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Who Built The Stones? (Megalithic)
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Mick Harper
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The most basic question is: can geologists tell man-made concrete from natural stone? You'd think the answer would be a resounding "Yes". If not, you might settle for a resounding "No". If not, you'd be thankful for a "We're not sure, we ought to be able to but in practice..." However, as Borry indicates, the answer you get is "Is that the time, I must be off" i.e. careful ignoral.

We ran into this when we were trying to convince people that Glastonbury Tor et al were artificial. Geologists weren't even to be drawn on what piled up natural material looks like! Though they have come up with some wondrous names for it. It's in the (very) Late Holocene, you know.
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Hatty
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The earliest written mention of 'sarsen' is in the 1640's. Most likely down to John Aubrey in his 'Topographical Collections of Wiltshire' or somesuch, I'd hazard a guess. It wasn't widely used until the 1870s onwards.

According to Wiki, sarsen is taken 'from the Wiltshire dialect' but Etymonline says it may be nicked from Cornish lore

The same word was applied to the ancient leavings outside Cornish tin mines, also known as Jews' pits, those being the terms that came to mind once to describe any ancient features, based on the Bible.

We noted an apparently Jewish association with the causeway connecting Marazion to St Michael's Mount and the main street in Penzance is Market Jew Street but there don't seem to be many traces of Jews in Wiltshire, the heartland of sarsens. Wiltshire bacon is probably not kosher.
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Boreades


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More on according to Wiki:

The word "sarsen" is a shortening of "Saracen stone" which arose in the Wiltshire dialect. "Saracen" was a common name for Muslims, and came by extension to be used for anything regarded as non-Christian, whether Muslim or pagan.[3][better source needed]


Note the "[better source needed]". The source [3] that the Wiki editor doesn't like is http://www.sarsen.org/

That might be because Sarsen.org isn't a "proper" academic site, and it has shown an interest in crazy things like ancient causeways and alignments.

Yes, but what are sarsens made of?

Sarsen stones are sandstone blocks found in quantity in the United Kingdom on Salisbury Plain and the Marlborough Downs in Wiltshire; in Kent; and in smaller quantities in Berkshire, Essex, Oxfordshire, Dorset, and Hampshire. They are the post-glacial remains of a cap of Cenozoic silcrete that once covered much of southern England.


OK, it's made of "silcrete". But what's that made of?

Silcrete is an indurated (resists crumbling or powdering) soil duricrust formed when surface sand and gravel are cemented by dissolved silica.

So if you mix sand and gravel with a dissolved silica cement, you have a "natural" form of concrete.
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Mick Harper
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Isn't it more likely that 'sarcen' is a local rendering of 'sandstone'?
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Mick Harper
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In Megalithic Empire we pooh-pooh all ideas of hunting (for food) on the grounds of simple inefficiency, ergs expended versus ergs gained. Thus 'falconry' to us is a way of training birds-of-prey (even domesticating them) to keep away wild birds of prey or, since corvids do that, more likely assist with various other duties of animal management. As per, orthodoxy disagrees with us

In case you didn’t know it, falconry is hunting using a bird of prey such as a hawk or a falcon. Falconry is an ancient practice, dating back to 4000 to 6000 B.C.

That is useful since the spread clearly amounts to 'we don't know'. But that is not why I am bringing you the latest from medium.com. It is this

Many of the sayings we commonly use today can be traced back to this form of hunting.

While not endorsing the actual etymologies, I could not help but wonder how such words and phrases would enter the language if falconry was, as advertised, merely the plaything of the idle rich

fed up
under your thumb
wrapped round your little finger
hoodwinked
haggard
waiting with bated breath
end of my tether
A boozer
rouse
codger/caddy

https://medium.com/knowledge-stew/modern-sayings-that-came-from-falconry-203d196e3466
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Hatty
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I could not help but wonder how such words and phrases would enter the language if falconry was, as advertised, merely the plaything of the idle rich

My first impression was some or even most of the terms can be quite plausibly associated with animal training or domestication, and may have leached into falconry rather than derived from it.

Out of curiosity I checked the official etymology of 'haggard' and was told it only pertains to falconry from the 1560s. 'Hag' as we say in TME is related to hedge but etymologists say haggard is from French, hagard, meaning distressed, distraught, haunted which seems to suggest falcons didn't have a happy time.
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Mick Harper
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This got the full page treatment in the Guardian this weekend and while I'm not knocking it as a therapeutic and life-building exercise, which it clearly is, I was interested in it à propos the above strictures on the limitations of hunting as a food source.

Maori hunter helps women swap food banks for rifles
"Nothing's guaranteed except knowledge like this. No matter what, I can go out there and feed my family."

First of all, a rifle was essential. This was not available during the time of hunter-gatherers and the only period I can think of when hunting-for-food and the rifle overlapped was eighteenth century poaching. When presumably firing off a gun at the dead of night was unavailable too. But it got me thinking about poaching. Is it hunting and is it for food? The more one does think about it the more unlikely it seems, yet it always dominates accounts of rural law and order.

But the New Zealand situation was unusual in one respect. Apparently the main quarry is goat and deer which are considered vermin in New Zealand since they got loose during the early days of European settlement and have overrun the local flora and fauna. Far from 'poaching' the government should be offering bounties. "Send for Robin Hood and his Merrie Men, there have been more escapes from the deer parks." Even in a state of nature, how abundant and how accessible are 'game' animals? Especially game animals who have learned their chief predator is bipeds with bows-and-arrows. Though of course when the Maoris themselves arrived the local fauna hadn't learned this useful survival skill and were soon extinct.

One thing wasn't covered by the article: how did these women get their food from the kill-site to the freezer? Do hunter-gatherers need all-terrain land cruisers?
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