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Parch marks in the grass at Stonehenge following a dry summer have helped solve a centuries-long puzzle about whether Stonehenge was ever a complete circle, according to a news report in The Telegraph . The parch marks - areas where the grass does not grow as strongly as in other areas during hot weather - reveal places where the missing sarsen stones may have once stood.
Although a large number of stones survive at Stonehenge, the monument is nowhere near complete. This has led many authors over the last few centuries, such as John Wood (1747), William Flinders Petrie (1880), and Christopher Tilley and colleagues (2007) to question whether the monument was ever finished. This non-completion theory is based on the presence and use of what they call ‘inadequate’ stones, the absence of approximately one third of the Sarsen Circle and the majority of the lintels, and the absence of evidence for the removal of stones. Other scholars have suggested that Stonehenge was completed but it was never a fully closed circle.
One of the mysteries of Stonehenge is what happened tothe missing Sarsens. Assuming it was complete somewhere in the order of 300 tonnes of sarsen stone is miising. Apart from the edge damage caused by visitors it seems that complete stones were removed and that they were chosen from within the monument for some reason. Why take that lintel but leave the easier to remove fallen stone here? The stones don't seem to be present in any local buildings and it seems to odd to suggest they were broken up for roadstone when the easier pickings of the bluestones don't seem to have been so.
Julian Richards has suggested that one reason that sarsens were removed was for the stone to be used for producing grinding querns. There is very little stone in neighborhood suitable for stones to grind grain with and some sarsen stone types are very suitable, other less so. So a source of excellent source material may have been irresistible in the later Bronze Age, and a quern manufactory set up.
"East of (north Fargo) plantation the field system corresponds with an area of later Bronze Age activity identified by extensive surface collection in the winter of 1980-81 and subsequently sampled more intensively (Richards, J 1990 The Stonehenge Environs Project. HBMC: London ). The surface scatter consisted of pottery and large quantities of burnt flint and burnt and broken sarsen, including quern fragments, and was interpreted as a small nucleated area of later Bronze Age settlement, lying within the area of regular field"
The newly sequenced genomes from Newgrange and other Irish tombs are part of a wider re-evaluation of the Neolithic era, which is marked by the advent of agriculture. Over the past decade, researchers have used ancient DNA to track a slow-motion, 5000-year expansion of ancient farmers from Anatolia across Europe. The Neolithic settlers who arrived in Ireland around 3700 B.C.E. were the westernmost limit of that expansion.
Most Irish Neolithic settlements are small scale, with houses of roughly equal size. As seen in Neolithic graves across Europe, their burials show little sign of hierarchy. Even in major monuments like Newgrange, human remains were jumbled together, as if in a communal tomb. “Archaeologists [have] argued for a long time for a more egalitarian Neolithic,” says co-author Thomas Kador, an archaeologist at University College London.
NG10’s DNA also reveals his unusual parentage. In a paper published today in Nature, Cassidy and her co-authors draw on parallels in the historical record to argue that the son of an incestuous union buried in such a prominent tomb points to a hereditary ruling class. “Matings like that are taboo pretty much universally, with very few exceptions,” she says.
Those exceptions include Egyptian pharaohs, who were considered deities who needed to marry each other. Royal siblings in Hawaii and the Incan empire were also known to marry, concentrating power in one family. “I believe we’re seeing a similar social dynamic at play among colonists of Neolithic Ireland,” Cassidy says.
Additional DNA from more than 40 people buried at other Neolithic sites, including three passage tombs, supports the existence of a close-knit elite. People buried in passage tomb sites were more closely related to each other than to people buried in other types of tombs, even though the passage tombs were separated by hundreds of kilometers and spanned more than 500 years. Some individuals in the far-flung passage tombs could have been second or third cousins or great-great-great-great-grandparent and child.
The method makes use of electrons trapped between the valence and conduction bands in the crystalline structure of certain minerals (most commonly quartz and feldspar). The trapping sites are imperfections of the lattice — impurities or defects. The ionizing radiation produces electron-hole pairs: Electrons are in the conduction band and holes in the valence band. The electrons that have been excited to the conduction band may become entrapped in the electron or hole traps. Under stimulation of light the electrons may free themselves from the trap and get into the conduction band. From the conduction band they may recombine with holes trapped in hole traps. If the centre with the hole is a luminescence center (radiative recombination centre) emission of light will occur. The photons are detected using a photomultiplier tube. The signal from the tube is then used to calculate the dose that the material had absorbed.