Saturday, 11 February 2012

Europe's Lost World - Doggerland

By Robert John Langdon

In my search for the builders of Stonehenge, we have looked in-depth to a land just a couple of hundred miles to the east called Doggerland.  We have found to our astonishment, when observing the seismic surveying of  this area of the North Sea, that the sinking of Doggerland (between 9000 - 4000BC) gives us a 'blueprint' of not only how Doggerland, but moreover, Britain would have looked directly after the last Ice Age.  This is an 'edit' extract for copyright reasons of a passage from the recent book 'Europe's Lost world' - the rediscovery of Doggerland by Gaffney et al 2009, who have also studied the same region.

River Valleys

If there are problems with interpreting what the Doggerland vegetation looked like in the past, presumably we are on safer ground with respect to the various landscape features identified through the seismic analysis of the North Sea.  After all, we know what rivers looked like, don’t we?

Anastomosing Rivers

Unfortunately, most people derive their impression of how the river valleys looked in the past from how modern valleys looked today and therein lies the problem.  Large modern rivers like the Thames, Trent , Seven and Avon, run through broad alluvial flood plans and the clays in the flood plain are now a major agricultural resource.  Somewhere in the vast expanse of cultivated lands that exist in river valleys will actually be a river whose present course only takes up, perhaps 10% of the available land in the flood plain.  There is occasional flooding, but generally the river course is stable. 

This has NOT always been the case. 

Is this how Britain looked in the Mesolithic Period?

Work on the sedimentary and environmental records of the river valleys of Britain has clearly suggested that our image of a river valley is a recent creation.  Modern valleys, particularly those with clay fills seem to date mainly from the Bronze Age or Early Iron Age onwards (Macklin and Lewin 2003; Knight and Howard 2005; Greenwood and Smith 2005; Smith et al 2005).  They also appear to be a product of the expansion in agriculture that occurred at about this time and the associated increase in soil erosion that led to large amounts of clay and slit entering into the river valleys.

During the Holocene, these rivers would have changed.  This is indicated by a number of studies from Britain that clearly show the nature of early Holocene large river systems.  Over time, silt would have built up over these valleys.  Waterside vegetation and woodland would have developed and stabilised the channel sides, giving some degree of permanence to the course of the rivers. 

However, the rivers appear to have maintained a mesh-like appearance, with channels filling the whole of the available floodplain even though these could be several miles across.  These channels are relatively unstable and when they failed, they did so spectacularly.  Once the bank sides collapsed in a storm or flood, the underlying sands and gravels would shift at speed.  Channels would fail and rivers would shift violently across the floodplain .  The result is an ‘anatomising’ river system that occupies most of the valley floor.  This produces a floodplain that bears no resemblance to those of today.

Abandoned river channels are overgrown by meadows, grasslands and scrub woodland.  Flatlands can be expanded to become large areas of swamp, reed beds and Carr woodland.  Gallery woodlands of willow and at a later date, alder dominate the channel sides with more distant and stable areas developing groves of mixed deciduous woodlands.   Given the dominance of this kind of river system in the past in Britain, similar environments must be present in the area of the large river systems that dominated both Doggerland and Britain.

Is what we are seeing on the floor of the North Sea a ‘blue print’ of how Britain as a whole looked in Mesolithic times?

Doggerland showing the 'Extensive' river ways in the Mesolithic - was Britain that Different?

Extensive areas of dense reed bed, wet carr, willow, birch and alder woodland, open pools of water and marshes that attracted Cro-Magnon man.  These ‘wet’ environments were connected by a labyrinth of rivers and canals that Mesolithic man navigated this land and surrounding lands as Britain, France and Germany, as the only way you could move from area to area without swimming and leaving your goods behind, would be by boat.

What kind of boats are we looking at?

At the start of the Mesolithic wood would be young and scarce, but reed would be in abundance.  So it is logical to believe that the first boats would be made of reed being replaced over the millenniums by the reliance of wood, which we see evidence at Star Carr with the first splitting of wood into planks at about 9000BC.

RJL

(by Robert John Langdon)

58 comments:

  1. Robert

    Would only 'the fens' look like Doggerland as the topology of the rest of the country is much higher?

    Dr Stuart Love

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    1. Stuart

      Yes the fens clearly were just an extension of Doggerland and if the flood had not occurred, Doggerland would look like Cambridgeshire today.

      As for the rest of the country, the same water course systems would have swapped the landscape, with rivers, lakes and lagoons. Even in the most mountainous areas, the rivers would have been extensive as the land recovered from the compression of the last ice age.

      Last night a new series 'The Great British Countryside' (on BBC iPlayer - for non uk residents) showing a lighthouse some miles out at sea in Cornwall, built on top of a mountain, that is now under the sea, but in the past it was a volcano surrounded by dry land.

      This is a clear illustration that the landscape changes drastically over just thousands of years and in Mesolithic times Britain and the rest of Northern Europe was 'awash' with water.

      RJL

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  2. Robert,

    Makes sense! When the glaciers melted rivers, lakes and other waterways formed. Makes sense! These rivers and lakes would have frozen over during the 'big freeze' period that quickly followed. Your waterways are my 'local ice cover'.

    But whereas your waterways theory needs an advanced civilization of boat people to explain Stonehenge, my 'local ice cover' theory can explain this and much more without 'making up stories' to invent prehistory and endow prehistoric people with capabilities found nowhere else.

    Kostas

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  3. Kostas

    It all makes 'sense' because its been proven as the post illustrates. What doesn't make sense is this 'big freeze' - when was this, do you have dates, how long did it last? - lots of data on the internet to choose from, would be nice to see some research has been undertaken.

    RJL

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  4. Robert,

    Glad you asked! See the quote below from Brian's blog quoting Fitch and Gaffney (one of many scientific references on this!)

    Fitch and Gaffney 2011: "With the onset of the Younger Dryas (10,800-10,000 BP) Britain experienced climate deterioration. The GISP-2 ice-core data suggests a rapid fall in mean temperatures of up to 7 degrees C (Barton 1999; Atkinson et al 1987). This cold, wet climate would have led to significant snow falls which fed localised glaciers in Scotland and north Wales (Alley et al 1993). There is limited evidence of human activity for this period, and it is possible that Britain was abandoned for a period around this time (circa 10,500BP)."

    (http://brian-mountainman.blogspot.com/2012/02/pembrokeshires-last-glacier.html , Brian John's comment on 11 February 2012 22:16)

    So if we were to date this period when your waterways would be frozen solid, it would be around 8,500 BC.

    Interestingly, this date comes up a lot in your 'boat travel narrative'! Except, the waterways were frozen at the time!!!

    Kostas

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  5. Kostas

    So you stating that Stonehenge was constructed in 8,500BC, when the ice had frozen the rivers and humans pushed the stones into place?

    If so, are we talking about Phase 1 of Stonehenge - the bluestones and moat or Phase 2 the Sarsen stones?

    If their was 'limited' activity during this period - who pushed the Stones??

    For your historical benefit, about 300 miles away at Star Carr a thriving community were fishing and making boats - no sledges found to date!

    RJL

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  6. Robert,

    Use the concentric circles of Stonehenge to order the different phases! Just like tree rings!

    As for the 'limited' activity, when you don't have men dragging huge stones on the ground who needs a more 'frenzied' public mobilization? A handful of people would do just fine!

    Sledges? A couple of logs under the stone would do just fine!

    Kostas

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    1. Kostas

      Sadly, all you give us is a set of dates without any correlation to the phases of Stonehenge.

      The archaeological evidence shows that the cutting of stone holes on phase 2 was 'into' existing stone hole from phase 1 - if you can not find dates that fit the evidence, you hypothesis is flawed.

      RJL

      Delete
    2. Robert,

      Stonehenge Phases are archeologist's creations passed as 'evidence'. Nature does not follow 'made up stories'.

      You write,

      “ The archaeological evidence shows that the cutting of stone holes on phase 2 was 'into' existing stone hole from phase 1”


      If the evidence shows one hole was cut 'into' an existing hole, why is this the 'work of men'? There are many 'empty pits' in the bedrock at Stonehenge! Archeologists argue all these were also the 'work of men'!

      Doesn't make sense! More sensible is these 'empty pits' were made by ice blocks falling over the ice edge (just like stones) and into the ice retaining basin Stonehenge was at that time.

      When the ice melted, the 'empty pits' remained behind! A stone dropped over the edge at a latter time could conceivably fall onto an existing empty pit and form a new pit 'cut into it'.

      Were these pits the 'work of men' marking different phases? Or rather, the 'work of archeologists'!

      Kostas

      Delete
    3. Kostas

      You seem to miss the point!

      Because you have an idea 'ice blocks falling' then you need to match your 'idea' with the archaeological evidence, when you achieve this you can call it a hypothesis, place a few of them together you then get a theory.

      You do not have a 'theory' not even a hypothesis as you have not done your 'homework' all you have is an idea - my six year old has lots of ideas, none of them will take society by storm.

      RJL

      Delete
    4. Robert,

      When you can't dispute the 'message', discredit the 'messenger', hey?

      It's especially hypocritical coming from you!

      Kostas

      Delete
  7. Robert, Julian (Richards?) writes,

    This is why I don't get involved in these mindless blog debates with 'hobbyists'. We know there was human transport as the stones had to be taken from 'somewhere' and placed in the stone holes at Stonehenge.

    Yet you deny 'human transport', what's the point of debate with such closed minds?

    Julian


    (http://brian-mountainman.blogspot.com/2012/02/ancestors-return-to-stonehenge.html comment on 18 February 2012 15:23)

    I just had to comment on this Robert! Julian's reasoning encapsulates the reasoning of many 'human agency' proponents:“We know there was human transport as the stones had to be taken from 'somewhere' and placed in the stone holes at Stonehenge.”

    Such reasoning is deeply flawed! If stones are taken from 'somewhere' and latter found 'elsewhere' can we logically conclude people carried them there? And even if these stones are found in 'holes' or in 'alignments' and 'circles' this still is no evidence people were responsible and set them so by intent and design!

    If stones were brought to Stonehenge by Nature on the surface of an ice cover (your waterways frozen over!) and the stones were pushed by local people over a circular ice rim of an ice retaining basin (what I argue existed at the time Stonehenge was made) dropping the stones from above would certainly create stone pits in the soft muddy chalk bedrock below. And these stones would be concentric to the extend permitted by local topography and availability of stones on the ice surface.

    Typically, a contrary view of 'what is' is heresy to a 'true believer'! With Stonehenge 'fervent belief' is argument. Close minded? Indeed!

    Kostas

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    1. Kostas

      Then the 'pushed by local people' is human transportation my dear Watson

      RJL

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    2. Robert,

      … if this is your best counter-argument then I rest my case!

      Kostas

      Delete
  8. Kostas, you are out of order quoting Julian in this way. The posts on Brian's site are highly unlikely to be from him - someone is pulling Brian's leg I suspect.

    Thanks Robert for your post, very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chris Johnson! What a surprise …

      I am quoting (with references) 'Julian's' quote in Brian's blog. I left (Richards?) with question mark and in parenthesis. But since Brian's post was in part about him, and since all the comments that followed were assuming 'Julian' was Richards (including yours!), I also assumed it was him. Though I (and the others) could be wrong.

      Does it matter? I was actually addressing the faulty reasoning by 'human agency' proponents in the quote by 'Julian'. It doesn't matter who says it. But only what is said and thought and argued and believed matters to me.

      Haven't you learned that much about me, after all the exchanges we had? Including my last comment on Brian's blog which you chose not to address?!

      Kostas

      Delete
  9. Kostas, this is going nowhere and detracts from Robert's ideas. So I am sorry when you feel offended but I said my piece. Bye for now.

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    Replies
    1. Chris,

      You raised an objection to my comment. I responded and explained. But when I raised an objection to your comment misrepresenting my views (http://brian-mountainman.blogspot.com/2012/02/druid-meteorite.html on 10 February 2012 14:57) you did not even have the decency to respond with an explanation, if not an apology.

      So much for riding on your high moral horse!

      Kostas

      Delete
  10. Kostas, being a polite person I like to react when asked a direct question and when I am attacked. The interchange you refer to was a light-hearted piece and I see no reason to apologize for my light-hearted banter - although I do apologize for any pain I might have caused you personally which was not intended. I do not have a problem to leave you with the last word on Brian's blog.

    On the subject of JR/BJ and the insinuations you made I make no apology. When you do not see my point then there is no point discussing. I am not going to react further on this issue and leave you the final word.

    Meanwhile I find Robert's idea about Cro-Magnon man utterly fascinating. I do not have the expertise to react meaningfully but his piece has sent me off in an unexpected direction. There is a big puzzle in my mind how early man started to get really intelligent and what happened next - in Robert's theory, the demise of Cro-Magnon. In recent times we start to recognize the existence of several sub-species of modern man in relatively recent history. In our Darwinian context the fittest survive, but the fittest may not always be the smartest. Perhaps this is why we are so puzzled by the British Neolithic.

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    1. Chris

      I'm write my blogs and books in an attempt to make people think again about our history as experience has shown me it is not as 'clear cut' as the academic world would have you believe.

      Darwin is sometimes misunderstood, as survival of the fittest in the animal kingdom is the breed that 'mutates' the best to obtain an advantage in the environment - hence the Giraffe, with the ridiculously long neck, is a product of mutation, not adaptation.

      Neolithic man had to adapt to agriculture - it stunted his growth, lowered his longevity and reduced his IQ - some people believe the industrial revolution, did the same.

      The fact that in the 20th C we regained all and a bit more of our longevity (this maybe down to medicine!)if not our intelligence or height - our brain and height is still 15% smaller than Cro-Magnon even though 70% of the population has Cro-Magnon DNA haplogroup is the biggest mystery - is it down to the veg we eat? Cro-Magnon's probably did not eat root veg!

      RJL

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    2. Chris,

      There! That wasn't too hard! I too am a 'polite person' and 'I like to react when asked a direct question and when I am attacked'. If your comment in Brian's blog caricaturing my view was 'light-hearted banter' don't you think you needed to explain when I raised objections in defense, not of me but of my theory? Too often casual readers go away with such caricatures and dismiss a valid and even truthful argument. We must always be mindful of the Truth we seek and are committed to.

      As for the cro-magnons, does it matter speculating if they were 'superior' for their times? If they had no culture and left no evidence of their advanced civilization? How intelligent and capable they may have been and whether they may have built Stonehenge is just as speculative as arguing advanced extraterrestrials built Stonehenge. Logically there is no difference! In either case we lack 'falsifiability' to argue such explanations of Stonehenge are scientifically true.

      These are just 'made up stories' that aim to do the equally fabricated narratives of archeologists 'one better'.

      Kostas

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    3. Sorry Kostas

      You are being somewhat naive.

      90% of Ireland, 80% Scotland and 70% Welsh has cro-magnon DNA, do you really believe that they did not leave any culture? They lived from 30,000 to 5,000BC four times longer than our own culture 4000BC to 2000AD.

      and look beyond Britain to turkey at Göbekli Tepe a city with stones larger than Stonehenge built 9,500BC with not a drop of snow and ice in sight - who do you think built this site?

      RJL

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    4. Robert,

      You may dispute my arguments with counter-arguments. But you are not permitted to characterize me!

      What do we gain if in our arguments we substitute 'Neolithic Brits' for 'Cro-Magnons'? Thus,

      Neolithic Brits built Stonehenge / Cro-Magnons built Stonehenge
      Neolithic Brits were stronger and more intelligent / Cro-Magnons were stronger and more intelligent
      Neolithic Brits had an advanced civilization / Cro-Magnons had an advanced civilization


      Well, you get the point. Substituting one 'super race' for another 'super race' does not fill the factual vacuum in the historical records. Nor does the DNA evidence. We do not look at DNA for traces of culture! We look for evidence the civilization left behind. If 90% of Ireland has cro-magnon DNA markers, 100% of humanity has chimpanzee DNA markers. Can we therefore argue for an advanced chimpanzee culture in the distant past?

      As for 'not a drop of snow and ice in sight' in Turkey, were you there?

      Kostas

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    5. Kostas

      You have a strange 'narrow minded' cultural point of view. The cro-magnon's were not just 'brits' as you put it - their DNA signature remains in Britain but also Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, France and Estonia in much smaller percentages - no doubt depending on whether the society married outside the immediate family.

      I have written 90K words on the evidence of this civilisation including written sources from you beloved Greece. If you looking for some form of materialistic culture like ours then you will be disappointed for these people lived off the land in a perfect biodegradable society.

      If you judgement of civilisation is possessions and materialistic items then that's your judgement as a philosopher, I judge a civilisation by the well-being of its people. You may try to believe we are a great culture, as we have 'things', but those goods have a price and it is shown in the millions that starve every day, the millions in economic slavery and the billions of unhappy drug dependent individual how are the true testament to our society and so called civilisation.

      RJL

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    6. Robert,

      You know nothing about my cultural views or any other views. What little you know about my Stonehenge views is twisted and warped beyond actual representation. And as typical of many 'belief driven theories' as yours is, you project unto others your thinking.

      I have nowhere spoken of 'Cro-Magnon Brits'!!! In fact, I repeatedly made the point of rising above 'gene-pool identification' as an explanation of human development. I am afraid you are projecting here!

      You may have written 90K words but 'volume' does not equate with 'Truth', or even 'quality'. Furthermore, dear Robert, your books take 'material form', and so is the price you charge for them. Are you 'materialistic'?

      Kostas

      Delete
  11. The last couple of years I have been involved with nano particles - very small particles slightly bigger than molecules but not much. They are generally caused by combustion or by events like volcanic eruptions or meteorite impact, and they are small enough to penetrate the lungs and even enter cells in the body. We believe they can have quite dramatic effects, maybe causing conditions like Alzheimers. These days they are being manufactured to create new materials with astounding effect - although nobody really understands the possible downside and as the science has great economic potential governments are happy for it to fly under the radar.

    Hopefully today the taboo on studying genetic and sub-species effects is diminishing, so we can better understand better the biological consequences of evolution alongside environmental impacts. What puzzles me is that after a million years of pottering around with rough flint tools, our species very suddenly evolved to the current level. One thing for sure, the people in the British neolithic had such an alien view of the world compared to ours that we struggle to get even the smallest understanding - this is why ideas like yours are so fascinating. In some areas we have moved forward, in others we may have regressed.

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    1. Chris,

      From Cro-Magnons to nano-particles … please explain! Or is it the puzzlement you feel about human evolution? How we got here so quickly?

      I like to suggest genetics does not explain the rise of civilizations. Were we to have the same species with the same DNA but spread out and isolated in very small family groups and difficult living conditions, we will not see the same evolution in their intelligence and knowledge and capabilities.

      Unlike Robert, I don't put too much emphasis on DNA. Rather, it is Culture that creates human intelligence and capabilities. Why we got here in just the last 10,000 years? My answer is that's when the Earth became a more hospitable place for humans to 'cultivate themselves'. As the ice melted, humans developed.

      Kostas

      Delete
  12. Chris

    Your right that after 1.75m years we leaped from stone man to rocket man and human mutation is the likely answer unless external force (as nano) effected the natural evolutionary process.

    I look at the Mesolithic period as I regard the later Roman period (as seen from the UK) a sudden civilisation boom followed by a down turn (Dark Ages)- we are fortunate that the written word helps us make sense of this 'roller coaster' of technology. But that experience showed me that if you take the evolution of one country without regard of what is happening elsewhere you get a 'wrong view' of history.

    So I use a method of tracing the Anthropological history of mankind through DNA which we know is correct and link this to the known history through mythology and folklore and only then look at the archaeology to see what finds fit the needs of this society - its very practical, hence the new book informs archaeologists that Silbury hill was made as a 'moot hill' a European historical meeting place(100 other assembly points still survive)for the cro-magnon's that survived the doggerland flooding as there normal meeting place as their 'atlantis' had gone - very practical and down to earth.

    RJL

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  13. DNA studies surprise us everyday with new concepts. I suspect we have a mix of effects influencing our evolution, including culture, technology, environment, diet, airborne particles, communication, and more besides.

    I note elsewhere that we ourselves influence our own brains - so the brain of a musician has constructed itself differently. These days our education system is programming brains extensively to suit our notions about what is needed for economic growth, and goodness knows what that is doing to our evolution. In neolithic times our brains were not filled up with having to learn to write and count, and presumably that space was being used for something else, perhaps a more intuitive relation with the world around using sensory inputs that we have suppressed. To understand what they were doing we need to understand their context perhaps more than their DNA.

    The fact that early man did not leave a vast amount of material remains does not mean they were stupid or incapable. Works like Silbury Hill and Stonehenge represent a massive step for humankind because we are suddenly making objects in the landscape - this is a change in thinking, just as the cave art was for Cro-Magnon. I don't think you need to make a hill just to meet up.

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  14. So Robert, your
    'new book informs archaeologists that Silbury hill was made as a 'moot hill' a European historical meeting place … for the cro-magnon's that survived the doggerland flooding as there normal meeting place as their 'atlantis' had gone - very practical and down to earth.'

    Really? It is estimated it would have taken 500 men 15 years to haul dirt to built Silbury Hill. Just to have a 'meeting place' of misplaced cro-magnons from Doggerland to meet? Couldn't they meet at the top of the hill where Stonehenge is located? Not very practical in my view to spend 15 years building a mount to meet!

    You are once again resorting to reading mythological tea leaves to find your fortunes!

    Kostas

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  15. Kostas

    Google 'moot hill' on wiki and you will have most of your answers. Your comments are as if I made up the ancient tradition - we'll I didn't I was just pointing out it maybe something missed in History of Silbury Hill - archaeologists are poor historians sadly.

    Chris

    The fact that another tradition is to split up areas into 100 sub-divisions (wiki 'Hundreds' for more details) and their is 98 + 2 circles at Avebury quite telling. I'm sure that they could meet anywhere including Stonehenge, but clearly so could the British Parliament (any old warehouse), but we have still in the 21st Century a tradition of MP's and Lords walking in a ceremonial precession 'just like Avebury's walkway from the Scantuary (Silbury Hill) to Avebury and members taking their seats in the house, were they stay until the next parliament is elected - so it shows the psychology of humans and the need for 'procedures' on 'sacred ground' to show the civilisations culture. Another 'moot hill' tradition is to take soil from your own village and place it on the hill so you are on 'home soil' for the meeting - the amazing thing is that when they excavated Silbury they found at least four different soils for areas outside the area.

    My book suggests that the beacon Silbury hill would have held a 'beacon' like other 'moot hill' sites to attact the ships, the base of Silbury Hill and the Scantuary is a natural harbour for ships and the 'delegates' walked to Avebury for the meeting of elders.

    Kostas

    The fact that they had the capacity to build Silbury and Avebury and Stonehange and Old Sarum and Durrington Walls/Woodhenge in the same complex (about 4 million hours) shows you have a highly organisation and sophisticated civilisation that no amount of objects or word artefacts could ever give justice too.

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    1. Robert you write,

      '...the amazing thing is that when they excavated Silbury they found at least four different soils for areas outside the area.'

      Can you please provide references to your claims! It would be more credible is you do!

      Kostas

      Delete
    2. de Bruxelles, Simon. Last chance to solve the puzzle of ancient hill. The Times. October 25, 2007. p. 37.

      RJL

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    3. Any links to these I can look up online? Interesting ...

      Delete
  16. Robert,

    This is a new twist in your thinking! The more highly organized and sophisticated a civilization, the fewer the objects and word artifacts!

    Your readers deserve everything they pay you!

    Kostas

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  17. Re comments on size and duration in building Silbury Hill.
    Would the architects of this Moot Hill, have built it from scratch? or simply 'built on' what was an already suitable natural raised mound/hill. Thereby not requiring an impossible feat of size and man hours. The idea of remploying/improving upon already laid structures is already evident with iron age fortresses being built on prehistoric mounds. My knowledge is limited , but common sense seems logical. Your hypothesis seems quite credible to me RJL

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  18. Robert,

    Your 'Moot Hill' is a 'moot point' because it was not built by men!

    Kostas

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  19. This seems a bit silly Kostas. How do you think Silbury Hill was constructed?

    @c.agnostas. From what I know this is a man-made hill. Without knowing how they did it or how long it took to complete, it is difficult to speculate on the effort involved relative to the man-power available. We do know from many other sites that the people of this time were capable of big earthworks and motivated to reshape their land.

    I doubt myself that the sole purpose was to construct a meeting place - it would have been simpler to use a pre-existing hill or even a traditional site like Windmill Hill. Silbury Hill location was carefully chosen, perhaps for several reasons. One of the mysteries is that you cannot actually see it from the circles because another hill is in the way, although it is very close by. All the works in Avebury are carefully located to reveal new wonders as you walk around.

    It sounds like you did not visit Avebury yet and I recommend you do. You cannot tell that much from the 2D maps unless you have a formidable imagination - better than mine. The more often I visit the greater my sense of wonder and puzzlement.

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  20. Robert,

    Archimedes argued if he had a platform to stand on and a long level to use he could move the World. With Prehistoric Britain we are shown if you have a platform to believe in and a long yarn to spin you can make up a World that never was.

    After extensive excavations showed Silbury Hill contains no archeological treasures but is just filled with dirt, the story changes. Now according to EH archeologist Leach, the 'true' purpose of Silbury Hill was not the monument itself but the process of building the monument. According to you, Silbury is a Moot Hill built by misplaced cro-magnons after their 'atlantis' flooded! Both positions exemplify the proposition above. More examples …

    When excavations at Stonehenge showed it was never completed, the story changes to 'Stonehenge was never meant to be completed'. Or according to you, 'Stonehenge was a Crescent Temple'. And when the rhyolite fragments found at Stonehenge (believed to be chippings from the dressing of some orthostats) were not traced to any of the orthostats at Stonehenge, the story changes again! Stonehenge we are now told went through a 'stone destruction stage' when people purposefully demolished some orthostats to small fragments spread all over the Stonehenge landscape.

    I can go on with more examples, but my intellectual stomach repulses!

    Such strong and unquestioned 'human agency' belief cannot be good for the psyche of a people. As are all beliefs held absolutely!

    Kostas

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  21. Silbury Hill is man made Kostas the last excavation showed it was first constructed in layers then rounded off - C.Agnostas whether this was done at the time of the structures of as a 'modification after is interesting.

    Why build a large structure when you can use a simple alternative Chris? Is a good question but history has shown that the bigger the project the more important to society the monument represents. The fact it was so large consequentially means that it was of high important to this society - my last blog explains why its important and how we still see the same processes in today's societies.

    RJL

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  22. Chris,

    'This seems a bit silly Kostas. How do you think Silbury Hill was constructed?'

    Is it more silly than the destruction of orthostats to small pieces in order to explain the presence of the foliated rhyolite fragments found at Stonehenge but not traced to any stones at Stonehenge? Or the mobilization of a meager population struggling for survival to haul dirt for some fifteen years to built a Moot Hill for village socials?

    Your strong belief on the 'human agency explanation' of these sites is typical. And that's the problem! It keeps you and others from seeing more sensible explanations for these sites. Silbury Hill, as well as other earth mounts, could have formed by meltwater deposits in an ice retaining basin. When the ice melted completely, the mounts in them remained!

    Kostas

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  23. Robert,

    River embankments are also made in layers! Does that mean the river embankments were man made also?

    ' history has shown that the bigger the project the more important to society the monument represents'

    In the absence of sensible reason, the bigger the project the more senseless it is!

    Kostas

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    Replies
    1. Kostas

      True, but this would have to be be a SQUARE RIVER - do you know many?

      The bigger the project the greater the organisation the larger the society the greater the civilisation!!

      RJL

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  24. The point, dear Robert, is “layering” often occurs in Nature and so it cannot be taken in itself as evidence of 'human agency'. That was the argument you were making in your previous comment. That is the argument I was countering in my previous comment.

    But if you now want to expand your argument, “bring it on”! But please try to be as lucid and clear as I try to be? Hard to argue with shades of illusions that come bobbing and weaving out of the midnight shadows illuminated by crescent moons!

    Kostas

    ReplyDelete
  25. Kostas

    But we are not talking about a riverbank we are talking about a structure that has a square base which is build up in smaller square layers likes the step pyramid in Egypt and also Mayan temples - consequently, at a later dated covered with loose chalk to become a mound.

    There is absolutely nothing in the natural world that can do this!! If you think there is, please name an example or freely accept that such a structures (as listed) are in fact 'man made'.

    Unless of course you wish to claim that the Mayan and Egyptian structures are also 'natural' - then the nice orderlies with the tight fitting white jacket, will probably take you away from the communal PC back to your padded room.

    I hope that is 'lucid' enough for you?

    RJL

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  26. Robert,

    So Silsbury Hill is 'square layered'! Want to show us pictures of that? The tunnels dug through Silsbury showed no such evidence. Nor could they. Want to provide some reputable references to these square layers? Or if you think them, they must be!

    The Mayan and Egyptian pyramids were made by men! Therefore Silbury Hill is made by men?

    Your logic is illogical! Talking about straight jackets!

    Kostas

    ReplyDelete
  27. Kostas

    'Google' the words 'Silbury Hill' and 'layers' and you will find http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-11630242

    Your inability to find information is quite bewildering!

    RJL

    ReplyDelete
  28. Robert,

    It is true I have trouble accessing some information. As, for example, academic journals and article-archiving requiring membership, fees and subscriptions to access. This was the case with the de Bruxelles's Times article you posted regarding the several different soil-sources found at Silbury Hill.

    It is the information YOU use that is most relevant in our discussions, however. If you provide references (preferably links) to where you are getting your facts, our discussions will become that much more productive.

    I know my comment on being 'lucid' triggered a reaction! Sorry for that. That wasn't my intention. But too often your argument leaves open ambiguities that need to be more pinned down in order to have a well reasoned dialog. I was asking for that.

    You originally argued that the 'layered' construction of Silbury Hill proves it was made by men. I countered, Nature also 'builds in layers', as seen for example in river embankments. Then you argued that Silbury Hill is 'square layered'. I asked for references to your 'facts'. You provided the BBC article of 26 Oct. 2010. I read the article you referenced.

    Nowhere in your referenced article does it say the layers were SQUARE! And most all of that it did say I was already aware of from before. Some direct quotes from this article: (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-11630242 )

    'English Heritage archaeologists suggests [Silbury Hill] was made in 15 distinct layers over 100 years'

    'It was once thought the hill was a burial mound, but no grave has been found and its purpose is unknown.'

    “What was most remarkable going in was that it was in lots and lots of [cross] sections,”

    "The strange thing was it wasn't always a hill. The first phase was a bank and ditch.”

    "But new evidence is increasingly telling us that our Neolithic ancestors display an almost obsessive desire to constantly change the monument.”

    "It's as if the final form of the hill did not matter - it was the construction process that was important."

    Robert, all these descriptions can have 'natural agency' as I have suggested in a previous comment. The 'obsessive desire to constantly change the monument' Leary argues for in the quote above is only matched by the 'obsessive desire to constantly change the story' explaining the Hill as 'made by men'.

    I am questioning this unquestioned obsessive belief!

    Kostas

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  29. Kostas

    "There is absolutely nothing in the natural world that can do this!! If you think there is, please name an example or freely accept that such a structures (as listed) are in fact 'man made'."

    If you wish to answer the question we could progress!

    RJL

    ReplyDelete
  30. Kostas,
    there is indeed a question why Silbury might have been built in phases - note the use of the word "might". It could be that the end-design was in the mind of the builders from the beginning but it took several seasons to execute, or they built the plan as they went along.

    Maybe when you can accept human participation in the building we can move on to understand the whys and the hows in more detail. As it is, you seem intent to nonsense the few facts we do know and so you are losing credibility with me.

    Robert and Brian have been incredibly patient with your notions. I see that you have been arguing your point for a long time without convincing anybody. Time to put up some real evidence and peer support (kindly put), or shut-up.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Robert,

    Here you go again with more ambiguous statements!

    There is absolutely nothing in the natural world that can do this!!


    What is the 'this' ???

    If you mean building in 'layers', I have already argued that Nature can built in 'layers' also. As exemplified in river embankments.

    If you mean building in 'square layers', I have already responded that your own reference to this does not claim the Silbury 'layers' are 'square'. So the evidence for 'square layers' is lacking.

    If you mean something else, be more clear and I'll respond to it in a logical and rational fashion. But first make sure you have your facts right!

    Kostas

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  32. Kostas

    You claim these ancient monuments are natural - where is your empirical evidence?

    We have been through this many times with stone circles - you have yet to ever give one piece if evidence to support your point of view.

    Show us one stone circle or henge or mound that is naturally built with some form of empirical evidence or support from 'anyone'.

    I'm with Chris when he states its time to 'show us the evidence' rather than just stating a tired 'idea', with no qualification.

    RJL

    ReplyDelete
  33. Robert,

    I asked in my previous post,

    “What is the 'this' ?? “


    You chose not to answer! Continuing from my previous post …

    If you mean the Mayan and Egyptian pyramids, I admit these are made by men. I have never thought otherwise! But if you want to therefore conclude this proves Silbury Hill was also built by men, logic compels me to strongly disagree with that logic!

    As for 'evidence' of my working hypothesis, the evidence for any hypothesis is the explanations it enables for the 'facts on the ground'. My hypothesis provides detailed explanations of all the facts on the ground that are simple, sensible and consistent. I could say more on this if you like!

    But since the 'human agency hypothesis' is the 'ruling hypothesis', more to the point is to ask for the evidence for that hypothesis. What we get when that question is asked (as I ask it) are gut reactions and indignation.

    Sadly, in the company of 'true believers' what's most needed for truth to emerge is the presence of heretics like me!

    Kostas

    ReplyDelete
  34. Chris,

    Instead of asking for due reverence and unquestioned acceptance of 'human agency' for these earthworks, why don't you (and others) engage me in an honest and open discussion over this very question. Uncensored, as I have been in Brian's blog. I will patiently explain my many good reasons why I think as I do! And if I can be shown to be wrong, I will happily admit I am wrong.

    Kostas

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  35. Chris you write,

    'Maybe when you can accept human participation in the building we can move on to understand the whys and the hows in more detail'

    Engaging in an honest debate should not be preconditioned in accepting as true the opposing view in a dispute. If so, all we then get is a feel good incestuous intellectual intercourse that is likely to produce monstrosities as established facts.

    'Robert and Brian have been incredibly patient with your notions. I see that you have been arguing your point for a long time without convincing anybody.'


    The search for truth must not depend on the approval of others! Otherwise we're on a slippery slope to censorship! Safer to let people speak their minds and argue their arguments. Since no one can a priori know where truth lies, the only criterion in any debate is sincerity and intellectual honesty.

    'Time to put up some real evidence and peer support (kindly put), or shut-up'.


    Sounds like a challenge I can't refuse! I like nothing better than the opportunity to present my evidence.

    Want to talk?

    Kostas

    ReplyDelete
  36. Time to move on I think, as this was about Doggerland and not Silbury hill - if you wish to continue the debated - please do it on the most recent posting.

    Thanks!!

    RJL

    ReplyDelete
  37. Robert,

    Blanket accusations and denials do not an argument make! Why don't you address the specific points I have responded to responding to your comments? Cutting off further discussion, a la Brian-esque, is a sign you have nothing to say. But if you have any sense of controversy you will know this controversy is good for your site.

    Kostas

    ReplyDelete