Forget Ancient Egypt and Stonehenge...Look To Scotland

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posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 05:01 AM
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On a little Island on the boundry between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea lies an archeological excavation that is re-writing british archeological history. The small set of islands called the Orkney Islands holds many secrets including Scarra Brae, but this recent discovery at the Ness of Brogdar, pre-dates even the pyramids of anchient Egypt.

It is believed that it has been occupied since 3500BC, that’s 5000 years ago. But where is the significance? Well the significance is that the people that built the Ness of Brogdar, also sent their knowledge south to the builders of Stonehenge. They built a settlement so advanced that it was the most complex of its kind anywhere else that has so far been discovered in Europe.

There are so many questions about why and how…

The land that has been surveyed and excavated so far has brought so many surprises that what they have discovered utterly eclipses anything else discovered in all of Europe. But why would people settle and build such amazing things on the Islands of Orkney? Why would they then take this advanced knowledge south to England?





The temple complex of the Ness of Brodgar, and its size, complexity and sophistication have left archaeologists desperately struggling to find superlatives to describe the wonders they found there. "We have discovered a Neolithic temple complex that is without parallel in western Europe. Yet for decades we thought it was just a hill made of glacial moraine," says discoverer Nick Card of the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology. "In fact the place is entirely manmade, although it covers more than six acres of land.

Once protected by two giant walls, each more than 100m long and 4m high, the complex at Ness contained more than a dozen large temples – one measured almost 25m square – that were linked to outhouses and kitchens by carefully constructed stone pavements. The bones of sacrificed cattle, elegantly made pottery and pieces of painted ceramics lie scattered round the site. The exact purpose of the complex is a mystery, though it is clearly ancient. Some parts were constructed more than 5,000 years ago.

What is clear is that the cultural energy of the few thousand farming folk of Orkney dwarfed those of other civilisations at that time. In size and sophistication, the Ness of Brodgar is comparable with Stonehenge or the wonders of ancient Egypt. Yet the temple complex predates them all. The fact that this great stately edifice was constructed on Orkney, an island that has become a byword for remoteness, makes the site's discovery all the more remarkable. For many archaeologists, its discovery has revolutionised our understanding of ancient Britain.

We need to turn the map of Britain upside down when we consider the Neolithic and shrug off our south-centric attitudes," says Card, now Brodgar's director of excavations. "London may be the cultural hub of Britain today, but 5,000 years ago, Orkney was the centre for innovation for the British isles. Ideas spread from this place. The first grooved pottery, which is so distinctive of the era, was made here, for example, and the first henges – stone rings with ditches round them – were erected on Orkney. Then the ideas spread to the rest of the Neolithic Britain. This was the font for new thinking at the time.


What we must do from this point on when looking at the anchient history of the UK and indeed Europe is point our eyes towards the cold climates of the North, not the warm of the south. These farmers and peasants of the time built something so magnificant that had it been seen in its day would have been so unbelievable to the eye.

Who were they worshipping? Who provided the knowledge on building walls 100m long, 4 meters high and 4 meters thick with such precision?







Excavations have revealed several buildings, both ritual and domestic and the works suggest there are likely to be more in the vicinity. Pottery, cremated animal bones, stone tools and polished stone mace heads have also been discovered. Some of the stone slabs are decorated with geometrical lozenges typical of other Neolithic sites.

There are the remains of a large stone wall (the "Great Wall of Brodgar") which may have been 100 metres (330 ft) long and 4 metres (13 ft) or more wide. It appears to traverse the entire peninsula the site is on and may have been a symbolic barrier between the ritual landscape of the Ring and the mundane world around it.

The temple-like structure, which was discovered in 2008, has walls 4 metres (13 ft) thick and the shape and size of the building are visible, with the walls still standing to a height of more 1 metre (3.3 ft). The structure is 25 metres (82 ft) long and 20 metres (66 ft) wide and a standing stone with a hole shaped like an hourglass was incorporated into the walls. There is a cross-shaped inner sanctum and the building was surrounded by a paved outer passage. The archaeological team believe it is the largest structure of its kind anywhere in the north of Britain and that it would have dominated the ritual landscape of the peninsula. Recent finds include Skaill knives and hammer stones and another, perhaps even bigger wall. The dig involves archaeologists from Orkney College and from the universities of Aberdeen, Cardiff and Glasgow.

In July 2010 a remarkable rock coloured red, orange and yellow was unearthed. This is the first discovery in Britain of evidence that Neolithic peoples used paint to decorate their buildings and is similarly coloured to the natural shades of sandstone used in the construction of the inner sanctum. It is thought that the primitive paint could have been made from iron ore, mixed with animal fat, milk or eggs. Only a week later a stone with a zigzag chevron pattern painted with a red pigment was discovered nearby.

A baked clay artefact known as the "Brodgar Boy", and thought to be a figurine with a head, body and two eyes, was also unearthed in the rubble of one structure. It was found in two sections, the smallest of which measures 30mm, but is thought to be part of a still larger object


So not only do we have sophisticated buildings but we have painted buildings and clay pots originating here.

I will leave you with more questions than answers...maybe i have piqued your interest....





Sources
One
Two
edit on 26/4/13 by jrmcleod because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 05:11 AM
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reply to post by jrmcleod
 


Yeh we Scots ave ben around since tha dawn of time!

Tis tha strong drink tha keeps us goin... Aye?

Good thread laddeh!


edit on 26-4-2013 by Akragon because: (no reason given)


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posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 05:19 AM
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Ah ha, I've actually worked on this dig.
It's a fascinating site.

Though we've known for many many years that their megalithic structures are amongst the earliest in Europe, and predate the Pyramids. Archaeological thinking re-aligned itself years ago. There's quite extensive evidence of trade networks running all down the coast to England, France and Spain.

Current thinking is a colony of master astronomers became established there, and their ideas and building techniques spread by diffusion along the trade routes. Although to be honest a lot of these ideas could have evolved spontaneously locally in various different places anyway. The concept of every new idea having a point origin and then spreading has fallen out of favour - I think it far more logical that local people encounter universal local problems and certain obvious solutions occur to them.

If you ever visit the Islands, and the archaeology is well worth it, the standing stones of Callanish are brilliant.



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 05:22 AM
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Ive visited the Orkneys on a good few occasions and spent a lot of time on the Isle of Coll...The overwhelming feeling on walking Coll is one of stepping back in time and being at one with nature...Its probably the only place Ive ever been where you can hear silence.....I would recommend a visit if you ever get the chance.....The fact that the occupants at every dwelling insist that you take a dram has nothing to do with my recommendation...honest



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 05:27 AM
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reply to post by Painterz
 


Thanks for your contribution. I have been at Callanish. It is quite haunting. I am looking at a short break in Orkney to visit these sites.



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 05:42 AM
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And all this at a time when it was supposedly colder there than it is now?



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 06:03 AM
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reply to post by jrmcleod
 


Are you sure this is older than Stonehenge? Recently Stonehenge has been found to be some 5000 years older than previously thought placing the date at around 7500BC.

news.discovery.com...
edit on 26-4-2013 by Wulfric because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 06:41 AM
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Why is there always a sense of one-upmanship with these old sites? The kind of nationalistic fervor that exists amongst contemporary archaeologists, historians and scholars 'particularly the welsh and scottish varieties' would likely seem alien to the people who built these things...



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 07:07 AM
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I saw the Neil Oliver show on this a couple of months or so ago, it was very interesting.. When they showed the graphic reconstructing the temple complex I gawped at the largest building's roof and awaited a thread here on "the orkney pyramid"

It was interesting that this complex was the beginning of religion being closed off from the masses and being administered by secretive priests, a very bronze age "innovation" as far as we know, and that iirc this was also the beginning of the end of this particular society. Perhaps this closing off of the inhabitant's belief system destroyed the ties that bound them together in what must have been a very challenging environment at the time. And after so much effort expired building such fine stone structures too.



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 07:22 AM
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Originally posted by Wulfric
reply to post by jrmcleod
 


Are you sure this is older than Stonehenge? Recently Stonehenge has been found to be some 5000 years older than previously thought placing the date at around 7500BC.

news.discovery.com...
edit on 26-4-2013 by Wulfric because: (no reason given)


Just because there was a settlement near Stonehenge doesnt mean Stonehenge was built then. They have already found links between the builders of the Ness of Brogdar being responsible for the construction of Stonehenge. Neil Oliver presented a documentary on it not so long ago.

Its well worth the watch.

Will see what i can "dig up" for you!



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 11:33 AM
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reply to post by jrmcleod
 


Excellent Post! Jarlshof is equally intriguing.

I wouldn't read too much into the existence of this site at such a great age compared to others on the mainland or elsewhere. It is more a case of the others were built over, re-occupied time and again covering up the really ancient settlements. These really out of the way places were abandoned an then not re-settled. They are a great windown into the very distant past. You will notice the similarity in arrangement to this site and others found in the US, the Med and elsewhere.

Will



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 01:49 PM
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Originally posted by Akragon
reply to post by jrmcleod
 


Yeh we Scots ave ben around since tha dawn of time!

Tis tha strong drink tha keeps us goin... Aye?

Good thread laddeh!


edit on 26-4-2013 by Akragon because: (no reason given)


Whoever lived in that settlement may well have been the ancestors of the Picts. The Scots did not arrive until about 500 AD with Fergus the Great, and that was on the west coast of Scotland, far from the Orkneys. Sorry, laddie...



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 02:43 PM
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Great post op!! So much we still discover...

Found a good PBS video on this area:
www.pbs.org...

* & F



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 02:56 PM
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reply to post by jrmcleod
 


Great Post!!


Two questions about it that is interesting (to me anyway). Why build it in such a remote location? Surely getting things like fresh water there must have been a hassle. Also, if it is so remote - why build such a huge wall around it - who were they trying to keep out?



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 03:22 PM
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Originally posted by jrmcleod
On a little Island on the boundry between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea lies an archeological excavation that is re-writing british archeological history. The small set of islands called the Orkney Islands holds many secrets including Scarra Brae, but this recent discovery at the Ness of Brogdar, pre-dates even the pyramids of anchient Egypt.

It is believed that it has been occupied since 3500BC, that’s 5000 years ago. But where is the significance? Well the significance is that the people that built the Ness of Brogdar, also sent their knowledge south to the builders of Stonehenge. They built a settlement so advanced that it was the most complex of its kind anywhere else that has so far been discovered in Europe.

There are so many questions about why and how…

The land that has been surveyed and excavated so far has brought so many surprises that what they have discovered utterly eclipses anything else discovered in all of Europe. But why would people settle and build such amazing things on the Islands of Orkney? Why would they then take this advanced knowledge south to England?








Those wall defences and narrow access paths across the water are fascinating. Were they protection against the weather, sea attacks or land invasions. They must have had wooden gates as well.

Norwegian cities have street names like Munkesgata (monks gate), Sandgata (sand gate). Trondheim and Oslo are island town. They actually have buildings that sit on top of stilts.

There's actually an island called Munkholmen that was originally a monastery that just looks like that settlement:

goo.gl...

There's also an island called Tautra which is basically an island farm - only access is via a single lane road built over stones:

goo.gl...



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 03:34 PM
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Originally posted by Frogs
Also, if it is so remote - why build such a huge wall around it - who were they trying to keep out?


That's what I'd like to know too. The Knap of Howar site, while not, as far as I know, surrounded by a wall, has a similar air of fortification...the buildings there look striking like WW2 coastal defences. Who was the competition, or predators, that they needed to keep out?

All things considered though...might just be the wind...it's a bit blowy up there as I understand it



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 03:35 PM
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Bear in mind when thinking about the remoteness of the site that many of those islands would have been part of the mainland around 10,000 years ago, when the sea levels were much lower than they are today.



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 06:28 PM
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it would seem by the context of this article that the fact that ireland was inhabited by agriculturally and culturally advanced people upto 7000 years ago is widely overlooked, ignored or that people are just not aware of it. no doubt this is a very impressive site, which undoubtedly harbours more secrets than meet the eye, but ireland's boyne valley still takes the biscuit in my eyes, highly advanced solar, lunar and star allignements, 1000 years before the pyramids, the biggest neolithic structures in europe, and more neolithic art than anywhere else in europe.
hopefully more information will come out on this particular site and the likes of skara brae though and scotlands magnificent sites will get the marvel they deserve!



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 10:18 PM
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Originally posted by Atzil321
Why is there always a sense of one-upmanship with these old sites? The kind of nationalistic fervor that exists amongst contemporary archaeologists, historians and scholars 'particularly the welsh and scottish varieties' would likely seem alien to the people who built these things...


I agree there is an element of this - tis the internets after all - but away from that it is important to try and date these things accurately. It helps to explain a lot of prehistoric migration headaches.

As someone mentioned earlier the Neil Oliver program - 'A History Of Celtic Britain' - is worth a watch.

edit on 26/4/13 by Ramcheck because: kept only most relevant video



posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 10:45 PM
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reply to post by skalla
 


okay, off topic, but I think I have a "crush" on Neil Oliver

I've always loved history and in particular, the history of Ireland and Scotland, and I am fascinated by the ancient stones. Never heard of this gentleman and I happen to catch him on our local PBS station, and think he makes history come alive.

But, I'm a history geek.

Great thread.





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