A little reminder to us all.
This image found at The Earth Room at the bottom of a page dedicated to personal photos of ancient monuments and places of peace. Apparently this sign is at the Findhorn Foundation – the spiritual and holistic community on the North East of Scotland.
“There are many special places on the Earth where you can feel connected to the planet, whatever your beliefs. The ancient people understood the rhythms of the natural world and the energy grid (ley lines) and marked these sacred places with stones, mounds, barrows etc. Undoubtedly the most famous site of this kind in Britain is Stonehenge, in Wiltshire with it’s enormous stones and incredible energies. It has been turned into somewhat of a tourist resort of late, complete with shop, café, high entrance fees and no access to go right up to the stones”
Thinking of going vegan? Pay a visit to the main pages on this site – Vegan Family House.
“Kilmartin Glen, in Argyll, has one of the most important concentrations of Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in Europe. The glen contains at least 350 ancient monuments, many of them prehistoric, including burial cairns, rock carvings and standing stones. But archaeologists have identified a period of almost 1,000 years in which no monuments were erected and the population there ‘diminished’. They claim this period is marked by the start of a colder, wetter climate.
Dr Alison Sheridan, an archaeologist and head of early prehistory at the National Museum of Scotland, who has studied Kilmartin Glen for more than 20 years, said: “The earliest activity dates back to hunter-gatherers around 4,500 BCE, who left behind nothing more than a few pits, charcoal and some flint. It was a sacred landscape from at least as early as 3,700 BCE until as late as 1,100 BCE. It was a place for ceremony, for burying people and observing the movements of the sun and the moon. We are not too certain what happened between 1,100 BCE and around 200 BCE. A hoard of swords has been found and a few artefacts buried as gifts to the gods in the late Bronze Age between 1,000 and 750 BCE. But there are very few structures and no settlements. Certainly, in some parts it seems to have become colder and wetter after about 1,200 BCE, and the people may have moved away.”
Kilmartin Glen was home to self-sufficient and successful communities with links around the country and even overseas. Historic monuments include standing stones, a henge, a linear cemetery comprising five burial cairns and numerous cists, or stone coffins, which contained remains of adults and children as young as four. Neal Ascherson, visiting Professor at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, said climate change brought an end to “this strange, idyllic period of late Neolithic and Bronze Age in this area”. He said: “The weather, which was dryer and finer than it is now, seems to have come to an end around 1,000 BCE, when it began to change and the whole ecology began to alter. At the same time, culture changed. The capacity or wish to build these monuments and indeed to honour them or take account of them, died away. And in the Iron Age nobody took much account of these monuments and certainly nobody tried to build anything of the kind again. Instead, you get a quite different culture in which you get tiny fortified settlements and you feel everything is colder and more hostile. The population diminished heavily, but whoever was left seemed to fear everyone else.”
Sharon Webb, the curator of the Kilmartin Museum, said: “When the first people moved in to this landscape it would have been a landscape of plenty. It was a really rich place for the hunter-gatherer people to find enough resources to live.”"
As I said in the diary post about shooting at Cainbaan, everyone loves a puzzle, but when you get this close to the mysteries our ancestors left behind, a solution always seems only a hairsbreadth away, and yet – gaze into space for as long as you want – understanding remains tantalizingly just out of reach. Rock Art is about as close as you can get to looking into the mind of our ancestors, but although we may feel close in space – touching the very same curves, hollows and textures in rock that they created – not being able to comprehend the purpose behind these symbols can make us feel as remote as ever from fellow humans who just happen to have preceded us by a few thousand years.
BY the way, if you are particularly interested in this aspect of our ancient heritage English Heritage have launched a wonderful website completely devoted to English prehistoric Rock Art. I recommend a visit.
I absolutely cannot recommend this website enough if you have the slightest interest in the magnificent site of Avebury Henge.
If there’s anything – anything at all you need to know about Avebury then go here NOW! The site is beautifully presenrted, and as a bonus to all the information available here, there is also a complete facsimile edition of William Stukely’s ‘ABURY – A TEMPLE OF THE BRITISH DRUIDS‘ online.
If you prefer to go further afiels in search of news and discoveries about ancient civilisation, pay a visit to the website below:
“MysteriousPlaces seeks to give the visitor information, educational materials, and personal observations about the remains of ancient civilizations, sacred sites and unusual locations from around the world. Each area explored by MysteriousPlaces is confronted by challenges. Those challenges may include the consequences of uncontrolled development, the fury of natural forces, the horrors of war, the effect of rapid population growth, or the results of simple neglect.
From the great pyramid in Egypt to tiny rock carvings in the desert, to the vast expanses of Antarctica there are clues to our past and future. If we ignore these clues, we will leave a sad legacy for the generations to come. By contributing to each visitor’s understanding of the world, MysteriousPlaces plays a small role unleashing the positive forces of change.
Mysterious Places is seeking support from individuals and organizations to:
Expand and improve the content and functionality of this web site.
Raise money to assist organizations working to preserve ancient monuments and other unique sites and locations around the world.
Sponsor trips to document endangered places.
Here is a link to the website of the Antiquarian Society. Anyone interested in the wisdom and knowledge of our ancient ancestors should take a look at this site and consider joining the group. Below is a summary of the history and purpose of the society taken from the website.
“We believe that ancient sites offer a wealth of prehistoric wisdom and science, and as such are of great importance to all of us in the world today, and future generations.
We cannot afford to lose our great, or even lesser known, ancient wonders, and they must be protected at all costs.
The Antiquarian Society was founded by Stuart Mason when he found two maps, both manufactured by the same company, but printed 20 years apart.
As well as the obvious cartographical changes (new roads, estates etc.) one would expect, Stuart also noticed on these maps, bands of public Sussex green belt down land that had remained undeveloped.
However, on the earlier map the sites of tumuli (ancient burial mounds) appeared, whereas on the present day map these sites had been omitted.
With no obvious reason for this anomaly, the obvious questions arose: how many more sites of antiquity were simply disappearing from the records? And how could these sites survive if knowledge of their very existence was slowly disappearing?
Stuart set out to investigate the existence of the tumuli noted on the older map and found that some of the sites were actually still where the map said they were, but that some had unfortunately been obliterated by the farmers plough.
And so The Antiquarian Society was born with a purpose and determination to rediscover and chart these sites, and to watch and document the practices of farmers and developers, ultimately obliging them to think twice before they plough through 4000 year old burial mounds while they think no-one is looking.
These ancient sites are our inheritance, and it is up to us to ensure that we can pass them on to our children, that we may share them and experience with friends and family.
The Antiquarian Society are asking you to join us in the countryside, finding, documenting and protecting what is left.”
Ireland is home to some of the world’s oldest astronomically-aligned structures, giant stone monuments erected over 5,000 years ago. Despite their apparent simplicity, these megalithic edifices were crafted by a scientifically knowledgeable community of farmers who endeavoured to enshrine their beliefs in a stellar afterlife within the very fabric of their cleverly-designed stone temples.
In this updated and revised edition of their best-selling book, Anthony Murphy and Richard Moore present evidence suggesting the builders of monuments such as Newgrange and its Boyne Valley counterparts were adept astronomers, cunning engineers and capable surveyors. Their huge monuments are memorials in stone and earth, commemorating their creators’ perceived unity with the cosmos and enshrining a belief system which resulted from a crossover between science and spirituality.
As investigation of this awe-inspiring civilisation of people continues on many levels, evidence is emerging that significant archaeological sites dating from deep in prehistory are linked – not just through mythology, archaeology and cosmology – but through an arrangement of complex, and in some cases astonishing, alignments. Some of these alignments of ancient sites stretch from one side of Ireland to another.
While the accounts of the lives of some prominent Irish saints appear to be steeped in folklore and mystery, it seems from new interpretations of the literature that the cosmic world view which existed in Neolithic Ireland experienced a continuity right into the Early Christian period.
Join us on this fascinating exploration of stones, stars and stories. Island of the Setting Sun was launched in December 2006 and was sold out 13 months later in January 2008. The second edition is revised and expanded, with new images and more fascinating insights into ancient Ireland. It will be officially launched in Dublin Castle on Thursday, September 25th. We’d love to see you there.
Critical acclaim for Island of the Setting Sun
“A fascinating insight into Ireland’s ancient burial sites” –
“A monument” – Drogheda Independent
“The sheer amount of information contained within the book is mind-boggling. It is well thought out and structured . . . The more you read the evidence the more convinced you become.” – Astronomy & Space
“The authors . . . reach interesting and challenging conclusions about the significance of ancient astronomical knowledge. The book is jammed with colour illustrations, maps and photographs. A thoroughly interesting read!” – Archaeology Ireland
“An essential book that demonstrates just how much the beliefs and practices of our ancestors were influenced by the movement of the stars. . . . A must have tome for all those passionate about what remains of our fast disappearing ritual monuments of the prehistoric age.” – Andrew Collins, author of The Cygnus Mystery
“A recent, beautifully written and illustrated publication, Island of the Setting Sun offers a thought-provoking merger of the studies of archaeology, astronomy and folklore, to explain Newgrange’s significance.” Geraldine and Matthew Stout, authors of Newgrange
In 1861 at Oshoro, southwestern Hokkaido, a party of herring fishermen, migrants from Honshu, were laying the foundation for a fishing port when they saw taking shape beneath their shovels a mysterious spectacle — a broad circular arrangement of large rocks, strikingly symmetrical, evidently man-made. What could it be? An Ainu fortress?
They would have been astonished to learn, as in fact they never did, that the Oshoro Stone Circle is a relic from a time before even war — let alone fortresses — likely existed in Japan.
Oshoro today is part of the city of Otaru, on its western fringe, 20 km from the city center and 60 km west of Sapporo.
The Late Jomon period (circa 2400-1000 B.C.) was an age of northward migration. The north was warming, and severe rainfall was ravaging the established Jomon sites, primarily in the vicinity of today’s Tokyo and Nagoya.
Perhaps resettlement stimulated thought, for it coincided with a novel Jomon institution — the cemetery.
“By devoting a special area to burials,” writes J. Edward Kidder in “The Cambridge History of Japan,” “Late Jomon people were isolating the dead, allowing the gap to be bridged by mediums who eventually drew the rational world of the living further away from the spirit world of the dead.”
The Oshoro Stone Circle was probably a cemetery.
It was other things as well, but primarily that, says Naoaki Ishikawa, chief curator of the Otaru Museum, where many of the finds from around this stone circle can be viewed.
It is one of about 30 Late Jomon stone circles scattered through northern Japan. In terms of size it ranks about midway between the smallest enclosures and the largest one at Oyu, Akita Prefecture, bounded by thousands of stones.
No bones have been found to make an airtight case of the cemetery theory, but relatively few Jomon bones have been found anywhere, the acid in the soil claiming them long before the archaeologist’s trowel can.
The first archaeologists at work in Japan were American and European. Their heyday was the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Japanese curiosity regarding the remote past was satisfied by nationalistic myths accepted — on pain of harsh punishment as the Japanese government in the 1930s and ’40s claimed control over thought — as fact.
World War II ended, and, as though to make up for lost time, Japan plunged into archaeology. It became a passion, and remains one to this day. Historian William Wayne Farris, in “Sacred Texts and Buried Treasure,” counts (as of 1998) some 4,000 archaeologists active in Japan — 20 times the number in Great Britain.
A prewar pioneer in Japan was the Scottish archaeologist Neil Munro, whose “Prehistoric Japan” was published in 1908. He thought at first the stone circles might be astronomical observatories akin to Stonehenge in southwest England.
Not so, asserts Otaru Museum’s Ishikawa.
The question remains open, but calendrical significance has yet to be established. “In my opinion,” says Ishikawa, “the only thing Stonehenge and the Oshoro Stone Circle have in common is that they’re both made of stone.”
What you see at Oshoro today — it’s a wilder-looking spot than its physical proximity to the city would suggest, set among farmers’ fields and hills overlooking the sea — is an oval rather than a circular expanse, 33 meters north to south, 22 meters east to west, bordered by granite rocks, the tallest of which are about hip-high.
Some are rectangular, others rounded so smoothly you might think they had been sculpted, but no: “The rounded ones are called columnar joint stones,” explains Ishikawa — “very common in the area, though some geologists say many of the stones were quarried at Cape Shiripa, 8 km away.”
The site is a shadow of what it was at its height circa 1500 B.C. — a victim, first of 19th-century Japanese pioneers reclaiming Hokkaido from the wilderness and eager to appropriate handy rocks as construction material; second, of well-intentioned but misguided “cleanup campaigns,” the first in 1908 preparatory to a royal visit by the Crown Prince, the future Emperor Taisho.
Why regard it as a cemetery? Partly, says Ishikawa, because of the large number of unidentifiable, and probably ritual, objects unearthed in the vicinity; partly because of the many tools found unbroken, suggesting grave goods; partly also because “graves are among the few things that would have justified the degree of effort involved. Constructing a stone circle is a major undertaking. You have to flatten the land, quarry the stones, transport them, lay them out. . . . Only something of the highest importance could have taken people away from their daily hunting and gathering.”
Very likely also, he says, it was a market, a trading center for the exchange of tools, local foods, regional products, lacquer — and information, gossip. What would people have said to each other? In what language? Not Japanese, writes archaeologist Richard Pearson in the International Jomon Culture Conference Newsletter. Proto-Japanese, he says, only begins with the succeeding Yayoi culture.
Ishikawa raises another possibility for the Oshoro Stone Circle — that it could have been a trash dump, which would explain the roughly 400,000 tool and pottery fragments so far unearthed there.
“Things may have been brought on purpose to such a site for ritual disposal,” he says.
“To the Jomon, each object, animate and inanimate, housed a spirit. Throwing things away would have been done ceremonially.”
More than a dozen skeletons thought to be thousands of years old, have been found by Oxford archaeologists working at an ancient burial site in Dorset.
Excavations are taking place at the site in Weymouth before builders move in to build an access road to the Olympic sailing centre for 2012.
Archaeologist David Score said they had catalogued finds from almost every period of human life.
He said it “really added to knowledge of the Bronze and Neolithic eras”.
“Building the relief road has given archaeologists an excuse to excavate and record finds dating back thousands of years,” Mr Score said.
“I think it is very important because it’s not very often that you get the opportunity to excavate an area of this size, in a location of such importance with so many burials from a wide span of time.
“I think once we have done all the analysis it really will contribute quite a lot to the corpus of knowledge that we’ve got about the Bronze Age and Neolithic periods in this area.
“We found more than a dozen skeletons they’re in various states of preservation. Some are fairly poorly preserved, but the later ones, particularly the Roman ones are fairly well preserved.”
All the finds are being taken back to Oxford where they are being catalogued.
Scientists will also look for small fish bones or charred plant remains to try and find out more about ancient eating habits.
The items will eventually be returned to Dorset where they will be put on display in a museum.