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Mega-Talk (Megalithic)
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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Wile E. Coyote wrote:
...the primacy of red over blue.


Indeed... Though once in a blue moon it may temporarily seem not to be so.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Boreades wrote:
I recommend it to all AE Brethren as a route to domestic harmony and peace.


I can't commend my experiments with legal highs, looking at the stars and time tunneling.... I woke up the other morning, in the garden, totally saturated. I had apparently spent the night on my back, totally "out of it."

I tried to talk my way out of what was frankly a embarrassing situation with the neighbours, who assumed I must be a wife beater.....but they didn't seem convinced...by my talk of being a Shaman.

What makes it worse, I don't think I learnt anything, other than these Legal Highs are worse than the illegal stuff.

Daughter has sent me to Coventry....

I really thought I had invented a new methodology, but according to Mick my posting, for the period under review, was worse than ever.........

So it's back to quiet contemplation, of new ideas, over a Argentinian Shiraz, and South Indian curry for me.

Followed, methinks by a lot of washing up, yep lots and lots of washing up.

If I regain my equilibrium, I will demonstrate how the development of colours relates to cities and metal working.......

But to be frank, I don't think any of my ideas will now make it into the final version of Der Truth.

Still, I will keep trying.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Mega-Britain Part Umpty

Due to the fact that the Global Warming script needs further work this will have to be suspended for several weeks. The new Global Warming script will start to appear in daily excerpts in the Global Warming thread of the Geophysics section.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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This is quite amusing on various levels. And significant because Land's End is a key position in the Megalithic Network.

One of the most important historical finds in Cornwall has been made - not by archaeologists, but by a family of rabbits. The bunnies set up home at Land's End last year, and began creating themselves an intricate network of tunnels underneath the historic landmark.

Among the soil they unearthed was a series of flint objects, which caught the eye of Land's End staff member Eddie Williams. He passed them onto archaeologists who revealed they were a collection of flint scrapers and arrowheads dating back at least 5,000 years.

This prompted Land's End to commission a thorough archaeological investigation of their land, which discovered evidence of an iron-age hill fort, a Bronze Age barrow cemetery, a Neolithic passage grave and a series of iron-age field-systems, all within ten minutes' walk of the iconic sign-post.

The archaeology contractor 'Big Heritage' plans to create an 'archaeobunnies' children's trail at Land's End.

Read more at This is Cornwall
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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Mick Harper wrote:
an 'archaeobunnies' children's trail at Land's End.


Have they found the signs yet?

"St. Michael's Line - Entrance Here"

"Avebury 244 miles (diversion via Lyme Regis to avoid the floods)"
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Mega-Britain Part Fourteen

So we can provisionally posit X-land c. 3,000 BC, before the complications of metal enters the picture, that the situation is roughly as follows:
1) At least in the lowland of the island there is intensive agriculture centred on villages
2) Each village has a notional transport link with a source of salt, normally a legnthy link.
3) There is some sort of transport network supporting the flint trade over long distances
4) There is some sort of transport infrastructure supporting the textile industry
5) There is some kind of rudimentary 'national' structure permitting this system to function

The only direct evidence for any of this is that superior flints turn up a long way from their sources (hundreds of miles in fact) so, from this ultra thin reed, can we safely infer the existence of all the rest either because of necessity (salt) or obvious function (villages) or known human proclivity (non home-made clothing)?

Fortunately, the verified existence of (3) means that there must have been some sort of transport infrastructure which in turn means that there must be some rudimentary form of long distance law-and-order. Once this is accepted -- and unless we picture monstrously large self-defending flint caravanserais wandering randomly around looking for markets -- it is difficult to resist either conclusion, then we can safely picture an X-land, a lowland half of X-land, as being somewhere that has both a political and an economic structure, however rudimentary.

This is a hugely important conclusion to arrive at because it is an axiom of orthodox pre-history that neither of these things could exist in Palaeolithic Britain. The reason? Because there is no evidence for it and it is an axiom of orthodox pre-history that you are not allowed to assume something for which there is no evidence. The sheer stupid circularity of this reasoning is obvious when it is acknowledged that, generally speaking, in a preliterate age, there can be no such evidence. Except of course of the flint axes but that is held to be evidence of the paucity of activity rather than as being the visible one-tenth of the ice berg, in this case under the surface.
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Mick Harper
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Mega-Britain Part Fifteen

However, once you add in things for which there is no physical evidence but for which the circumstantial evidence is reasonably strong then .... then, some rather unsuspected physical evidence starts to emerge after all. As we shall be seeing, there are two classes of objects that orthodoxy ignores when it comes to physical evidence pertaining to Ancient Britain:
1. Things that have been mis-identified as to function
2. Things that have not been identified as 'things' at all, ie they are treated as natural rather than as human artefacts.

Once the step-change is made -- of seeing pre-historic Britain as a sophisticated society lacking only writing -- then these further pieces of physical evidence can be added to the normal archaeological mix and a much sounder evaluation emerges. And given the professionaly-adduced dictum of a highly restrictive view of all evidence, some very great changes might be expected.
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Mick Harper
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Mega-Britain Part Sixteen

The first hypothesis might be that either or both superior flint axeheads and salt were the medium of exchange for general trade, of which textiles were probably the preponderant part, but animals on the hoof would presumably be important too either as mediums of exchange or as marketable commodities, plus of course they can be transport devices in their own right.

As we shall see, the interactivity of all these various elements soon begins to flesh out the whole system, that is the whole of prehistoric society, rather nicely. But for this to be true there has to be a navigational system. You cannot have a sum-of-the-parts unless you can connect the parts.

It is just about feasible that a village can communicate with a salt source on the coast by following an 'immemorial' route; it is just about acceptable that drovers know where they are going without higher authority; but it would be ridiculous to assume that, generally speaking, trade on any great scale can take place unless traders know where they are going.

To know where you are going usually requires some kind of mapping of places and the navigational means of getting from one place to another. And when literacy is unavailable -- so there are no charts, no maps, no written instructions, no signposts -- that requires some rather ingenious improvisations.
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Mick Harper
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MegaBritain Part Seventeen

If the directions cannot be provided on a map, they must be etched on the landscape itself. As it happens, X-land (or Neolithic Britain as we might begin to refer to this very adjacent country) is covered by landscape symbols. Indeed we might say that the archaeology of Neolithic Britain is overwhelmingly made up of landscape symbols though not always recognised as such by the orthodox practitioners.

For instance, it is reckoned there are three thousand stone circles scattered around the British Isles (now! never mind five thousand years ago) and every single one of these is regarded by those same orthodox practitioners as somewhat mysterious, apparently non-functional except as sites for ritual practices.

The first thing to note is that if X-land is covered with these ubiquitous structures, all designed after a common pattern, this can only mean that X-land enjoyed, at the very lowest, some national system of common purpose. Unless the inhabitants of X-land were copycat constructors of other people's nonsense symbols, the presumption must be that some national common endeavour must be present since a clear national pattern is there as actual physical evidence.

It could of course be that these stone circles simply betoken a national religion though even that would appear to pre-suppose some form of national authority. But it might assist in clearing up the mystery of the circles' true function if we could link them with our other mystery -- how to conduct long distance trade in non-literate X-land. The circles would then presumably be the "signposts" providing X-land with its national network of navigational devices for a population that was conducting a reasonably intensive trade in flint axes, salt, textiles and live animals.

Remember, merely to engage in long distance trade throughout a given territory there is an absolute requirement for some way of knowing where you are and where you are to go anywhere in that territory. And that method has to be available to everybody else too. In other words in any territory which has reasonably intensive long-distance trade there has to be at least one system of territory-wide objects that are for this common purpose.
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Mick Harper
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MegaBritain Part Eighteen

So the question before us is how to demonstrate that the stone circles are in fact navigational devices. It is always a central difficulty in prehistory that, without writing, you never know for sure the intended function of anything. Even such an apparently obvious 'thing' as a stone axe was for hundreds of years thought to be a natural object created by geological processes:



Technically, I suppose they still might be. When you haven't got a literary source saying 'I sold a flint axe at the market this morning', flint axes will always be 'a matter of interpretation'. But even when the general function is known, the actual practical application can be uncertain. Is it really worthwhile transporting a Norfolk hand axe all the way to the Lake District when a local hand axe will do nearly the same job? Or are they (since they cannot be counterfeited) tokens of exchange. "I bought a sheep at the market this morning; it only cost me a Norfolk hand axe."

So what to make of stone circles? Certainly they are not natural but that is not to say that they are necessarily highly wrought. If they're religious, any vaguely roundish collection of stones might be pleasing to God. After all, He hasn't left any written instructions either.

Well, one obvious point is that the circles are not normally circular at all, but ovoid. It seems reasonable to suppose therefore that since the chief difference between an ovoid and a circle is that the ovoid actually points somewhere, we might deduce that one part of a signpost's function is fulfilled by the point of the ovoid.

Of course it can be objected that there is little point in creating a signpost if you cannot indicate where the signpost is directing you to. Imagine a signpost with four arms, all blank. Funnily enough, blank arms can be mighty useful.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Mick Harper wrote:






Well, one obvious point is that the circles are not normally circular at all, but ovoid.


Subliminal. Folks were not directed by arrows, but axeheads.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Nice one. I'd better stick in an addendum about circle shapes since it is important.

MegaBritain Part Eighteen (addendum)

No doubt it is a coincidence but flint axes share an uncanny resemblance to ovoid stone circles:



But stone circles can also be circular, or at any rate so little ovoid as to be a bit confusing to a traveller seeking directions. We cannot be sure but the addition of a 'heelstone' outside the circle would meet this objection:



This has the disadvantage that if the heelstone is removed the circle loses its function (you'd have to remove a whole bunch of stones before the ovoid was useless) but on the other hand it would make the direction-function flexible ie by shifting the heelstone a new direction would be unveiled (you'd have to shift a whole bunch of stones to re-orient the ovoid).

But, as we shall see, the stone circle can do all these things anyway by indicating one particular stone simply by placing another stone (a 'capstone') on the one you wish to indicate.



This combination of permanence and flexibility turns out to be the abiding signature of the stone-circle-builders.
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Mick Harper
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MegaBritain Part Nineteen

To understand something of the limitations of signposts, consider this situation: I wish to get from my flat in West London to Stonehenge. Which of these is the more useful?
1) a signpost near my house with the word 'Stonehenge' written on it and which points directly, with absolute fidelity, in the direction of Stonehenge



2) a signpost near my house which is completely blank, and points in a completely different direction.

Signpost (1) is absolutely and totally useless. Knowing that your destination happens to lie in a specific direction is of no help whatsoever. In fact it is downright dangerous since, were I to set off in the direction indicated, I would immediately walk into a brick wall. But even if I skirted such obstacles, after a short while I would no longer be able to see the signpost so I would be none the wiser even about the direction of Stonehenge.

The second signpost by contrast will actually get me to Stonehenge. The fact that it is blank is neither here nor there, somebody has taken the trouble to erect it, so it must be pointing to somewhere significant, in fact somewhere significant to all travellers since it appears not to discriminate. As it happens it indicates where my nearest tube station is



and while it may be that the 'expert' at the tube station won't know personally how I should proceed to Stonehenge he'll be able to send me to the next local transport hub, Paddington or Victoria Bus Station or the M3 or whatever.

The stone circle system operates on exactly the same principle. It does not care where you are going, indeed it cannot know where you are going since every journey made by every individual is different. The stone circle simply tells you where the nearest transport hub is. And, since stone circles are marvels of information technology it will provide you with all the tools you will need to get where you are going with the barest minimum of human intervention.
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Hatty
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The tube logo is easily recognisable from a distance even without reading the station's name (assuming you can read). The sign is even more helpful when it's placed fairly high and looks the same viewed from different angles. In a Megalithic context a sign like this



would have more or less the same resonance.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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MegaBritain Part Twenty

Consider why tube stations are such good analogues for stone circles. In London you are never very far away from one and yet they rarely appear together or close to one another. This is the same pattern with stone circles, especially if the extant three thousand are increased to, let us say, ten thousand after taking account of the destructions and disappearances in the meantime.

The fact is that wherever you happen to find yourself, you will always be able to find the local stone circle (or your nearest tube station). If you don't know it yourself, one simple enquiry of any local will lead you to it. And, just as with tube stations, it doesn't matter whether you are on the right 'line' or not because every tube station allows you to 'change' stations to get to where you want to go. One change is sufficient to arrive at most destination (two changes at the very most).

Note also that travelling on the tube does not require any expertise beyond learning some simple rules about how to use the system. And just to complete the metaphor, strictly speaking you do not need to be literate to use the system, colour coding of the lines does most of the job though critically (and this also applies, as we shall see, to the Megalithic system) you will need to ask for assistance occasionally.

Let us examine how the stone circles -- or as we may call it now, the Megalithic System -- takes you from where you are to where you want to be, irrespective of where you are and where you want to be, since of course that is the central problem that all navigational systems must address -- that every journey is different and every journey has to be catered for.

However, just before we embark on this grand reconstruction, let us take a sideswipe at how orthodoxy supposes that the Ancient Britons managed to conduct their long-distance trade. In their opinion it certainly did not involve one of these:

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