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Excavations at Stonehenge May Answer Questions

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the not-the-most-up-beat-tourist-attraction dept.

Television 160

Smivs writes "The BBC are getting set to fund a dig at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. The two-week dig will try to establish, once and for all, some precise dating for the creation of the monument. An article from the BBC news website explains how the dig will investigate the significance of the smaller bluestones that stand inside the giant sarsen pillars. 'Researchers believe these rocks, brought all the way from Wales, hold the secret to the real purpose of Stonehenge as a place of healing. The researchers leading the project are two of the UK's leading Stonehenge experts — Professor Tim Darvill, of the University of Bournemouth, and Professor Geoff Wainwright, of the Society of Antiquaries. They are convinced that the dominating feature on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire was akin to a "Neolithic Lourdes" — a place where people went on a pilgrimage to get cured. Modern techniques have established that many of these people had clearly traveled huge distances to get to south-west England, suggesting they were seeking supernatural help for their ills.'"

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An alternate interpretation (4, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927710)

Pardon me, but I'm skeptical when I hear all of the sweetness and light interpretations. How about something more bloodthirsty, but just as reasonable?

A significant proportion of the newly discovered Neolithic remains show clear signs of skeletal trauma. Some had undergone operations to the skull, or had walked with a limp, or had broken bones.
Slaves, kidnapped in other parts of England, forced to work building the monument. They had lots of skeletal injuries because it was dangerous work. ( Impromptu graveyards near the Egyptian pyramids had lots of crunched skeletons also )

...sacred circle at the monument is dominated by bluestone chippings...
Theses were war trophies, brought home and shattered to destroy their magic.

Re:An alternate interpretation (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927738)

Pardon me, but I'm skeptical when I hear all of the sweetness and light interpretations. How about something more bloodthirsty, but just as reasonable?

Why are you skeptical? It's pretty well-known that primitive tribes were peace-loving herbivores who lived in harmony with Nature. It wasn't until the white man came and introduced war and slavery that these tribes came to know such things.

Re:An alternate interpretation (5, Interesting)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928092)

You were modded funny but you bring up a really good point about the myth of the noble savage. There are mass kill sites all over North America where various American Indian tribes stampeded thousands of buffalo over cliffs in order to get a few hundred pounds of meat. I doubt very much that there was much in the way of ancient, mystic, natural magic going on. The average life span of a Neolithic man was somewhere in the range of 29 years.

It's even worse (5, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22929042)

It's even worse. Massacring buffaloes, well, I guess some animal rights people would be appalled, but it's really no worse than a modern slaughterhouse. (Though, granted, it does disprove the myth of the enlightened herbivore living in harmony with nature.)

The worse thing is: we have plenty of proof that they massacred each other just as well.

E.g., there are remains of a village in Sand Canyon Pueblo which was, effectively, exterminated by some attackers in the 13'th century. (I.e., centuries before those guys saw a white man at all.) The attackers literally slaughtered everyone where they could catch them, smashed whatever they could smash, and burned the village down. It was never re-occupied.

While that's admittedly a rather extreme example, simple raids to steal each other's food and women were a lot more common. As little as 13% of the tribes could count as "peaceful", in that they only raided their neighbours no more than once a year. So they killed a few, had a few of their own killed, life went on.

Plus, here's an interesting thought for the noble savage proponents: if those tribes were so peaceful and living in harmony, how'd they get a warrior culture in the first place? You don't get a seafaring culture if you're on a mountain top, and you don't get a warrior culture if you're a peaceful confederation of tribes.

Or long before Stonehenge or any contact with the white man, in Nubia there's a 12,000 year old cemetery where half the people had died of violence. It would be another 8 millennia or so until their conquest by Egypt, or 7 until Egypt itself got united by force, so it's hard to blame it on learning violence from the Egyptians.

Just about the only "bright" side is that there's little evidence of neolithic slavery. They just killed male prisoners. If you were lucky, they'd kill you quickly and eat you. If not, they'd slowly torture you to death. (The Iroquois, for example, among many others, were pretty good at it.)

Women were usually bounty of war, though, so I guess by modern standards it would count as sexual slavery. That practice continued all through the bronze age and early iron age (i..e., as late as ancient Greece and early Rome), by which time though it was properly filed as slavery. (Though still considered perfectly normal and civilized warfare.) Of course, the places which had remained tribal and largely stone age, continued it well after the fall of Rome.

The history of Europe and Middle East is funny too in that aspect, in that we have the iron age catastrophe. We still don't know exactly what happened there, but whole cities were razed (and some never recovered or were abandoned and never rebuilt), whole populations displaced or enslaved, and generally it's destruction on an unprecedented scale. Europe rushed into the iron age arguably prematurely (bronze was still tougher than early iron) because, whatever happened there, thoroughly disrupted the tin trade, and created a bronze shortage.

And for a parting thought, here's a funny one: population losses in modern warfare are measured in single digit percent. The USA lost some 0.32% of its population in WW2, the UK 0.94%, Germany lost a whopping 10.47%, and the big hit was the USSR with a whole 13.71%. (And in the USSR, probably half of them were due to Stalin's catastrophic leadership, so they could have been avoided.) The average for all countries involved is 3.70%.

Well that's peanuts compared to tribal warfare. By tribal warfare standards, anywhere between 25% and 60% of the population would be killed in the nearly continuous raids and fighting. Roll that around in your head. You'd be anywhere between 2 and 5 times more likely to die in a war as a member of some "noble savage" tribe, than in the USSR during WW2.

Heck, even Leningrad in 3 years of siege, famine and bombing, lost about a third of its population. And we see that as a major tragedy. (And rightfully so.) Now think this: in many tribes you'd be more likely to be killed in tribal war, than if you happened to be in Leningrad in WW2. Now that's a scary thought.

Re:It's even worse (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22929700)

Are there any noble savage proponents left?

Re:An alternate interpretation (2, Informative)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 6 years ago | (#22929338)

'Average life span' can be extremely misleading due to the high levels of infant mortality which really hit average life span figures hard.

Even in ancient times there are records of people living to 100 and it wasn't that uncommon for many to live into their 50's, 60's and even 70's. It's just that for everyone who lived to 70, several would also die at an age of only 6 months or so.

Re:An alternate interpretation (2, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928196)

It wasn't until the white man came and introduced war and slavery that these tribes came to know such things.
Till.. the white man.. came.. to England..

Heh. Clever what you did there.

Re:An alternate interpretation (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928714)

Bloody Sais - trampling on us real Britons!

Re:An alternate interpretation (2, Funny)

Malevolent Tester (1201209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22929504)

Justice for the Beaker People! Send the Celts back where they came from.

Re:An alternate interpretation (2, Interesting)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928838)

Aye, bizarrely enough it seems from genetic evidence that the first inhabitants of the British isles came from north of what it is today Spain and Portugal.

Re:An alternate interpretation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22929396)

Aye, bizarrely enough it seems from genetic evidence that the first inhabitants of the British isles came from north of what it is today Spain and Portugal.

Funny, I always thought humans evolved there (that's sarcasm by the way; as in, they had to come from somewhere didn't they?).

Re:An alternate interpretation (1)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22929562)

Aye, bizarrely enough it seems from genetic evidence that the first inhabitants of the British isles came from north of what it is today Spain and Portugal.
Yes, perhaps; and before that they came from Asia, and before that, Africa, like everyone else. What's your point? The first inhabitants of Britannia were still white. For that matter, the first inhabitants (and indeed current inhabitants) of Iberia were white. Were you thinking of American-style "Latinos"?

Re:An alternate interpretation (2, Informative)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22929936)

The people that settled Europe were likely black or brown, and over time lack-of-exposure to the sun caused their skin to fade to white or pink.

(Dark-skinned humans would have suffered vitamin C deficits in colder, darker europe, leading to an evolutionary pressure in favor of light-skinned persons who absorbed more light through their skin & survived longer.)

Re:An alternate interpretation (5, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927816)

The injuries were inconsistant with Stonehenge-type construction, mostly very standard Neolithic injuries. The skull modifications are known from elsewhere as very primitive surgery with an amazingly high survival rate. They've found evidence of healing from the cranial modifications and they've found the tools used - superior to anything less than modern surgical steel. They also have the settlement where the workforce lived and are able to show that the workers were not the ones buried. Also, the Neolithic people were bigger on stealing magic for their own use than destroying it. This is backed up by the fact that those blue stones were deliberately quarried for Stonehenge (they found the quarry). You don't make an enemy something they can use so that you can destroy it... unless you're from Fox News or SCO. In short, the bloodthirsty theory doesn't hold with the available data.

Re:An alternate interpretation (1, Insightful)

woolio (927141) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927848)

They've found evidence of healing from the cranial modifications and they've found the tools used - superior to anything less than modern surgical steel ... Also, the Neolithic people were bigger on stealing magic for their own use than destroying it.

Advanced medical technology? Magic? These don't seem to go together...

Re:An alternate interpretation (2, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927940)

Advanced medical technology? Magic? These don't seem to go together...

Advanced medical technology and medicine-man magic do not go together, and I seriously question the interpretation being given on those grounds. Medical experts (for the time) would not have relied on 250-tonne talismen. Now, if someone were to suggest that this was a national hospice or retirement home, where nobody seriously expects to physically recover but where some sort of emotional "recovery" was desired in their final days, that I could see. And, yes, I doubt their knowledge of psychology was up to much, so that might well have been "magic" to some.

Re:An alternate interpretation (2, Interesting)

DaCentaur (1001537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928626)

Why would an advanced (for their time) knowledge of medicine & surgical practices preclude the belief in magic?!?!? Humans are quite individualistic and so it would be quite wrong to assume that there would be a uniformity in beliefs. There have always been AND are always going to be differing groups of people REGARDLESS of the age/era/whatever.

Some might have believed in magic, some in God/gods, and others in science.

Re:An alternate interpretation (5, Funny)

phallstrom (69697) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927964)

2000 B.C. - Here, eat this root.
1000 A.D. - That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.
1850 A.D. - That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
1940 A.D. - That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
1985 A.D. - That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.
2000 A.D. - That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root

Re:An alternate interpretation (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22928088)

2000 A.D. - That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root
I don't know, he's all slimy and smelly, but if you think it will work, I'll club and eat the root admin tomorrow. Wouldn't be the first time.

Re:An alternate interpretation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22928496)

2008 A.D. - Here, smoke this bud

Re:An alternate interpretation (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928978)

2012 A.D. - That root won't help you. We're all going to die!

Re:An alternate interpretation (3, Informative)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928042)

I think he was trying to refer to this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trephining [wikipedia.org] .

Advanced medical procedures do not = advanced knowledge.
Maybe they drilled the holes to let out the evil spirits affecting the patient...who really knows for sure?

Re:An alternate interpretation (3, Funny)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928064)

Advanced medical technology? Magic? These don't seem to go together...
That's when the time travel comes in.

Or perhaps vampires.

Re:An alternate interpretation (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928136)

Advanced medical technology? Magic? These don't seem to go together...

That's when the time travel comes in.

Or perhaps vampires.
Or very neat zombies....

Re:An alternate interpretation (1)

RockModeNick (617483) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928176)

If you've never enjoyed the pure, superoxygenated blood directly from your victims brain, slowly sucked out... wait, this is a HUMAN massage board! Last time I feed of a drunk chick I pick up at a bar...

Religious doctors DO exist, even today. (2, Insightful)

diggyk (900186) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928120)

You mean you've never met a Christian or otherwise religious doctor?

Re:An alternate interpretation (3, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928150)

Advanced medical technology? Magic? These don't seem to go together...

The ability to precisely cut into the skull, combined with a possibly entirely coincidental therapeutic effect, does not indicate "advanced medical technology." Relieving intracranial pressure can lessen the degree of brain injury, yes -- but there is nothing to suggest that trepannation was carried out because of this understanding. It was most likely carried out in a belief that it allowed evil spirits, gasses, or whatever else, to escape the skull.

In other words, it is a sign of magical belief, not a repudiation of it.

Re:An alternate interpretation (2, Insightful)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928264)

Sometimes the explanations of the day didn't make complete sense, but they weren't always entirely superstition either. Take the practice of bleeding as a medical treatment. Nosebleeds can be a symptom of high blood pressure; seeing a nosebleed, the medieval doctor thinks "this fellow has too much blood and it's forcing its way out, let's remove some of it and relieve the pressure"... which reduces blood pressure, if only temporarily.

I'd guess the idea of trepanning came from something similar -- the patient showed signs of pressure inside the skull (bulging eyes, bleeding from the ears, etc.) and the doctor of the day did the obvious to let the excess out, much as one might puncture a blister to relieve pain and pressure.

The logic may not have been complete by modern medical knowledge and standards, but I think assuming it was all a belief in spirits gives too much credit to concurrent religious powers (the people most likely to keep written records) who didn't want anyone other than their gods to be seen as having any power over your health.

Re:An alternate interpretation (0)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928340)

They don't go together until you understand that magic is originally a word from the creator race which used stone henge as an operating/anal probe site to cure and investigate their experiments. "Magic" originally meant "medicine to heal" in the language of the Grays [wikipedia.org] but when we mimicked the techniques, it often resulted in disappointment unless tricks where employed. Hence the smoke and mirrors we associate with magic.

This explains everything, the concept of a god or gods, angels coming from the sky, giants, flying chariots, dragons, 9/11, the immaculate conception, George Bush, the number 23, the Grey hair in my beard- everything.

BTW, I'm not looking to get into a bible thumping challenge here. In case anyone can't tell, I am taking this opportunity to make a joke.

--
Dear Monica, If Hillary keeps watching that phone every night at 3:00 am to prepare for her run for my job in 8 years, we can get away with anything. Love, Bill

Re:An alternate interpretation (4, Interesting)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928530)

Surgeons have experimented with flint scalpels made by modern flint knappers and found them as sharp as surgical steel, easy to sterilize and better at holding their edge. I don't have a cite, but I remember from many years ago reading about a flint knapper who ended up having tools he made used for his own cardiac surgery. Yes, it's quite possible for neolithic medicine men to have better surgical tools than anything less than the best modern steel, even if their understanding of the human body left something to be desired.

Re:An alternate interpretation (1)

Andrzej Sawicki (921100) | more than 6 years ago | (#22929732)

Advanced medical technology? Magic? These don't seem to go together...
Why not? One could be confused for the other if you didn't know better.

Re:An alternate interpretation (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927820)

Slaves, kidnapped in other parts of England, forced to work building the monument. They had lots of skeletal injuries because it was dangerous work. ( Impromptu graveyards near the Egyptian pyramids had lots of crunched skeletons also )

Yes, that's certainly more bloodthirsty. But it doesn't answer the question of why it was built. That would just answer part of the who.

Re:An alternate interpretation (4, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927948)

That would just answer part of the who.

I think that was Pete Townshend.

Re:An alternate interpretation (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927882)

"Researchers believe these rocks, brought all the way from Wales, hold the secret to the real purpose of Stonehenge as a place of healing"

Jim's Stones affectionetly known as the "Peoples Temple"...

"come one guys, trust me, stand in the center during the eclipse, and drink this"

Re:An alternate interpretation (2, Insightful)

MrPloppy (1117689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927902)

Yeah you must be right, I am sure the researchers have no idea what their talking about and came up with their ideas whilst throwing back beers at the pub in Amesbury. "Theories about Stonehenge are cheap; proof is precious," commented BBC Timewatch editor, John Farren.

Re:An alternate interpretation (2, Funny)

Crunchie Frog (791929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928474)

Yeah you must be right, I am sure the researchers have no idea what their talking about and came up with their ideas whilst throwing back beers at the pub in Amesbury.
Ah, I see we have met the same archaeologists.

Re:An alternate interpretation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22927910)

Troll.

Operations to the skull are different than injuries and you can tell so when you study the bones and the subsequent healing of them. You are thinking way too one-dimensionally. There is a lot more information in broken skulls than you think.

Re:An alternate interpretation (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927954)

According to an ABC News [abc.net.au] story I heard this morning, there's a simpler explanation for the bluestone chips:

"In the early 1900s there were signs in Amesbury (the nearest town to the site) offering the hire of a hammer so that people could come up here to chip off their own bit of bluestone," Darvill [archaeology professor at Bournemouth University] said.

Re:An alternate interpretation (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 6 years ago | (#22929300)

The interpretations are what the physical evidence points to, it was almost certainly a religious structure after all. Are you suggesting we should ignore the large body of physical evidence in favor of the more stereotypical, 'ruthless barbarian' society advanced by the invading Romans?

From a factual point of view, there isn't really any evidence at all of widespread 'war slaves' etc. being used by the stone age tribes of north-western Europe. It's the sort of thing which is quite easy to research. In Egypt, the Mediterranean and particularly, the middle-east, there is lots of archaeological evidence of an ancient mass slave trade. Before the Roman invasion there has not been found hardly any slavery equipment in north-western Europe, which you would expect to find if there was wide-spread slavery.

Talk about digging at the past (0, Offtopic)

Martix (722774) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927712)

Talk about digging at the past Is this first post ...??

It would be cool.... (4, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927716)

It would be cool if the BBC could get Spinal Tap to do the soundtrack for the program!!!

Re:It would be cool.... (5, Funny)

xPsi (851544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927826)

Indeed, now we can get finally down to the business of figuring out "who they were" and "what they were doing." Not to mention important followup questions like: "where are they now, the little people of Stonehenge? And what would they say if we were here tonight?"

Re:It would be cool.... (3, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927970)

If our ancient ancestors were alive today, I think the biggest thing on their minds would be "why is it so dark in here?" (with apologies to Terry Pratchett)

Re:It would be cool.... (2, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928246)

Indeed. Although Pratchett wasn't the first to make that joke.

But more in the spirit of today, we should, as a society, build a <really big monument> as mysterious and long-lasting as possible, just to jerk around our long-off descendants.

Re:It would be cool.... (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928272)

What would they say if they were here right now??

Probably, "Get off my lawn!!"

Re:It would be cool.... (1)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927836)

I hear they tried to, but a discrepancy with the units used to measure the thing set in string an unfortunate chain of events. The band built a model of stonehenge to practice to, but in doing so unlocked the inner dark magic of stonehenge, unleashing an army of angry dwarves that devoured the drummer. The band were quoted as saying they would feel worse if they weren't sedated, but nonetheless could not go on to do the soundtrack.

Earth Hour last Sat. night a massive flop... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22927960)

...except in North Korea, where the lights are always out. Enjoy your self-imposed slavery, you enviro-weenies.

Re:It would be cool.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22929034)

Nobody knows who they were, or what they were doing...

Loudmouthed drunk British morons (1, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927724)

Things done by loudmouthed drunk British morons:

Crop circles: check
Football hooligans: check
Blue Woads: check

Stonehenge: ???

Occam's razor, people.

Re:Loudmouthed drunk British morons (2, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927730)

So what you're saying is that Stonehenge is the British equivalent of the US space program?

Re:Loudmouthed drunk British morons (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927916)

Ahh... or possibly...

1. Find Old Structure.
2. Stonehenge.
3. Tell The Public We dont Know Why Its There
4. ???
5. Create Tourism.
6. Profit!!!

Re:Loudmouthed drunk British morons (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928234)

[laughing] Just the other day I was looking at a picture of Stonehenge, and thinking: Why does it *have* to mean ANYTHING? why does it have to be functional? Maybe it was a dance hall. Maybe it was a slaughterhouse. Maybe someone got bored and conned his friends into helping him build a stone junkpile to mystify the tribal elders with.

As to the giant stone-and-lime M on the hill above Bozeman Montana, which has long mystified anthropologists whose life's work is digging the Weans... in truth, it only meant that a large group of fratboys were sober enough on a Sunday morning to pile rocks together and to get random freshmen to tote buckets of whitewash up the hill.

The BBC andTimewatch are running this bigtime (3, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927766)

I know, it's the evil site [kuro5hin.org] , but you'll find every link I could find from the Timewatch team and the BBC. The Timewatch website gets daily podcats from the dig and hourly news bulletins, so this is no minor event.

Just saw... (2, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928360)

The Grauniad [guardian.co.uk] has an excellent description of the dig and what they expect to find. Knowing they are making such a small dig and that holes are involved likely means they used GPR to sweep the area and find sections of ground that were clearly disturbed in ancient times and were about the right size and depth.

They're going to find the plans (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22927776)

Drawn on an ancient napkin...

Re:They're going to find the plans (2, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 6 years ago | (#22929360)

Except that they'll find that the original plans called for stones 36" tall rather than 36'.

How Many Date Nuts in a Bowl? (5, Funny)

Prius (1170883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927794)

I didn't know you could actually get the 'exact date' it was built. I bet they built it on a thursday. Not monday, because nobody wants to do any serious work after the weekend. I know I don't. Not tuesday because that's Take Your Kid to Work day, so they can only make little Stonehenges. Maybe Woodhenges. Then they spend all wednesday cleaning up after the kids and deciding never to do that again (even though they always have another one). On friday, everyone leaves early so they can't get yelled at all weekend by their bosses and clubbed to death. And nobody works on Saturday and Sunday. Only crazy people. That just leaves thursday because they eventually get guilty about not doing any work and decide to do something.

Re:How Many Date Nuts in a Bowl? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928006)

If they do isotope dating, there might possibly be enough material to get to within a few years. In other cases, although they don't know what year Silsbury Hill was made, they do know it was made in August (due to a specific larval stage in insects found in the chalk.)

Re:How Many Date Nuts in a Bowl? (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928068)

Was climate/seasonal differences accounted for when deciding on August?
I am seriously curious about this.

Interesting info, thanks!

Re:How Many Date Nuts in a Bowl? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928084)

I don't believe so, no. The larvae had wings, and the only month that insect has wings is August, but in all the studying of archaeological texts and English Heritage books, I have not seen any mention of whether climate or seasonal variations could change this. The fact that it doesn't get mentioned suggests either that has been shown not to be a factor - or that you're the first to think of it. My best recommendation is to e-mail English Heritage and find out if they've any record on what studies were done.

Re:How Many Date Nuts in a Bowl? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22929366)

...the only month that insect has wings is August, but in all the studying of archaeological texts and English Heritage books, I have not seen any mention of whether climate or seasonal variations could change this.

Have you tried biology texts?

Re:How Many Date Nuts in a Bowl? (1)

Prius (1170883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928100)

August 8th, 2500 B.C.? No way! That's the day my great, great.....(some very long time later)...great granddad's brother was born?

Re:How Many Date Nuts in a Bowl? (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 6 years ago | (#22929340)

Maybe Woodhenges.

Woodhenge is about an half-hour to hour walk (past the barrows) roughly to the NE from Stonehenge. There is no wood left (obviously), but brown-painted concrete posts have been placed to replicate the original locations. more... [this-is-amesbury.co.uk]

over time (4, Funny)

evwah (954864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927840)

isn't this a bit simplistic? I imagine that over the thousands of years, it was used for many purposes, built, rebuilt, rearranged, burned down, fell over, THEN sank into the swamp. wait where was I?

Stonehenge is overrated (4, Interesting)

Centurix (249778) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927842)

I lived in Amesbury for a short while (I'd say a stonesthrow away from Stonehenge), Avebury circle is much more interesting, plus it has a pub in the middle with a haunted well. After getting drunk, you can stagger down the road to Silbury hill and fall asleep at the top.

Re:Stonehenge is overrated (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928118)

I believe the more prosaic description is that if Stonehenge is a church, Avebury is a cathedral. Avebury - two stone avenues, a giant stone circle, two mini stone circles, and an eight-foot-deep, three-quarter-mile-across trench, is an amazing site/sight. If, however, there is an afterlife, I will personally hunt the ghosts of those who shattered the stones at Avebury with fire, and I will be doing such things to them that should be ectoplasmically impossible.

"as a place of healing" (2, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927904)

Researchers believe these rocks, brought all the way from Wales, hold the secret to the real purpose of Stonehenge as a place of healing.

Sounds like they've already made up their minds.

Of course, this could be bias introduced by the uninformed.

Re:"as a place of healing" (2, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927976)

It's a hypothesis that they're testing.. Why does everyone on Slashdot think that they know better than the people who spend their free time studying this stuff?

Oblig. 'I welcome our new Hypothetical OverLords!' (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928108)

Are you serious?

You must be new here.

Also, remember this kiddies:

In Soviet Russia, hypothesis tests YOU!

Re:"as a place of healing" (3, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928168)

For 90% of Slashdot, its the reason for being. For Slashdotters familiar with British archaeology, there is also a certain level of malice. Many sites in Britain were plundered for treasure by the profession, destroying much. That's why Silbury Hill needed emergency repairs - the damage was about to destroy the remains. We also remember Woodhenge, whose postholes were pumped with concrete, destroying any archaeological data to be had. We remember Seahenge, where the site was destroyed and then the notes kept secret (so when a fire destroyed the warehouse they were in, the data was lost forever). We remember listed monuments, such as a Napoleonic wall in Derbyshire, being illegally destroyed with English Heritage remaining silent. We remember English Heritage destroying more than a few ancient buildings themselves. We remember the campaign to drive a road underground by Stonehenge, which would have destroyed the very sites they are now uncovering.

I think, from what I've seen, that this work is competently done. But to trust an archaeologist much beyond that is asking a lot.

Re:"as a place of healing" (4, Insightful)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928690)

We remember Seahenge, where the site was destroyed and then the notes kept secret (so when a fire destroyed the warehouse they were in, the data was lost forever)

Links? All I can find is that English Heritage moved the site, under controversy (mostly, it seems, by modern "druids" who have no connection to whatever religion or culture built the site, and no idea of it's original purpose), to be preserved instead of allowing the sea to destroy it. It was studied, and the findings were published in Nature [bbc.co.uk] . It's going to be open to the public, preservation work now done, this month in Lynn Museum [bbc.co.uk] , near the original site.

So, do you have any proof to this or any other claim, or are you just trolling?

Re:"as a place of healing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22928278)

Because we spend our free time reading /. and this was posted on /., ergo, we're the experts!

Re:"as a place of healing" (2, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928182)

Bias is unavoidable. As long as there are other people studying to prove different theories, we'll be fine. Our main trouble would be if everyone unites behind a single theory, then we don't get anywhere unless completely incontrovertible evidence is (accidentally) discovered disproving it.

Yes...but were there... (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927918)

Yes, but were there any ancient Ponies discovered?

Re:Yes...but were there... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928030)

Don't be silly. What would Dartmoor ponies be doing so far from Tom Bombadil?

True purpose wasn't that significant (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927922)

In actuality, the regional chieftan's wife just wanted a new stone table for the kitchen nook. She drew up a picture for a local mason contractor, but she accidentally jotted down the height as 20' instead of 20". The contractor decided to go ahead with the project as drawn, figuring that questioning the plans would achieve little other than reducing his potential compensation for construction costs (which the chieftan would have to cover in any event to save face). The rest is history.

British Knockoffs of Irish Originals (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927942)

Geoffrey of Monmouth's ~1136 book _History of the Kings of Britain_ says that Merlin brought Stonehenge from Ireland [britarch.ac.uk] .

I say that the British just copied an Irish model, instead of schlepping all that rock across the Irish Sea.

Re:British Knockoffs of Irish Originals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22928410)

As usually...

Re:British Knockoffs of Irish Originals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22928878)

Umm....the Irish ARE British. These are the British Isles.

Perhaps you meant to say 'An English knockoff of an Irish original'?

In that case, of course, you must be able to point to the original site in Ireland?...

Burial Mounds (1)

Maint_Pgmr_3 (769003) | more than 6 years ago | (#22927944)

Has anyone ever thought that this could be the interior of one of the burial mounds that they have found around the same area???

Post and lentil {soup} to support a framework for a roof, slab the royalty and cover with dirt. Instant tomb.

worth a try.

Re:Burial Mounds (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928046)

Many strange stone monuments (three stones with a stone on top, common in Cornwall and Europe) are believed to be exactly what you are describing. Many smaller stone circles are also likely the remains of round barrows. Stonehenge's continuous interior building, lating 2,000-2,500 years, suggests it has always been open.

Re:Burial Mounds (1)

dajak (662256) | more than 6 years ago | (#22929744)

You mean the dolmen [wikipedia.org] south of the Rhine and the hunebed/hünengrab (which is confused with the dolmen in the English wikipedia) north of the Rhine in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, and Poland. There are thousands of them, and most are older than Stonehenge (3450-3250 BC).

Many hunebeds are a lot bigger than you suggest: hunebed D27 [wikipedia.org] , the largest one in the Netherlands, for instance consists of 42 large stones. The majority have been harvested for stone (which doesn't naturally occur here) in the past. Just 54 remain in (what used to be) hard to reach areas. Some have been known to be uncovered for many centuries in the Netherlands (they are first described in a 1660 encyclopedia) while others are the result of more recent pre-WWII excavations of intact burrows. There is also one hunebed burrow that was discovered in 1982 and in its entirety moved to a museum.

For some reason everyone who discovers them immediately wants to dig them out. Maybe Stonehenge was just discovered and dug out by a successor culture who built a visitor centre in it. Didn't they also find the remains of a Roman visitor centre at Stonehenge?

Last Credible Article of the Night? (0, Offtopic)

lordsid (629982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928004)

Last Credible Article of the Night? I wonder.

review of nazi dictatorships may provide answers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22928054)

many of US were lead far off the path in hopes of benefitting from the fairytail pie-in-the-sky billionerrors madison ave. style mass hypenosys/hoodwinking/bushwhacking. let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

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Simple (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928152)

Stonehenge is simply a monument to Pi. Just look at it. They had trouble with the squiggle, however. Squiggles made the stone fall off, and thus only the non-squiggle ones remain.
                 

How to build your own stonehenge (1)

Revenger75 (1246176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928154)

Here is a video I found on youtube a while back showing how Stonehenge could be built by only one person.

Youtube Video [youtube.com]

fir%st post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22928178)

nearly 7wo years unpleasant and Juliet 40,000 decentrFalized

Ehhh (1)

Martigan80 (305400) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928260)

A bit early maybe?

err (1)

TurinPT (1226568) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928356)

Ok lets say they fund the operation, a few weeks later after much digging, money and man-power spent, they find the answer.
Now what? they change the little info plate at the site, someone edits wikipedia and everyone else goes home.
What exactly did the world gain with this?

There is a problem here... (1)

Dr_Ish (639005) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928390)

Of course, if you talk to archaeologists, they will tell you that the best evidence about Stonehenge is to be found in the Aubrey Holes. Unfortunately, many of these were destroyed when English Heritage and their 'culture as tourism' friends built the new car park and the underground tunnel. Given the way that the BBC behaves these days, we can expect minimal real research work, with maximal hype. This is a damn shame. Yet more Wiki-Science...

Insufficiently rude about English Heritage (2, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928712)

AKA "English mindless bureaucracy and cultural vandalism ltd."

English heritage is the thing we have that, had it existed at the time, would have prevented every single one of our ancient monuments from being built. They also employ people who, not to put too fine a point on it, lie about buildings and monuments in order to get them included in the scope of English Heritage. These are the plonkers who waited till Michael Eavis (he of Pilton Festival fame) had restored the Pilton Tithe Barn, then Grade A listed it, then tried to have the (local craftsmen built) facade of his house pulled down because it was no longer in keeping with their Grade A listed area. These are the low grade semi morons whose ridiculously over the top attempts to get pork barrel funding for the Stonehenge site redevelopment have prevented the relatively minor fixes to the roads around Stonehenge that would do much to ease the congestion. The worst thing about Stonehenge, in fact, is the nasty wire fence around it which is poorly maintained and does much to spoil the look of the site. The next worst thing is the awful visitor centre, which is only next worst because it is less visible from the road.

I'm afraid that, given the background of English Heritage and the dumbing down of the BBC, this is just a joke claim to try and get some funding for somebody's idiot project. Really we should get them to build a concrete model of Stonehenge - perhaps twice the size because most tourists comment on how small it is - near the Olympic site, then have the whole lot of them and their horrible visitor centre bugger off to London and leave Stonehenge to the locals. It is, after all, a Wiltshire monument, and people from London should stop trying to take over the entire country.

Re:Insufficiently rude about English Heritage (1)

Peter Nikolic (1093513) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928800)

>people from London should stop trying to take over the entire country. Never a truer word said in fact ring fence london and keep em all in there we may all get a bit of quite and sanity then Oh and move the seat of government out as well (but leave the plonkers there )

Before Stonehenge... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928568)

  • ...
  • And the druids! Long robes, long beards, (early transvestites, didn't get their shaving together).
  • They built Stonehenge, one of the biggest henges in the world.
  • No one's built a henge like that ever since.
  • No one knows what the fuck a henge is.
  • Before Stonehenge there was Woodhenge and Strawhenge.
  • ...
- Eddie Izzard, Dress to Kill

Stonehenge == Dude who liked to move rocks. (1)

brado77 (686260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928644)

Typical science...over complicating the simple. Here's the most likely theory on how Stonehenge was built. One guy with no machinery moving multi-ton rocks by himself:

http://j-walkblog.com/index.php?/weblog/posts/moving_big_rocks [j-walkblog.com]

Amazing what can happen when one exchanges the Birkenstocks and wire-rim glasses for a pair of work boots and goggles.

Re:Stonehenge == Dude who liked to move rocks. (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22929004)

Yea, great how he moved those blocks around on a flat concrete surface. That wouldn't work in a muddy field hi's little stone underneath would just sink into the ground and it wouldn't help bring the rocks over mountains, hill, valleys, rivers, hundreds of miles from the quarry in Wales.

picks and showels (1)

alxkit (941262) | more than 6 years ago | (#22928730)

Why dig? I'll tell you what was there. Stonehenge used to be a replica of LHC in a parallel universe... Before they powered it on, that is.

omgponies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22929024)

where's the tag?

Why all the Religion? (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22929452)

I think Stonehenge was a Neolithic Beer Hall.

RS

Is this article dated correctly? (1)

siglercm (6059) | more than 6 years ago | (#22929818)

I'm being serious. I can't tell. Was this supposed to be dated April 1st?
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