Monday, 15 August 2016

The remarkable and foolish world of archaeology and Durrington Walls supposed 'superhenge'!!

From the Independent - 15th August 2016

 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/revealed-remarkable-ancient-structure-found-just-two-miles-from-stonehenge-a7190476.html

Remarkable new archaeological discoveries are beginning to suggest that Stonehenge was built at a time of particularly intense religious and political rivalry.

Durrington Walls excavation

Just two miles north-east of the World Heritage site, at an important archaeological complex known as Durrington Walls, archaeologists have just discovered what appears to have been a vast 500-metre diameter circle of giant timber posts. The find is of international significance.
 
Originally archaeologists, using geophysics rather than excavation, had thought that they had found buried standing stones, so the discovery has totally changed their understanding of the site –  the largest ancient monument of its type in Britain.

However, the most significant revelation is the discovery that the newly identified timber circle complex was probably never fully completed – and that, just a few months or years after construction had started, there was a dramatic change in religious – and therefore almost certainly also political – direction. Work on the circle was stopped abruptly by around 2460BC – despite the fact that it was nearing completion. The 200-300 giant 6-7 metre long, 60-70 centimetre diameter timber posts were lifted vertically out of their 1.5 metre deep post holes – and were probably used to construct or expand other parts of the complex.

What’s more,  within a few months or years, the post holes themselves were then deliberately filled with blocks of chalk and were  covered up for most of the circuit by a bank made of similar chalk rubble. Two of the post holes have just been fully excavated – and, at the bottom of one, the prehistoric people who decommissioned and buried the site, formerly occupied by the giant timber circle, had placed one of their tools (a spade made of a cow’s shoulder blade) at the bottom of the post hole before it was filled in. It certainly hints at the ritual nature of how the change of religious direction was implemented.

It was as if the religious "revolutionaries" were trying, quite literally, to bury the past. The question archaeologists will now seek to answer is whether it was the revolutionaries’ own past they were seeking to bury – or whether it was another group or cultural tradition’s past that was being consigned to the dustbin of prehistory.

laser-scanning-durrington-phs.jpg
Excavation with 3d Scanner

What’s more,  within a few months or years, the post holes themselves were then deliberately filled with blocks of chalk and were  covered up for most of the circuit by a bank made of similar chalk rubble. Two of the post holes have just been fully excavated – and, at the bottom of one, the prehistoric people who decommissioned and buried the site, formerly occupied by the giant timber circle, had placed one of their tools (a spade made of a cow’s shoulder blade) at the bottom of the post hole before it was filled in. It certainly hints at the ritual nature of how the change of religious direction was implemented.

It was as if the religious "revolutionaries" were trying, quite literally, to bury the past. The question archaeologists will now seek to answer is whether it was the revolutionaries’ own past they were seeking to bury – or whether it was another group or cultural tradition’s past that was being consigned to the dustbin of prehistory.

Wooden Pit Hole


 The changes may also be linked – in some direct or indirect way – to the arrival in Britain, at around or immediately after this time,  of a new cultural tradition (and probably some new peoples or new elites) – known to prehistorians as the Beaker culture.

The changes at Durrington Walls and elsewhere represent a key element of Britain’s story – part of the transition from the Neolithic era to the Bronze Age. Usually it is impossible to glimpse the internal religious and political rivalries and conflicts of our prehistoric past – but the Durrington discoveries are giving the modern world an unprecedented opportunity to begin to understand aspects of the past that are normally hidden from view.

The Durrington Walls excavation has been carried out by a team of archaeologists led by Professor Vince Gaffney of the University of Bradford and Professor Mike Parker Pearson of University College London. The site is open to the public and is owned by the National Trust.

“The new discoveries at Durrington Walls reveal the previously unsuspected complexity of events in the area during the period when Stonehenge’s largest stones were being erected – and show just how politically and ideologically dynamic British society was at that particularly crucial stage in prehistory,” said Dr Nick Snashall, the senior National Trust archaeologist for the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site.

Sadly most of this article is pure fiction!!


Last year we were told on Sky News:

 http://news.sky.com/story/superhenge-unearthed-near-stonehenge-10347147

Scientists have found a larger version of Stonehenge just one mile from the site of the famous Wiltshire stone monument.

Durrington Showing the Stones
The Durrington Walls 'superhenge' is larger than Stonehenge and may include as many as 90 large stones. Built about 4,500 years ago, the stones lined an arena that was probably used for religious ceremonies or solstice rituals.

Using ground-penetrating radar on Salisbury Plain, scientists found the stones lying on their sides and buried under three feet of earth. Some of the stones are nearly 15ft and were originally placed along the southeastern edge of the circular enclosure that measured nearly a mile wide - making it the largest earthwork of its kind in the country.

The stones may not always have been part of the henge, possibly being toppled over before being incorporated into it - not an act of vandalism but an attempt to save whatever was thought to have been important about the stone, experts think.

Professor Vince Gaffney, from the University of Bradford, said the "truly remarkable" find is the most important to emerge so far from the Hidden Landscapes project, which is mapping previously unknown archaeological features buried in the Wiltshire countryside.

The 'Superhenge' and it's position on the landscape

 Mr Gaffney, who is one of those leading the project, said: "We're looking at one of the largest stone monuments in Europe and it has been under our noses for something like 4,000 years.

"We don't think there's anything quite like this anywhere else in the world.This is completely new and the scale is extraordinary."

He said that such monuments were designed to "impress and impose" and "to give the idea of authority to the living and the dead".

Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust archaeologist for the Avebury and Stonehenge World Heritage Site, said: "These latest results have produced tantalising evidence of what lies beneath the ancient earthworks at Durrington Walls.

"The presence of what appear to be stones, surrounding the site of one of the largest Neolithic settlements in Europe adds a whole new chapter to the Stonehenge story."

 The Story has changed dramatically!!

 

Last year the Ground survey found "90 large Stones" under the ground - this year we have 200 - 300 hundred??  So has their been more ground radar work or are we guessing as we did last year when the ground radar anomaly produced hidden stones as Professor Vince Gaffney stated? "we are looking at one of the largest stone monuments in Europe" - or are we??

So not only did they get the anomaly wrong they have also increase the numbers threefold without any evidence!!

Sadly the misinterpretation doesn't end their nonsense - "However, the most significant revelation is the discovery that the newly identified timber circle complex was probably never fully completed".

Never Completed??

You could say that about the entire site unless you believe what the archaeologists tell you.  The classic shape of this site is a half moon as the bank is missing towards the River Avon in the South East  and there is no bank to the South where they found these anomalies.

So Was the post holes incomplete - or just didn't exist as they have no idea of the design of function of the site?

 Durrington Walls - Debunked Part One

In my last video about Durrington Walls - I explained in detail that the River Avon at the time of Durrington's construction was ten times higher than today.  This would have produced a landscape that complemented the location of the Site as the higher waters would have entered in the South Eastern Quadrant and turned the location into a harbour.

Durrington - in the Mesolithic past as a harbour

This logical function for this site clearly shows why the site has a strange cut and fall away towards the River and this is also shown in the sub-soil of ground penetrating work undertaken in the mid- 2000's by Sheffield University.

Ground survey of Durrington in 2006
Conclusive evidence of water on the site?

Durrington Walls showing the two springs that would flow into the River Avon - but much larger than shown!
 
This evidence of water was also reported my Mike Parker-Pearson in his excavations of the site in 2009 when they located ancient springs that were in the centre of the site.  A strange place to put a settlement, where you are building houses - unless like Much Farm these houses were in fact on stilts and the waters were underneath the house!! 

Much Farm - showing a Crannog on stilts above the waterline

Finally, they failed to understand why these posts were eventually removed and back filled.  It doesn't make sense to complete (as they suggest ) a third to half the site then stop and removed all the post you planted if it's for 'ceremonial' reasons.  Unless of course the post were they're to tether boats by the ditch as we also see with the large Stones by the ditch in Avebury for the same purpose - which would logically result in them 'slowly' disappearing over a few centuries through rot and removal as the bank of the river retreated leaving the harbour eventually 'dry'.

We should also remember that a number of post were also found to the south of this site and at Woodhenge next door - so the idea that they didn't have enough posts to finish off Durrington as the archaeologists are currently claiming is beyond logic or intelligence sadly!!

Finally - if it could get any worse, they dated these posts at 2400BCE.  Wow..so how did they get that date from just two holes, was it superfast carbon dating of the wooden fragments in the hole.... 

No!! Sadly.  It's the same old fashioned tried and tested guestimation...how very scientific.

Remembering the last time archaeologists attempted this same process in the Visitor's Car Park at Stonehenge, when they discover four similar posts in 1966 but dated them as contemporary to the Stonehenge site at 2500BCE (remarkable only 40 years difference to days estimate!!) to discover some 20 years later by a PhD student - that they were completely wrong!! (maybe they still have the same egg on their face?) that the posts were not Neolithic but 5,000 earlier in the Mesolithic.....what's the chances, my friends???


RJL