The Ground Stone Tools of Britain and Ireland: an Experimental Approach Andy's doctoral research explores the way ground stone tools are currently interpreted and examines the manufacture of a wide range of implements through experimental archaeology. His research contextualises the nature of ground stone tools with reference to the Neolithic and Bronze Age, analysing the trajectory of their development over time and the ways technological innovation may have driven certain morphological changes. He has developed a range of complimentary technical analyses which can be applied to experimental replication studies in order to better understand a wide range of tools. Interpretations are based on qualitative and quantitive data, whilst at the same time examine the ways a post-processual-linked phenomenological perspective might be a valid means of enquiry, with special emphasis on craft skills.
New archeological finds shed light on the most misunderstood monument of the ancient world.
Dated to the late Stone Age, Stonehenge may be the best-known and most mysterious relic of prehistory. Every year, a million visitors are drawn to England to gaze upon the famous circle of stones, but the monument's meaning has continued to elude us. Now investigations inside and around Stonehenge have kicked off a dramatic new era of discovery and debate over who built Stonehenge and for what purpose.
How did prehistoric people quarry, transport, sculpt, and erect these giant stones? Granted exclusive access to the dig site at Bluestonehenge, a prehistoric stone-circle monument recently discovered about a mile from Stonehenge, NOVA cameras join a new generation of researchers finding important clues to this enduring mystery.
THEY are among the most mysterious artefacts ever discovered in Scotland, ornate relics whose purpose has long been lost to the mists of time.
Hugh Newman investigates the geometric stone spheres found in Northeast Scotland, Orkney and parts of Britain and Ireland. What were they used for? How did they carve them? One was even found in Bolivia! Read Hugh's two-part article here: https://bit.ly/2H9YxU4.
Our archaeological art takes its inspiration from artefacts found in Orkney. Each one is a unique piece, made by archaeologist Chris Gee.
In the long summer evenings, when it hardly gets dark at all here in Orkney, you will often find Chris in his garden overlooking the archipelago, where he is chipping away at another stone. He finds delight in recreating Stone Age art using their tools and methods. And like them, he carefully selects local stone, with beautiful colours and patterns. In this way, he makes Neolithic ceremonial maces, stone axes, carved stone balls, enigmatic carved stone objects, and beautifully patterned sandstone which he sometimes colours with hematite and other natural dyes. It is awe-inspiring to think that his hands are recreating the same movements that someone right here in Orkney did more than five thousand years ago.
Archaeologist Chris Gee shows how he makes a Carved Stone Ball as they did in Neolithic times. Chris is from the Orkney Islands in Scotland and makes Neolithic art by hand, using the same methods as people would have done in Orkney 5000 years ago. Please visit our website www.brodgar.co.uk for more details about our stone sculptures, archaeological chocolate, and Orkney guided adventures.
Discover more about 'Making Connections: Stonehenge in its Prehistoric World' an exhibition that runs from 12 October 2018 until 21 April 2019: http://bit.ly/2QRzFDb Watch James Dilley (@ancientcraftUK) as he recreates a Carved Stone Ball using the same techiniques and methods as stone workers from the late Neolithic era.
Prehistoric Petrosphere – Carved Stone Spheres and Balls Prehistoric Petrosphere – Carved Stone Balls are spherical human-made objects made from stone. These ancient artifacts have been created by carving by up to up to 5200 years ago. These carved stone balls dating from the Late Neolithic to as late as the Iron Age, are mainly […]
Plotting the find sites on a map shows that these petrospheres were often located in the vicinity of Neolithic recumbent stone circles. ❧
Annotated on July 24, 2020 at 03:06PM
They are usually round of reasonably uniform size at around 2.75 inches or 7 cm across. They can have from 3 to 160 protruding knob shapes on the surface. These carved stone balls are nearly all have been found in north-east Scotland, the majority in Aberdeenshire. As portable objects, they are straightforward to transport and have been found on Iona, Skye, Harris, Uist, Lewis, Arran, Hawick, Wigtownshire, and fifteen from Orkney. A similar distribution to that of Pictish symbols led to the early suggestion that carved stone balls are Pictish artifacts. However, examples have been found in Ireland and England. ❧
Annotated on July 24, 2020 at 03:27PM
And God spoke:
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens above, on the earth beneath, or in the waters below.
I have a hypothesis that the admonition in the ten commandments to have no other gods nor to worship idols was the result of a power struggle among early peoples on the border of nomadic lives and settling down into agricultural lifeways. These peoples may likely have been associating their memories not only to standing stones, portable items (the Ark of the Covenant as an example which was historically said to be carried into war), or small idols and graven images.
By removing peoples’ valuable cultural and societal memories over several generations, a ruling priestly class, particularly in a society with not evenly distributed writing and literacy, would have been more easily able to aggregate power within the culture to itself. From a cultural perspective it would also have put an extreme emphasis on writing, literacy, and learning with them. Is this part of an explanation for why Jewish culture still has such an emphasis on these tools thousands of years later?
This obviously needs to be thought out further with supporting evidence from the historical and archaeological record, but on first blush, I feel like the evidence for this hypothesis generally exists.
If I’m right, then these few sentences have had a far more dramatic influence on Western and even human culture than we have previously thought.
Featured Image: The Crusader Bible, MS M.638, fol. 39v, Paris, France, ca. 1244–1254, 390 x 300 mm, via the Morgan Library & Museum, Purchased by J.P. Morgan (1867–1943) in 1916
David’s Greatest Triumph, The Ark Enshrined in Jerusalem, David Blesses Israel
Old Testament Miniatures with Latin, Persian, and Judeo-Persian inscriptions
David retrieves the Ark of the Covenant from Obed-Edom’s house, and a jubilant celebration ensues as the triumphant king, playing upon his harp, leads it into Jerusalem. Once the Ark has come six paces into the city, a sacrifice is made of an ox and a ram. No one is more overjoyed than the king himself, who dances and leaps before the procession. David’s wild behavior embarrasses Michal, who points accusingly at him from her window. But the king is unconcerned, wishing only to give thanks and humble himself before God. (2 Kings 6:12–16)
I imagine that there are potentially examples of this sort of behavior going back as far as 30-40,000 years or more, but there is is no direct (known) archaeological evidence left to make such cases. There are oral histories of indigenous peoples in Australia that indicate memories of things that do exist in the geological record to provide some evidence of this.
I’ll also point out that astronomical use is NOT equal to memory use. To make that claim you’d need a lot of additional evidence. In fact, I might suggest something stronger, particularly about Stonehenge. Stonehenge’s primary use was not an astronomical one. Its primary use was as a mnemonic device. The astronomical one was important for the ritual practice (we would call it spaced repetition in modern psychology and pedagogic contexts), but wholly tangential.
If you’re interested in the underlying evidence, Dr. Lynne Kelly has an excellent Ph.D. thesis on the topic, but you might find her book The Memory Code, which expands on the thesis, more accessible. She’s also got a great bibliography of these topics on her website.
One of the world’s oldest artworks has been discovered inside a working Indonesian mine. It survived this long – Krithika Varagur ventures to Sulawesi to find out if it has a future
This painting was discovered in the Bulu Sipong cave on Sulawesi in 2016 and recent analysis has shown that it is the “oldest pictorial record of storytelling” and the “earliest figurative artwork in the world”, and is at least 43,900 years old. (The oldest known drawing in the world, a 73,000-year-old abstract scribble, was found in South Africa in 2018.) ❧
Annotated on March 06, 2020 at 10:25PM
I think her work has some profound impact on the arc of Big History, particularly with respect to Threshold 6, well into Threshold 7, and continuing into the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. In true big history fashion, her thesis also touches heavily on a broad array of topics including anthropology, archaeology, psychology, neuroscience, history, and education.
A broad, reasonable introduction to her work can be had in CalTech physicist Sean Carroll’s recent podcast interview.
Another short introduction is her TEDx Melbourne talk:
A solid popular science encapsulation of her work can be found in her book The Memory Code: The Secrets of Stonehenge, Easter Island and Other Ancient Monuments (Pegasus Books, 2017).
A more thorough academic treatment of her work can naturally be found in:
- When knowledge was power (Ph.D. thesis, 2012)
- Knowledge and power in prehistoric societies: orality, memory and the transmission of culture (Cambridge University Press, 2015)
With some work, I think her research could become a better foundational basis for a stronger bridge from threshold 6 into threshold 7 with dramatic impact on how we view origin stories, mythology, religion. It also has some spectacular implications for improving pedagogy and memory within our educational systems and how we view and use collective memory and even innovation in the modern world.
Not only is Lynne Kelly the author of several books on memory, but she is a highly skilled researcher, science educator, author and memory competitor.
Most known for her theory about Stonehenge’s purpose, she has also contributed to work in popular science and is a promoter of skepticism.
Lynne’s critical thinking and contributions to such a wide range of science subjects has led to awards from the Royal Zoological Society of South Wales among others. As a memory expert, Lynne Kelly is that rare practitioner who takes on large learning projects and shares the journey in addition to attending memory sport activities.
- The real reason why stores play such upbeat, catchy music.
- Why outdoor Memory Palaces can be so helpful for memory retention.
- The benefits of “setting aside” time for memory training versus incorporating practice into everyday life.
- How vivid, violent, or vulgar imagery can bring abstract concepts to life.
- Why “rapscallions” are useful memory tools and not just mischievous little creatures.
- How art can help you remember more in a Memory Palace.
- The pros and cons to living with aphantasia.
- The key to using hooks and layering to create dynamic visuals.
- How to “dialogue” with your memory aids.
- Why we should encode using music and places for maximum mental skill (and possible mental health) benefits.
- The usefulness of memory techniques for school aged children and their long-term effects.
- The secret to overcoming “ghosting” when using memory techniques.
There’s an interesting segment on aphantasia and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the middle here. I’d definitely be interested in looking into the research on aphantasia more. There’s also some more material here on memory methods for education (compared with other interviews with Dr. Kelly). She does use a physics example on force and the idea of push/pull with respect to Star Wars which I’ve heard her mention before.
Originally bookmarked on December 07, 2019 at 01:11PM
Lynne Kelly is a science writer who was researching the methods used by ancient cultures to retain vast amounts of information about animals and plants.
She was looking into the way knowledge was recorded through stories, song and dance.
On a journey to Stonehenge in England, Lynne was struck by the thought that the makers of that monumental stone circle were doing the same thing.
Lynne's research suggests the stone circles of England, the huge animal shapes in Peru, and the statues of Easter Island, were not so much objects of superstition, but tools allowing people to create a huge storehouses of knowledge.
An academic with diverse interests including spiders, history, and scepticism, Lynne applies the memory 'code' to manage her own stores of facts and information.
Duration: 48min 28sec
Originally bookmarked on December 07, 2019 at 01:08PM
The following is an extended excerpt from my book-in-progress, “An Enchantment of Digital Archaeology: Raising the Dead with Agent Based Models, Archaeogaming, and Artificial Intelligence”, which is under contract with Berghahn Books, New York, and is to see the light of day in the summer of 2020. I welcome your thoughts. The final form of this section will no doubt change by the time I get through the entire process. I use the term ‘golems’ earlier in the book to describe the agents of agent based modeling, which I then translate into archaeogames, which then I muse might be powered by neural network models of language like GPT-2.