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It has been an enigma for centuries, but now an author and mapmaker believes he has come up with the reason Silbury Hill in Wiltshire – Europe’s largest manmade Neolithic structure – exists.
It was not some kind of elaborate grave, nor a ceremonial hilltop to bring our ancestors closer to the gods. In fact, according to Robert John Langdon, Silbury Hill was an ancient lighthouse built to help ships, sailing on the post-glacial waterways of what is now very much the dry land of southern England, find their way to the nearby holy place of Avebury.
Langdon’s rather unconventional hypotheses of Wiltshire’s ancient sites have hit the headlines before. He claims that archaeologists and historians looking to come up with theories about Stonehenge and Avebury miss one vital point – the sea level was much higher thousands of years ago as the ice caps melted from the last Ice Age.
In a book four years ago, he claimed southern Britain was a series of islands linked by waterways, channels and huge swollen rivers, and that Stonehenge was located where it was because it was close to what was effectively the coast.
This is an extract from the book 'The Stonehenge Enigma' that explains the principle theory about global flooding after the last Ice Age.
The hypothesis suggests that after the great flood that occurred after the last Ice Age the 'Post Glacial Flooding' caused mankind to adapt to his new surroundings and they built their settlements on the shorelines of this flooded world.
originally posted by: TheLotLizard
And also did they have a large enough shipping infrastructure before 10k years ago to have to construct a lighthouse? I thought it was still more of small tribal communities.
originally posted by: skalla
It's been well suggested that the ancient depression around the hill, when filled with water would have made the profile of a seated woman, the hill forming the "cosmic egg"/pregnant belly.
It's more than likely that as a remarkable and intentional landmark too, it would indeed have had a beacon on top. Especially when one considers the visual impact of the Chalk structure.
I feel that the author is way over estimating the amount of waterways in that area though. And inventing it's proximity to the sea. My impression of the region in antiquity is more of a swamp than a network of rivers/channels etc.
For most of human history on this planet—about 90 per cent of the time—sea levels have been substantially lower than at present, exposing large tracts of territory for human settlement. Europe alone would have had a land area increased by 40 per cent at the maximum sea level regression (Figure 1). Although this has been recognised for many decades, archaeologists have resisted embracing its full implications, barely accepting that most evidence of Palaeolithic marine exploitation must by definition be invisible, believing that nothing has survived or can be found on the seabed, and preferring instead to emphasise the opportunities afforded by lower sea level for improved terrestrial dispersal across land bridges and narrowed sea channels.
In the past decade, opinions have begun to change in response to a number of factors: evidence that marine exploitation and seafaring have a much deeper history in the Pleistocene than previously recognised; the steady accumulation of new underwater Stone Age sites and materials, amounting now to over 3000 in Europe, and often with unusual and spectacular conditions of preservation (Figure 2); availability of new technologies and research strategies for underwater exploration; and the growth of targeted underwater research (Erlandson 2001; Bailey & Milner 2002; Anderson et al. 2010; Benjamin et al. 2011).