayed’ enclosures.

Here people from communities in a particular region would gather together, probably at regular intervals, to socialise, to meet new partners, to acquire fresh livestock and to exchange ceremonial gifts.

During these ceremonies, rituals took place which often involved the burial of significant items, such as finely-polished stone axeheads, complete pottery vessels, or human skulls.

Some of the great ceremonial monuments of the Middle Neolithic, such as the so-called ‘passage’ graves, were aligned according to the position of the sun during the winter or summer solstice.

The long passage of a passage grave could be carefully positioned to allow the sun on the shortest few days of the year to shine directly into the central burial chamber. Passage graves were also constructed to provide good acoustics, and it seems most probable that they were the scenes of ritual or religious theatrical performances.

The so-called ‘henge’ monuments, like the famous Stonehenge, seem to have developed out of the causewayed enclosures from around 3000 BC.

They also incorporate lunar and solar alignments which are seen as a means of uniting the physical and social structures of human societies with the powers of the natural world.

The Bronze Age

Neolithic houses were usually rectangular thatched buildings made from timber with walls of wattle (woven hazel rods) smeared with a plaster-like ‘daub’ (made from clay, straw and cow dung).

Some of the larger buildings were the size and shape of a Saxon hall and may well have been communal. Most others were smaller and would have been adequate for a family of six to ten people.

The appearance of metal marks an important technological development, especially in the control of fire.

Neolithic houses are far more commonly found in Scotland and Ireland than in England or Wales, where communities may have retained a more mobile pattern of life, involving fewer permanent buildings.

The first bronzes appear in Britain in the centuries just before 2500 BC, which is the usually accepted start date for the Bronze Age.

On the European mainland the arrival of bronze was preceded by copper tools of the Chalcolithic or Copper Age, but in Britain tin and copper appear at about the same time as bronze.

Although the appearance of metal marks an important technological development, especially in the control of fire, it does not seem to bring a big change in the way that people lived their lives in the Early Bronze Age.

Henges, for example, continue in use, but the larger communal tombs, such as long barrows and passage graves, are replaced by smaller round barrows.

Many of these contain an initial or ‘primary’ burial, often of an important man or woman, who may be buried with distinctive and highly decorated pottery known as ‘Beakers’, together with bronze or tin metalwork such as daggers or axes. Sometimes fine goldwork rings, bracelets and earrings adorned the bodies.

In many instances the round barrows of the Early Bronze Age (2500-1500 BC) continue in use, as smaller or ‘satellite’ burials and cremations are dug into the main primary mound.

These places were clearly important gathering places for people and they were often carefully placed in the landscape either to be seen over a large area, or to mark the beginning or end or a community’s land-holding or territory.

Houses in the Early Bronze Age were usually round with a conical roof and a single entrance.

Accelerated change

The Ringlemere gold cup, found in Ringlemere, Kent The Ringlemere gold cup, found in Ringlemere, Kent  ©

The Middle Bronze Age (1500 – 1250 BC) marks an important period of change, growth and probably of population expansion too. There was a fundamental shift in burial practice away from barrow burial, towards cremation in large open cemeteries where ashes were placed in specially-prepared pottery urns.

Settlements consisted of round houses which were often grouped together, possibly for defence, but possibly too because people preferred to live near one another.

During this period we find an increasing number of metalwork hoards, where dozens, sometimes hundreds of spearheads, axes and daggers were placed in the ground – often in a wet or boggy place, a practice that would continue right through the Iron Age.

The Late Bronze Age saw the start of the so-called ‘Celtic’ way of life.

Certain hoards found in south western Britain contained large numbers of fancy bronze ornaments, such as elaborate dress-fasteners, rings, pins, brooches and bracelets.

The Middle Bronze Age also sees the first field systems in Britain, indicating growing pressure on the land as the numbers of people and animals increased.

The Late Bronze Age (1250-800 BC) is marked by the arrival of new styles of metalwork and pottery, but otherwise life continued much as before. Horse-riding became more popular and Late Bronze Age swords were designed as slashing weapons – resembling the cavalry cutlass.

Houses were still round, a pattern that would continue into the Iron Age, but a number of large hall-like rectangular houses are also known.

The field systems of the Middle Bronze Age continued in use and were enlarged. In the uplands of Britain the Late Bronze Age saw the first construction of a few hillforts and the start of the so-called ‘Celtic’ way of life.

Pat – Salisbury Tours
HISTOURIES – The Best Tours in British History

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The team which discovered the site of a second stone circle, 500 years older than the nearby Stonehenge has won a prestigious archaeology award.

professor Thomas (right) with the co-Directors of the Stonehenge project <!–

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The sensational discovery of a 5000 year-old “Blue Stonehenge” was made by a team led by archaeologists from Manchester, Sheffield and Bristol Universities on the West bank of the River Avon last year.

The Stonehenge Riverside Project – as they are known – won the Research Project of the Year award at the Current Archaeology awards held at the British Museum.

The Stonehenge Riverside Project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Royal Archaeological Institute.

The award was given following an online vote by readers of Britain’s biggest archaeology magazine.

The new circle was 10m in diameter and was surrounded by a henge – a ditch with an external bank.

However, the stones were at some point removed, leaving behind nine uncovered holes. The team believe they were probably part of a circle of 25 standing stones.

The outer henge around the stones was built around 2,400 BC, but distinctive chisel-shaped arrowheads found in the stone circle indicate that the stones were put up as much as 500 years earlier.

When the newly discovered circle’s stones were removed by Neolithic tribes, they may, according to the team, have been dragged to Stonehenge, to be incorporated within its major rebuilding around 2500 BC.

Archaeologists know that after this date, Stonehenge consisted of about 80 Welsh stones and 83 local, sarsen stones. Some of the bluestones that once stood at the riverside probably now stand within the centre of Stonehenge.

Professor Julian Thomas, from The University of Manchester and a co-director of the Stonehenge Riverside Project, said: “We are delighted to win this award  – and it’s a tribute to the team who have done such a great job.

“We are still coming to terms with this truly sensational discovery: it’s amazing the circle of bluestones were dragged from the Welsh Preseli mountains, 150 miles away around 5,000 years ago.

“It adds weight to the theory that the River Avon linked a ‘domain of the living’ – marked by timber circles and houses upstream at the Neolithic village of ‘Durrington Walls’ – with a ‘domain of the dead’ marked by Stonehenge and this new stone circle.

“The Stonehenge Riverside Project also discovered a Late Neolithic settlement outside the enormous henge at Durrington Walls, upriver from Stonehenge, and a series of contemporary timber buildings and other structures in and around Durrington which may have been ceremonial in character.”
 

Notes for editors

The Stonehenge Riverside Project is run by a consortium of university teams.  It is directed by Prof. Mike Parker Pearson of Sheffield University, with co-directors Dr Josh Pollard (Bristol University), Prof. Julian Thomas (The University of Manchester), Dr Kate Welham (Bournemouth University) and Dr Colin Richards (The University of Manchester).  The 2009 excavation was funded by the National Geographic Society, Google, the Society of Antiquaries of London, and the Society of Northern Antiquaries.

Most of the circle remains preserved for future research and the 2009 excavation has been filled back in.

Nicholas – Stonehenge Tour Guide
HISTOURIES – The Best Tours in British History

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Castle Combe Village Tour

Took a private tour group to Castle Combe today – wow. Will update tomorrow The village houses are all of typical Cotswold type, constructed in stone with thick walls and roofs made from split natural stone tiles. The properties are many hundreds of years old and are listed as ancient monuments. Strict rules apply to preserve the beauty and character of Castle Combe for later generations to admire

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One man can build construction like Stonehenge this video shows it.
BUILDING STONEHENGE – THIS MAN CAN MOVE ANYTHING – CLICK HERE

The largest stones at Stonehenge weigh around 112,000 lbs and those of the Great Pyramid over 150,000 lbs. nor were they moved on a flat concrete base… good effort though.

Wally Wallington has demonstrated that he can lift a Stonehenge-sized pillar weighing 22,000 lbs and moved a barn over 300 ft. What makes this so special is that he does it using only himself, gravity, and his incredible ingenuity.

He is a retired carpenter with 35 years experience in construction. In his work experience, over the years, many times he had to improvise on tools to get the job done. At one of these times, about 12 years ago, He had to remove some 1200 lb. saw cut concrete blocks from an existing floor. The problem was that he did not have a machine that could reach some of the blocks. The only obvious answer was to break the blocks into smaller pieces with a sledgehammer and load them into a wheelbarrow. To him, that seemed to be too much work at the time, so he improvised. Using a few rocks and leverage, He removed the blocks from below the floor to an area that the machine could reach them for removal. After doing this several times, the technique became very easy and quick. This experience make him consider the possibility that people may have used this technique before modern day equipment was available.

Nine years later, after retiring, he decided to explore this on his own. He brought home a one ton block of concrete from a job. Once he got home, he realized that he had to use his techniques to get the block off the truck. After unloading, he found that his technique allowed him to move the block around the yard with very little effort. At that time, his family became very interested in what their “crazy dad” was up to ” this time”.

In a few days, he decided that one ton block was no longer challenging, so he made some bigger blocks to play with. Within a few months he was moving, rolling, standing on end, and stacking them on top of each other.He found that he could easily move a 2400 lb. block 300 ft. per hour with little effort, and a 10,000 lb. block at 70 ft. per hour without any machine, only by himself. He also stood two 8 ft. 2400 lb. blocks on end and placed another 2400 lb. block on top. This took about two hours per block. He found that one man, working by himself, without the use of wheels, rollers, pulleys, or any type of hoisting equipment could perform the task.

A year after beginning project, his son needed a pole barn moved, due to a desired property split. He decided to put his techniques on test. The wood building was a 30 ft. by 40 ft. and 16 ft. tall. It weighed over 10 tons. In order to move the building, they added another 5 tons of bracing and reinforcement. The conditions were not good. At first, the field was muddy and they could only work for a few hours a week. Working by himself, he found out that he could move the building at a speed of 6 ft. per hour. With help of his son, they doubled that speed. After 40 man-hours of labor, they moved the building over 200 ft.

For many years people have tried to solve the mystery of the Egyptian pyramids, some even claiming extra terrestrial intervention. Similar works were done in different places on earth and at different times in history and there has to be a more accurate explanation. He believe that skilled individuals performed the work, because he found out that this job could easily be done using only primitive tools and physics, only simple wooden tools and gravity is needed for moving heavy weight. There’s no need to lift weight to move it from place to place. Stones make excellent fulcrums and pivot points.

Following this I have found that ancient legends from around the world are true. Some megaliths could have been set in place by as few as one man. I could build The Great Pyramid of Giza, using my techniques and primitive tools. On a twenty-five year construction schedule, (working forty hours per week at fifty weeks per year, using the input of myself to calculate) I would need a crew of 520 people to move blocks from the main quarry to the site and another 100 to move the blocks on site. For hoisting I need a crew of 120 (40 working and 80 rotating). My crew can raise 7000 lb. 100 ft. per minute. I have found the design of the pyramid is functional in it’s own construction. No external ramp is needed.

Following this some of ancient legends from around the world are true. Some megaliths could have been set in place by as few as one man. He said that he could build The Great Pyramid of Giza, using this techniques and primitive tools. On a twenty-five year construction schedule, working forty hours per week at fifty weeks per year,  he would need a crew of 520 people to move blocks from the main quarry to the site and another 100 to move the blocks on site. For hoisting he needs a crew of 120 (40 working and 80 rotating). His crew can raise 7000 lb. 100 ft. per minute. He have found the design of the pyramid is functional on it’s own construction. No external ramp is needed. So many myths about pyramids are falling in water.

more info: http://www.theforgottentechnology.com/

My comments: 

I think it’s odd that people don’t give credit to our ancestors for their ingenuity. This guy has shown it IS possible to erect such monuments through sheer ingenuity. I mean, we’re only talking about 6,000 years ago or so. It’s not like people weren’t as resourceful then as they are today…these people weren’t idiots.  
No-one knows. Anything is speculation. Good speculation, but speculation nonetheless

Nicholas – Stonehenge Tour Guide
HISTOURIES UK – The Best Tours in History

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For those interested in this phenomena I will be updating this blog frequently with all the latest formations (including pictures)  in the Wilshire area this summer.  We do have the highest numbers of crop circles in the world and highest number if UFO sightseeings in Europe – mysterious stuff eh ?
Seeing really is believing……………..
Watch this space ……………….

A crop circle

Introduction

There are many unknown factors to the crop circle phenomenon and under such circumstances it is best to stick to facts. Crop circles are happening in our reality here and now, and as the designs are imprinted in real fields in the countryside, they can be visited and studied at close hand.

Many people, several of whom live in Wiltshire full time, are actively engaged in full time research in an attempt to establish what this phenomenon is about and where it is leading us.  Since 1980 thousands of designs have been investigated and recorded in databases worldwide. This is impressive by anyone’s standard.

The Study of Crop Circles is based on facts:

  • Crop Circles exist.
  • They are found all over the world.
  • More than 6,000 have been documented since 1980.
  • Over the last twenty years analyses of thousands of plant and soil specimens from hundreds of formations worldwide have been carried out in laboratories in various countries, and most extensively in the UK and in the USA.  
  • These analyses show that the cellular structure of the plants has been strongly affected and that the composition of the soil greatly altered in crop circles (man made designs exhibit no such results).
  • Their designs are based on complex geometry, ancient symbology and advanced mathematics.
  • They can be decoded.
  • The message that comes through is important for mankind at present.

 

a crop circle

A crop circle

A crop circle

A crop circle

A crop circle

a crop circle

A crop circle

A crop circle

A crop circle

A crop circle

A crop circle

A crop circle

A crop circle

A crop circle

Simon – Crop Circle Tour Guide

HISTOURIES UK – Wessex Tours

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The London Tour Operator Evan Evan Tours have just launched a new tour that includes Stonehenge Private access. In my opinion its a little ambitious (see below) but thats my opinion. There is a link below if you want to book.  Their busy itinerary is as follows:

A PRIVATE VIEWING OF THE INNER CIRCLE AT STONEHENGE – an early start gives the opportunity to visit the inner circle of Stonehenge at sunrise, a walking tour of Oxford and visit to the state apartments at Windsor Castle.
Included Highlights
•Private Viewing at Sunrise of the Inner Circle at Stonehenge
•Walking tour of Oxford
•Visit Christ Church college (where Harry Potter was filmed)
•Entrance to Windsor Castle and a tour of the State Apartments and St George’s Chapel
•First-class luxury Motor-coach and the services of a Professional Guide

Private Viewing of Stonehenge
Most visitors to Stonehenge are not allowed direct access to the stones. On this special day trip from London, you’ll be invited to enter the stone circle itself, and stand beside the mysterious rocks towering above you. Your guide will unlock the secrets of this ancient World Heritage site. Enjoy the peace, away from the crowds, as you experience Stonehenge at its atmospheric best at sunrise.

Oxford
The colleges in Oxford date back to the 13th century and among its famous students were Bill Clinton, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Lewis Carroll. We take you on a fascinating walking tour, which includes visiting the Great Hall in Christ Church, where many scenes from Harry Potter were filmed. We’ll also see the Bodleian Library and the picture perfect college courtyards for which Oxford is famous.

Windsor Castle
Our day continues with a visit to Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest occupied Castle in the world, and home of the Royal Family for 900 years. Its proud, strong walls dominate the delightful town that has grown around the castle over the years. You’ll see the lavishly decorated State Apartments containing priceless furniture in glorious colours and St George’s Chapel, home to the 14th Century Order of the Royal Garter, our senior chivalric order.

Evan Evans Coach Tours – Click Here

The Stonehenge Tour Company

Histouries UK

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Just read this in my morning newspaper – wow. I will do some more reserach and update you all.
For Dr. Robert Mason, an archaeologist with the Royal Ontario Museum, it all began with a walk last summer. Mason conducts work at the Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi monastery, out in the Syrian Desert. Finds from the monastery, which is still in use today by monks, date mainly to the medieval period and include some beautiful frescoes.

Photo courtesy Dr. Robert Mason. One of the corbelled stone structures found in the Syrian desert. Archaeologists suspect that its an ancient stone tomb. In the front of it are the remains of a stone circle.

Dr. Mason explains that he “went for a walk” into the eastern perimeter of the site – an area that hasn’t been explored by archaeologists. What he discovered is an ancient landscape of stone circles, stone alignments and what appear to be corbelled roof tombs. From stone tools found at the site, it’s likely that the features date to some point in the Middle East’s Neolithic Period – a broad stretch of time between roughly 8500 BC – 4300 BC.

It is thought that in Western Europe megalithic construction involving the use of stone only dates back as far as ca. 4500 BC. This means that the Syrian site could well be older than anything seen in Europe.

At a recent colloquium in Toronto, Canada, Mason described his shock at discovering the apparent tombs, stone circles and stone alignments: “I was standing up there thinking, oh dear me, I’ve wandered onto Salisbury Plain,”

At the southern end of the landscape there are three apparent tombs. They are about eight metres in diameter and each of them “actually has a chamber in the middle”. The roof is corbelled which suggests that beneath them is “something you would want to seal in.” Each of these corbelled structures had a stone circle beside it, which is about two meters in diameter.

Dr. Mason cautioned that the team did not have the chance to do more than survey the area, so it’s still possible that these corbelled structures could have a purpose other than burial. More work also needs to be done to get a precise date of construction.

Dr. Mason set out to look for more stone circles and chambered structures. This time he brought a monk with him, from the monastery:

“Lurking around in the hills above a Syrian military base with a digital camera in one hand and a GPS unit in the other is the sort of thing that makes you want to have a monk in your presence,” he explained.

The two of them went to a rock outcrop – a place that would have been a good source of flint in ancient times – where he found the remains of several corbelled structures. In the valley below they found another corbelled structure with a stone circle right beside it.

The monk who travelled with him sensed that this high outcrop would have been of great importance to the people who lived here. “This is a high place” he told Mason.

As Mason gazed at the landscape, from the height of the outcrop, he saw stone lines, also known as alignments, going off in different directions. Dr. Mason has a strong background in geology, and knew immediately that these could not be natural features.

“I know what rocks look like, where they belong – these rocks don’t belong in that.”

One of stone lines was “very bizarre,” snaking its way up a hill. Mason followed the line and found that it led to the “biggest complex of tombs of all.”

This particular stone structure has three chambers and was probably the burial place for “the most important person.” In the front of the tomb are the remains of a stone circle. Dr. Mason can’t confirm for sure that this was used as a tomb, until further archaeological work takes place.

The lithics the team found in the landscape are also quite unusual – they don’t seem to be made from local material. Mason explained that local flint is white or dark red, but the material they found is “very good quality brown chert.”

The Neolithic period is a time period when people in the Middle East were beginning to grow crops and adopt farming. They didn’t live in settlements larger than a village. There were no cities in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.

Professor Edward Banning is a University of Toronto anthropology professor and Neolithic period expert, and has done extensive fieldwork in the Middle East, including Jordan. He said that we need to be careful about drawing conclusions before more fieldwork is done.

“Virtually all the burials that archaeologists have ever discovered from Neolithic sites in that part of the world come from inside settlements – in fact even below floors and houses,” he said. If the corbelled structures are confirmed as burial structures, then this site will represent something new.

“It’s possible that this landscape that Dr. Mason has identified could be an example of off-site burial practices in the Neolithic which would be very interesting.”

This would help settle a mystery that archaeologists have long faced. Banning said that while burials have been found in Neolithic settlements, “Those burials are not high enough in number to account for the number of people who must have died in those settlements. So a number of us for many years have assumed that there must have been off-site mortuary practices of some kind.”

Dr. Mason goes a step further. He says that this site “sounds like Western Europe” and he wonders if this could be an early example of the stone landscapes seen at places like Stonehenge.

Dr. Julian Siggers of the Royal Ontario Museum, another Neolithic specialist, pointed out that it has been argued that agriculture spread from the Near East to Europe. This find creates a question – could these stone landscapes have travelled with them?

“It’s such an important hypothesis if it’s right that it’s worth telling people about now,” said Mason. “We’ve found something that’s never been found in the Middle East before.”

Professor Banning is sceptical about this idea. He said that stone structures are found throughout the world, pointing to the dolmens found in East Asia. He claims that people in Western Europe could have developed the techniques independently of the people who built the landscape near the Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi monastery.

Prof. Banning also said that Mason’s site may not be entirely unique in the Near and Middle East. He said that archaeologists have detected, via satellite photos, what appear to be cairns and stone circles in other areas, including the deserts of Jordan and Israel. However, he admits that most of these things have not received a lot of archaeological investigation.

That situation is about to change. Dr. Mason plans to return to the Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi site this summer with a team of Neolithic experts. The results of their investigations may well put Britain’s Stonehenge in the shade.

Top 10 Ancient Sites in Syria

Bluestonehenge and other recent results from The Stonehenge Riverside Project

Neolithic Europe

Nicholas – Tour Guide
HISTOURIES UK – Stonehenge Tours

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Stonehenge was a popular area for feasting in the Neolithic period Stonehenge attracts thousands of Druids, tourists and music festival revellers from far afield each year. Now a new analysis of ancient animal teeth has revealed it was a popular feasting area as far back as 5,000 years ago.
Stone-age people drove cattle across the country to ‘bring-your-own’ beef barbecues near Stonehenge, the tests revealed.
The analysis of the teeth found at Durrington Walls, a 5,000-year-old village, showed the animals had come from at least 60 miles away.

Dr Jane Evans from the British Geological Survey said the discovery showed a number of feasts were held at the Stonehenge site.
She added that people travelled from as far away as Wales to get there but brought their own food rather than shopping for beef locally.
‘People are coming from considerable distances and dispersion in order to have feasts,’ Dr Evans said.
‘People were bringing their food supplies to this site. There wasn’t a farming community that supplied travellers with local beef. It was a case of bringing your own beef barbecue.’
The discovery was made by analysis of different types of a chemical element called strontium found in the soil and absorbed through food into animal and human teeth.
Different types or isotopes of strontium are found in soils of different geological make-up, and the nearest match to those found in the cattle teeth are in Wales, Dr Evans said at the BA Festival of Science in Liverpool.
The Stone Age Neolithic site is a massive circular earthwork close to Stonehenge that was used from around 3,000 BC to 2,500 BC, until around the time the stones at Stonehenge were put in place in the Bronze Age.
An archaeological dig at the site in the 1960s revealed a circular timber structure and a vast collection of animal bones.

Dr Evans added the discovery shed light on communications and movement in the Neolithic period, and showed the already-known relationship between the Stonehenge area and Wales stretched back into the Stone Age.

Pat – Tour Guide
HISTOURIES UK – Stonehenge Tours

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