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Aboriginal Sundial Pre-Dates Stonehenge

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the back-in-the-day dept.

Science 145

brindafella writes "Look out, Stonehenge, here come the Wurdi Youang rocks in the Australian state of Victoria. The semi-circle of stones has been examined by an astrophysicist from Australia's premier research group, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), who says this arrangement of rocks is a carefully aligned solar observatory that may be 10,000 years old. It would have been created by local Aborigines, the Wathaurong people, who have occupied the area for some 25,000 years."

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Sloppy Half-circle (4, Insightful)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124452)

It doesn't look like much from the picture. The only supporting statement in the article is:

its two points set in perfect alignment with the setting sun on a midsummer's day.

I'd like a little more supporting documentation before getting all excited about this.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35124472)

Figures. Goddamn boongs are about as intelligent as my boot leather.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35124508)

It's more likely that your boot leather is certifiably more intelligent than you are. Racism is the new lowest form of wit.
I'm white, i'm proud, and your a fucking dick.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35124876)

What about his a fucking dick?

I've got to say, after having looked at the images in the article, I can't really see anyway that collection of rocks could be said to align (or not align) with anything. Then again, I'm not an archaeologist.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (0)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124510)

It must be humiliating having your boots smarter than you.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (1)

Mbraz (1804942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124498)

OK, sou you expect that after 25,000 years the stone clock would be in perfect state, to prove for you that the circle was indeed, a circle.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (1)

dwarfsoft (461760) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124572)

Last time I checked a sundial didn't have the point rotate around an entire circle. The sun cuts a semicircular path across the sky.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35124832)

The sun cuts a semicircular path across the sky.

More or less: More than a semicircle during the summer, less during winter.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35125636)

Stone circles have been around for a very long time, there's no need to assume its an ancient chronograph without a lot more evidence. Stones, believe it or not, are also used to mark areas.

Go and make a stone circle, now you can claim it's a clock by looking back through thousands of years until you find a match. Not hard is it. This circle is probably an important gathering ground, which when excavated may reveal ancient tools and bones.

Why are you so eager to believe it has astronomical significance?

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (4, Interesting)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124502)

Well I agree it doesn't look like much, but then again it's 10,000 years old. That's much older than most other such remnants in the world. Either way, it's definitely not natural. Humans did this. The question is: for what purpose?

If it does align perfectly on the with the sun on the solstices, then this becomes very interesting. The likelihood that humans happened to place the rocks on that exact alignment by pure chance (as opposed to any other random alignment) is small.

If on the other hand the alignment isn't really very significant from a solar/stellar perspective it's probably just some ancient place marker or something instead. Still interesting, mind you, but nothing globally unique.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (3, Interesting)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124680)

Well I agree it doesn't look like much, but then again it's 10,000 years old. That's much older than most other such remnants in the world. Either way, it's definitely not natural. Humans did this. The question is: for what purpose?

If it does align perfectly on the with the sun on the solstices, then this becomes very interesting. The likelihood that humans happened to place the rocks on that exact alignment by pure chance (as opposed to any other random alignment) is small.

Was the alignment correct 10k years ago? Don't the precessions influence the relative position of the sun and Earth in a way that would be significant after 10k years, meaning that something on Earth aligned with a specific Sun position at a specific time of the year now would not be valid 10k years ago, and conversely?

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (1)

xclr8r (658786) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124898)

Precession, nutation, and polar motion.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (2)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125220)

Over a 21,000 year period summer and winter swap over ....so over a long enough period any randomly positioned stones would line up at some time ?

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (1)

meglon (1001833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35128444)

Even a broke pre-Stonehenge rock arrangement is right twice every 21,000 years.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (1)

TRS80NT (695421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126340)

That's what I was thinking. Didn't we all just get our sun signs reassigned?
Or something.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (4, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126422)

Don't the precessions influence the relative position of the sun and Earth in a way that would be significant after 10k years, meaning that something on Earth aligned with a specific Sun position at a specific time of the year now would not be valid 10k years ago, and conversely?

Yes, but that only changes the positions relative to the stars. Precession means the rotation axis of the earth changes the way it points, but the axis is the same. North is always the same direction, apart from a relatively small polar motion.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35127886)

I'm sorry, but this is no time for MATH!

/pi anyone?

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (1, Troll)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124890)

Either way, it's definitely not natural. Humans did this. The question is: for what purpose?

Helps to figure out if it's dole office is open yet

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125114)

Well I agree it doesn't look like much, but then again it's 10,000 years old. That's much older than most other such remnants in the world. Either way, it's definitely not natural. Humans did this.

How did you make the leap from "not natural" to "Humans did this"?

Other animals? Aliens?

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125886)

How did you make the leap from "not natural" to "Humans did this"?

Because it's far less of a leap than "Other animals? Aliens?".

To date, we haven't seen any evidence that 'other animals' have ever put together time-keeping measures ... and, well, the alien theory is more extraordinary than the notion that a people who have been there for at least 40,000 years did something like this 10,000 years ago.

The most likely conclusion is that "not natural" means "Humans did this".

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35125154)

Well I agree it doesn't look like much, but then again it's 10,000 years old. That's much older than most other such remnants in the world.

Actually, its not. Furthermore, as so far as examples of technology goes which dates back to 10,000 years, its down right primitive. Hell, the majority of archaeologists agree the sphinx dates back 9,000-11,000 years. Its Egyptologists who argue its not that old despite the preponderance of evidence to the contrary. And that's completely ignoring city and city after city after city after city, all over the world, which dates back that far which were built using technology we don't understand and would be challenging even with today's technology. And that's ignoring the pyramids in South America, which are actually larger than the the ones in Egypt, all of which toughly date back 10,000 years.

Simply put, the evidence from ALL over the world is very clear - in that almost all of this technology dates back 9,000-10,000 years ago - and not the 6,000 years as has been incorrectly taught.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (4, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125818)

Only 10K? That's hardly 2/5s the time these folks have been local to the region. For them, this is a late, modern development. For European descendants it is an incredible antiquity.

Interesting to think of these timelines, regarding common perception. Cleopatra lived and died closer in time to the era of Moon landings than she did to the building of the great pyramid at Giza.

I'm at a loss as to why that's a problem (3, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125976)

TBH I don't understand what's so incredible. I mean, it's interesting as history information, but it's not like it's some great knowledge. Humans 10,000 years ago were already the modern humans, and probably just as smart as most people here.

As I was saying in another post, there is a very simple way of marking where the sun sets for the solstices, because they're the extreme points left and right. Just moving a stone each evening until you found the rightmost point the sun sets, and a different stone for leftmost, will get you those two points pretty well. The third point is simply the middle of the segment, and something that you can measure even with your feet.

The whole thing is perfectly within the range of things human could figure out 10,000 or even 100,000 years ago.

They don't even have to understand such things as solstice or equinox. Pretty much you just need someone to figure out "hey, didn't the sun set behind the other bush some time ago?" And from there, if you're bored and have a year or two to look where it sets, you can mark pretty well how far north and how far south can the sun set.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (0)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124526)

By looking at the picture consists or a complete circle of stones, almost touching. Inevitably some of them will be in "perfect alignment with the setting sun on a midsummer's day", as will some of the bricks in my house.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124816)

It's not a complete circle. There are a few over on bottom right of the picture, but they are only 'almost touching' around the top left. It's the ends of the closely packed stones that form a chord which is aligned with the midsummer sun. Seems unlikely to be chance.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124910)

I wonder if they remembered to correct for precession of the equinox.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35124594)

For those of you who would actually read TFA if it were available:

N258: Wurdi Youang: An Australian Aboriginal Stone Circle with possible solar indications.
Ray P. Norris, Priscilla M. Norris, Duane W. Hamacher, and John Morieson , 2010, To be submitted to Archaeoastronomy Journal

From the Authors webpage:
http://www.atnf.csiro.au/people/rnorris/

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124702)

Looks more like a left over set from the original Max Max movie, which was made in the same area. Hard to believe that rocks will just sit in the same place for 10000 years. This whole area has been pretty much gone over. There are plenty of farms in the area. Its really just outside Melbourne. Hardly outback.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (3, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124784)

Hard to believe that rocks will just sit in the same place for 10000 years

I found this hard to believe at first too. I've been sitting watching this rock for over 25 years now though, and no sign of movement on the micrometer. I'm starting to have my doubts.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124842)

I am curious to see how you get on. Be sure to get back to me in another 25 years with your observations.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35124914)

Just subscribe to his newsletter like i did!

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35125342)

Some rocks, it appears, do move by themselves. [youtube.com]

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (2)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124978)

YMMV, but I've been watching these stones [rollingstones.com] for fifty years and they move around quite a lot.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125370)

Try these. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125490)

I call bullpickles. These rocks have not been moving under their own power, but have been driven by high winds over a low friction substrate. A very specific arrangement, and not one that Dwayne is subject to.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (3, Interesting)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126550)

For what its worth, I saw a documentary on these rocks many a year ago. They attempted to move a rock using fx- fans, which basically created winds of a small hurricane. They were completely unable to move a single rock. Furthermore, such winds are completely undocumented for the region. Not to mention, most agree such winds, in moving the rock, would sandblast the trail, obliterating it.

Realistically, these rocks are a scientific mystery. Some have suggested the rocks are in fact NOT moving and that its an illusion created by its tail. Along these lines, some scientist say we should be looking for alternate explanations of how the tail (the trail) is created rather than focusing on what appears to be moving rocks.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (1)

ginbot462 (626023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35127620)

I forgot about those! Thanks. It one of those things that seems simple at first glance , but when you bring your full attention upon it you go WTF? The devil is in the details.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (1)

ginbot462 (626023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35127746)

BTW, Don't listen to those that say it's wind and ice. We're living in a simulation, and when They upgrade the terrain sometimes algorithms that place these stones move these. What happens is, that is a place where two tiles meet and rounding errors get pretty bad there. They says They know about it, but is low probability of it getting fixed. Personally, I agree .. They need to fix the AI first and foremost. Some of the people ... jeez louise, especially there mob/crowd estimation/approximation algos.

ggigantija on Gozo (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124826)

Visit the island of Gozo, near Malta, and prepare to have your credulity stretched beyond breaking point.

It's not even really a sundial (2)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125144)

It's not even really a sundial, as it doesn't actually tell the time. Not the least because it's facing West instead of South. So, you know, it would require a Sun that moves from North to South or viceversa instead of East to West, to tell you the hour.

What it is argued that it does is basically track the two extreme points where the sun sets, and the middle of that interval.

It's actually something pretty trivial to do. All you need is about a year and some movable stone. Each evening you stand in the designated spot and see if the sun sets a little to the left or to the right of where you left the marker point yesterday, and yell to some other guys to move it a little if so.

Think of it as the non-computer equivalent of, basically

if (x xMax) xMax = x;

If you have two stones that represent the xMin and xMax and move accordingly over a year, you end up with exactly the two ends of the interval marked. If you want to be sure, you repeat it over a couple more years.

Re:It's not even really a sundial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35125276)

While I get the West-East part of your argument - you kinda dropped the ball with the whole "instead of South" bit. Australia is in the Southern hemisphere and so facing North would be more useful. Inductive logic would suggest you're probably a Yank and thus, based on Global perceptions of geographic knowledge amongst citizens of the USA, it's an understandable mistake.
:D

Re:It's not even really a sundial (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125320)

Actually, European, but point taken. I've only seen the sun in the South at noon for as far as I lived, so, yeah, it's a bit of a reflex.

Re:It's not even really a sundial (1)

jittles (1613415) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125374)

This is the southern hemisphere, so wouldn't you want the stones to face north and not south?

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126318)

ayers rock functions as a sundial.
any tree functions as a sundial.

sundial is an example I use when trying to explain stuff that shouldn't be possible to patent. a sundial is an observation, not an invention.

provided that there is enough light coming from suns direction, unlike this this gray day in finland which cast no shadows at all.

Re:Sloppy Half-circle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126662)

Then there is the practical problem of the need for solar observatory. One does not need a solar cult with the observatory if one is not dependent on agriculture. Aborigines have been considered being hunter-gatherers as I have understood.

My watch is older than yours... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35124468)

So what. It's not like you can take either one of them with you. The real question is: which watch do chicks dig better!

Re:My watch is older than yours... (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125058)

I tried to get chicks to dig my watch, but they balked when I handed them the shovel :(

It doesn't suprise me. (1)

ResistanceIsIrritati (808817) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124522)

After all, there's so much more sun there than in Wiltshire.

I am in Wiltshire (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124838)

It is pissing it down from dark clouds this very moment, which admittedly is a change from snow and hail, and all I can say is, you insensitive clod.

LIAR !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35124532)

This is certainly a fake story. 'NUff said. I will comment no more. I mean, this is truly a PR effort by the Australians to pleed for help in fixing their awful, awful mess. But enough of this. Nothing more need be said. And while it may seem to have credence, it is by no means any sort of revival !! SO mark this as over. Finished. On the other hand, the Brits did send their convicts down under, and so it stands to reason those who built Stoney, as we in the area call it, also sent their convicts down under. If anything, the Australia version is a but a copy. But I will say no more.

Re:LIAR !! (0)

OzTech (524154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124638)

> But enough of this. Nothing more need be said

However, you felt it pertinent to add > 70 words in 5 sentences using about 10 punctuation marks and 2 apostrophes.

Thank goodness, you closed this one out so succinctly.

Re:LIAR !! (1)

mcneely.mike (927221) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124934)

Yes, 'cause rocks are what gets everyone out of their awful, awful mess.

Except those who live in glass houses.

But i will say no more.

Sundials go anti-clockwise in Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35124554)

Imagine if watches were invented downunder.

Btw, this is the way you answer the "do toilets flush clockwise in Australia":

"Their flush direction depends entirely on how they were manufactured, but Sundials go anti-clockwise in Australia"

Stonehenge isn't even the oldest in the UK (4, Informative)

lilo_booter (649045) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124606)

There are older stone circles in the UK than Stonehenge. The stone circles in Orkney predate Stonehenge for example, though admittedly not by as much as those claimed here.

Re:Stonehenge isn't even the oldest in the UK (2)

Custard Horse (1527495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124896)

Yeah but Stonehenge is open source.

Re:Stonehenge isn't even the oldest in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35124928)

but behind a paywall.

Re:Stonehenge isn't even the oldest in the UK (2)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125738)

In fact, Stonehenge is notable for being recent -- it was the pinnacle of the great stone monuments, one of the last and certainly the most monumental. Comparing a potential "first" to a recognised "last" is a bit disengenuous.

More details from the CSIRO (5, Informative)

Random Data (538955) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124608)

Linky here [csiro.au]

Re:More details from the CSIRO (-1, Troll)

definate (876684) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124712)

Yeah, I dunno. I know a lot of abbos, and they don't do much. Can't really see them putting down the ol' goon bag, and making a sun dial.

Re:More details from the CSIRO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35124844)

Scientists analysing the rocks in the sundial were surprised to find traces of egg and fish, but this led to the to the astonishing discovery that the sundial was actually a circle of ancient fossilized goon bags.

How do you put a date on something like that? (1, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124644)

Is there an archeologist in the house? Couldn't I just dig up some old rocks, and arrange them in any shape that I liked? I'm just wondering if this is the equivalent of "crop circles" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crop_circles [wikipedia.org] in England?

Yikes! From the Wikipedia article:

In 2009, BBC News reported that Lara Giddings, the attorney general for the island state of Tasmania, stated that Australian wallabies had been found creating crop circles in fields of poppies after consuming some of the opiate-laden crop and running in circles.

So, maybe Australian junkie wallabies constructed the stone structure?

What also puzzles me, is why cultures that create such structures, just kinda sorta die out? Like the Egyptians who built pyramids, whoever built Stonehenge, and the like?

Re:How do you put a date on something like that? (5, Insightful)

aiht (1017790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124714)

What also puzzles me, is why cultures that create such structures, just kinda sorta die out? Like the Egyptians who built pyramids, whoever built Stonehenge, and the like?

Answer: All cultures die out over this kind of time span. But for some reason, we just don't pay any attention to the ones that leave no evidence of ever having existed...

Re:How do you put a date on something like that? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124718)

What also puzzles me, is why cultures that create such structures, just kinda sorta die out?

Maybe its because cultures just sorta die out.

Re:How do you put a date on something like that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35125020)

The Egyptians (the pyramid building ones at least) "died out" when they essentially overthrew the pharaohcy when the Nile ceased to flood through Egypt. Because the Pharaoh's, who were supposed to be in communication with the God's, couldn't continue to provide the river water through Egypt, the people realized the Pharaoh's were not what they claimed to be. The Egyptians started to die out from lack of water and splintered into small settlements where water could still be found.

The pagans who built Stonehenge gradually grew thinner in numbers as other religions (Christianity) started to sweep through England. Eventually Paganism was outlawed and more or less died off (except for the rumored underground pagan cults)

Re:How do you put a date on something like that? (2)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125826)

The pagans who built Stonehenge gradually grew thinner in numbers as other religions (Christianity) started to sweep through England. Eventually Paganism was outlawed and more or less died off (except for the rumored underground pagan cults)

Sorry, that doesn't wash. Stonehenge is between two-and-a-half and three millenia older than mainstream Christianity in Great Britain, yet after Stonehenge we don't see monumental architecture on such a scale anywhere. It is not proven that the Druids built Stonehenge, but even if they did, there is a big difference between "religion" and "civilisation".

Consider that up until about 100 years ago, most of Europe was institutionally Christian. The Roman Empire was Christian in the latter half of its duration. If religion == civilisation, then our grandfathers were Romans, and we are a different civilisation from our grandparents. And on the other hand, Rome under Constantine was a different "civilisation" than before his ascendancy. Yet the trappings of Roman civilisation -- art, architecture, commerce, etc -- continued.

It's quite possible that henge technology simply became obsolete as artisans found ways to make smaller sundials out of wood. Or maybe they were happy enough with the stone circles they had that they stopped building them and forgot how to make them.

HAL.

Re:How do you put a date on something like that? (1)

dukemarlon (952901) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126114)

Sorry, that doesn't wash. Stonehenge is between two-and-a-half and three millenia older than mainstream Christianity in Great Britain, yet after Stonehenge we don't see monumental architecture on such a scale anywhere. It is not proven that the Druids built Stonehenge, but even if they did, there is a big difference between "religion" and "civilisation".

So because no other monuments of that scale were built (or didn't last until present day (which means because no proof exists today means that it never existed under your claim?)) that means the pagans (or druids, or whatever you want to call them) died off (or their culture as you claim? I didn't realize they were a separate civilization) shortly after Stonehenge was built... I'm sorry, but that explanation just doesn't wash.

Re:How do you put a date on something like that? (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126692)

Science says there is no connection between Stonehenge and the Druids. That's largely a creation of pop culture.

Realistically, we know almost nothing of the culture which created Stonehenge and even less about what proceeded it. We do know several civilizations took root afterwards because of burial remains; to wit, we can identify with various known and documented cultures.

Re:How do you put a date on something like that? (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 3 years ago | (#35127838)

So because no other monuments of that scale were built (or didn't last until present day (which means because no proof exists today means that it never existed under your claim?)) that means the pagans (or druids, or whatever you want to call them) died off (or their culture as you claim? I didn't realize they were a separate civilization) shortly after Stonehenge was built... I'm sorry, but that explanation just doesn't wash.

Hold up... "the pagans"... there's no single group called that, so for them to die off is illogical. "The Druids"... they were still going well into the Roman era. My point was that we have no proof it was druids who built Stonehenge, and that claim was always simply built on the fact that they were the earliest well-documented group in the British Isles, thanks to the Romans. But now we have archaeology and common sense -- druidism probably wasn't around in those days. Druidism is mostly linked to mainland European Celtic culture, and the Celts aren't thought to have reached Britain until over a millenium after Stonehenge. Druidism isn't even thought to have come over with the first wave of Celtic culture (it's only well attested in regions near the channel, and the Gaels in the north and west of the archipelago had a fairly standard pantheistic mythology with clear parallels to Greek, Roman and Germanic legends, rather than the obscure animism of the druids).

But civilisations don't die out. They adapt. Stonehenge was hard work, and was really a fairly hamfisted affair. They will have found better ways to get the same results.

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35125096)

Just calculate at which point in the past the rocks were in closest alignment with the sun.

You know that the sky isn't static, right?

Re:How do you put a date on something like that? (2)

Dr La (1342733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125630)

How they dated it, indeed is the big question. These kind of things are notoriously difficult to date. If there is charcoal, bone or pottery in the pits used to socket the stones, you can date it (and then you still assume the materials in the pit date to the time of digging the pit, which is a dangerous assumption), but otherwise it is almost impossible. 26Al or 10Be dating of the stones itself will bring you no further either, as the surface residence of these stones can significantly predate their incorporation of them into this structure.

From the picture, this structure seems to be made up of rather small stones put on the surface and I doubt they were socketed in pits for that reason. So I would be very weary of that 10,000 year date unless it becomes clear how they arrived at that date.

IAAA (I Am An Archaeologist), by the way.

re the "dying out" of cultures, the commenters before me already answered that. Culture is not static, it changes over time, by definition. So does who is in power (and able to launch large community efforts like building pyramids). Prehistoric cultures without big building projects are gone too.

Re:How do you put a date on something like that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35125980)

The Egyptians were conquered by the Romans, the Pharaoh replaced by a bureaucracy run from Rome which came with a mandatory new and different religion. Since that lasted a few centuries, nobody bothered reinstalling a Pharaoh after the Romans left. Without a central power, nobody would build monuments the size of the pyramids, even if the rest of the culture is still active.

All cultures die out. . . (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126444)

"What also puzzles me, is why cultures that create such structures, just kinda sorta die out? Like the Egyptians who built pyramids, whoever built Stonehenge, and the like?"

Every culture (well, there might be one or two exceptions, I don't know), at least most, die out once enough time passes, for a variety of reasons.

Look at the Egyptians first the Greeks conquered them, and started intermarrying with them and influencing/changing their cultures, then the Romans, then eventually, the Arab Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula invaded and conquered them.

Ethnic and Cultural intermixing is the natural path of all societies, sooner or later. Eventually that mixing happens to such a degree that we say that a new people have emerged - but they still carry on the genetic and cultural legacies of the peope's that they descended from. The ethnicities/cultures that are most 'pure' at this point, I believe, are mostly the ones that due to geography, were the most isolated for the longest periods of time.

Re:All cultures die out. . . (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#35127306)

The only one I think I could point to as having not done that (yet) is China. It's a cultural juggernaut.

who dug it up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35124676)

It wouldn't stay uncovered for 10 000 years in a grassy field like that.

10,000 years, that's nothing--- (4, Informative)

kmdrtako (1971832) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124696)

Try 75,000 years old, in Africa.

http://www.adamscalendar.com/pages/michael-tellinger.php [adamscalendar.com]

Well, the guy might be a bit of a loon. Apparently he believes in little green men in flying saucers too, but the stone circle is apparently real.

Re:10,000 years, that's nothing--- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35125014)

I believe in little GREY men in flying saucers. Green men? BAH! Heresy!

Re:10,000 years, that's nothing--- (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125224)

I believe in little GREY men in flying saucers. Green men? BAH! Heresy!

What shade of grey? You're not one of those light-grey freaks, are you?

Re:10,000 years, that's nothing--- (1)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125060)

Well, the guy might be a bit of a loon.

Agreed that he, as you point out, might be. The issue with such of authors is that they usually get arguments out of their asses, tailored to support their theories and mostly circumventing scientific methods. Not that I mind, but it makes them all more difficult to be taken seriously.

More specific- how does one determine the age of such things? 75.000 is too paradigm shifty to get away with not explaining it enough. As I understand it, egyptologists still have lots of trouble getting accurate answers on similar questions (and they have been around quite a while, and I am under the assumption that they are practicing science and not guessing & witchcraft).

Re:10,000 years, that's nothing--- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35127948)

Well, the guy might be a bit of a loon. Apparently he believes in little green men in flying saucers too, but the stone circle is apparently real.

Look, every other architectural structure at the time was covered with detailed hieroglyphics. When is the academic community going to accept the fact the pharaohs of the Fourth Dynasty did not build the great pyramids?

Amazing, now let's peer-review the science! (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124710)

What's that you say?

Its location is a closely guarded secret.

Then that's not science, it's a bullshit claim by one guy who for all we know throw down some rocks in his back yard and took a picture of them. [citation needed]

Re:Amazing, now let's peer-review the science! (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124738)

What's that you say?

Its location is a closely guarded secret.

Then that's not science, it's a bullshit claim by one guy who for all we know throw down some rocks in his back yard and took a picture of them. [citation needed]

In other words an outcrop circle.

Re:Amazing, now let's peer-review the science! (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124746)

Can't be that hard to find. Its right beside the road from Geelong to Bacchus Marsh [google.com] .

Re:Amazing, now let's peer-review the science! (2)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#35127326)

If one had found a stone circle that you thought was Really Old and deserved investigating, I could see the merits of trying to minimize the location's publicity. The less people that walk in and take stones, or move them, or otherwise mess with it, the better. (That doesn't mean it can't be an outcrop circle, as Chrisq said. ;))

Another Aboriginal site (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124772)

If anybody is interested there is a spot in Lysterfield Lake Park [google.com] which seems to have been used for aboriginal ceremonies of some sort. The first time I found it they had firewood stacked up and wood for a little shelter. There were strange little piles of stones. Its on bare stone right at the top of a hill and quite close to the Boys Farm track. Since I was first there it has been cleared out by a fire. One time at that location a really big kangaroo came out of the bush at me, hopped past and disappeared. Obviously felt that it owned the place and I didn't.

Being older than Stonehenge isn't that big a deal. (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124822)

It's famous, but it's hardly a yardstick for antiquity.

Newgrange in Ireland is older than Stonehenge in England and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.

But 10,000 years old? The Aborigines seem to have them all well and truly beaten.

Coincidence? (1, Insightful)

Dahlgil (631022) | more than 3 years ago | (#35124962)

The article says this is also called the Mount Rothwell site. There is also an odd similarity with the appearance of the ground and rocks with those in New Mexico. Is anyone seeing the connection? Could I be on to something?

Re:Coincidence? (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125278)

...take out the "to" in your last sentence.

Re:Coincidence? (3, Insightful)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125478)

> Could I be on to something?

Rozwell.. Rothwell..

By golly, yes!

It seems that aliens are naming the places where they land -- and some of them lisp!

Re:Coincidence? (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#35127344)

We do say it's built with alien technology. :) Now to look for parentheses in cave art...

Older than Stonhenge (3, Informative)

stiggle (649614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125074)

This is nothing special or new - there are loads of stone circles and other landscape features which pre-date stonehenge and are astronomically aligned. Stonehenge isn't even the best stone circle in the area.

If you want to get up close to the stones and see a proper ancient landscape then head up to Avebury instead.
You have the village inside the huge circle, the other circles, the avenues, Silbury Hill, the Kennet Long Barrows, The Sanctuary.
All together Avebury is a much better AND cheaper stone circle complex to visit than stonehenge.

Re:Older than Stonhenge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35125800)

There'd be even more megaliths down their had the cult of Jesus not smashed them up to build their own churches.

What's with the 10,000 years thing? (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125132)

Why does that number get thrown around a lot? It's nice and round I suppose. If you're trying not to offend fundamentalists you'd really want to go with 6,000 years ago so is 10,000 a compromise of some sort?

Re:What's with the 10,000 years thing? (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126786)

Why would you want to avoid offending fundamentalists?

How did they date it? (so is it really older?) (2)

Dr La (1342733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125140)

The two web-articles give no clue how they arrived at the 10,000 year bp date. Has the structure been radiometrically dated in some way? Or is it just a wild guess?

As others already commented, even in Europe there are megalith sites with possible sun/moon allignments that are older than Stonehenge, b.t.w.

Re:How did they date it? (so is it really older?) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35125506)

The two web-articles give no clue how they arrived at the 10,000 year bp date. Has the structure been radiometrically dated in some way? Or is it just a wild guess?

They used the stones that were in fashion at the time. We know because fashion designers said so, therefore it must be true.

What purpose? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35125252)

I thought standing stones were primarily of use to agrarian societies; for planning when to plant seasonal crops and such. Probably the most impressive thing about indigenous Australian technology is the woomera, a rigid sling for hurling spears. Given that European explorers (Cook's crew) didn't find evidence of cultivation,it's hardly likely they were spearing maize. My personal (uninformed) opinion is that it was likely a technological leap that didn't quite take off. Clever scientist types of the day might have wanted to figure out a bit more about how those points of light up there moved around, and why they seem to repeat their patterns. They probably suffered death by woomera, setting their culture back a few thousand years until we could show up, invent the goon cask, and ruin it forever. If they'd made a calendar, then they might have made writing, started recording history as more than campfire stories. What Dirk Hartog found on the West coast, and what James Cook found on the East might have been very different.

*prepares to be modded negatively for the goon comment, to the exclusion of all other points*

Ancient Astronomy (0)

tazan (652775) | more than 3 years ago | (#35125908)

I used to be all impressed with ancient astronomy stories, things like being able to predict where the sun would be on a given day. I read all the Von Daneken books when I was a kid. Then one day it occurred to me that anyone with a stick and the ability to stick it in the ground could also predict where the sun was going to rise exactly 1 year in the future. Solar observatories are just a series of sticks stuck in the ground.

So? (1)

Dputiger (561114) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126836)

This semicircle of rocks would be far more interesting / culturally significant if there as an actual reason to see it as such. Stonehenge (and the other henges known to exist) were typically significant, large-scale endeavors that were years in the making. According to the linked articles, this is a few waist high rocks with some smaller, relatively easy to move outliers. I'm not disputing that it may be a sundial but I'd like to know more about the culture of the tribe(s) that've lived there and whether any bits of lore have been passed down through myth/legend. Assuming the find is validated, it points to how silly our understanding of "firsts" is. I suspect that if we could look backwards clearly, we'd see that discoveries like this were made and remade over and over during prerecorded history. When you consider how much time has passed and how great a part war, climate change, and prevailing ecological conditions may have played, it's small wonder that so few have survived.

what does a hunter/gatherer do with a calender? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35128710)

I could see an agrarian society using solstices & equinoxes to plan growing & harvesting times; but what usefulness would seasonal calender information have to a hunter/gatherer society?

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