The megaliths of Stonehenge, which were raised above England’s Salisbury Plain some 5,000 years ago, may be among the most extensively studied archaeological features in the world. Still, the monument is keeping secrets.
Scientists have just unveiled the results of a four-year survey of the landscape around Stonehenge. Using non-invasive techniques like ground-penetrating radar, the researchers detected signs of at least 17 previously unknown Neolithic shrines.
“Stonehenge is undoubtedly a major ritual monument, which people may have traveled considerable distances to come to, but it isn’t just standing there by itself,” project leader Vincent Gaffney, an archaeologist at the University of Birmingham in the U.K., told Live Science. “It’s part of a much more complex landscape with processional and ritual activities that go around it. That’s very different from how this has been viewed before. The important point is Stonehenge is not alone. There was lots of other associated ritual activity going on around it.”
cholars still aren’t sure why Stonehenge was built, as the monument’s Neolithic creators left behind no written records. But the ruins, which align with the sun during the solstices, stand as an impressive feat of prehistoric engineering. The biggest stones at the site, known as sarsens, are up to 30 feet (9 meters) tall and weigh 25 tons (22.6 metric tons); they are believed to have been dragged from Marlborough Downs, 20 miles (32 kilometers) to the north.
At the newfound satellite shrines around Stonehenge, Gaffney and his team revealed underground impressions, presumably left by wooden post holes, stones and ditches — some of which extend up to 13 feet (4 m) deep. Images created with geophysical prospecting tools show that some of these smaller monuments had a concentric circle design, much like Stonehenge.
The researchers also peered inside the Cursus, an immense prehistoric enclosure to the north of Stonehenge that dates back to about 3500 B.C. Stretching about 1.8 miles (3 km) long and 330 feet (100 m) wide, the Cursus had been deemed a barrier to Stonehenge, but it was so big that no one really knew what was inside of it, said Gaffney.
When the researchers surveyed this area, they found a large pit buried on the eastern end of the Cursus. This pit was aligned with Stonehenge’s “avenue,” a processional path that lines up with the sun at dawn during the mid-summer solstice. The team also found a matching pit at the other end of the Cursus. This pit is aligned with the Heel Stone at the entrance to Stonehenge, which is aligned with sunset during the solstice, Gaffney said.
“Suddenly, you’ve got a link between this very large monument and Stonehenge through two massive pits, which appear to be aligned on the sunrise and sunset on the mid-summer solstice,” Gaffney said.
The researchers also mapped dozens of burial mounds in the area, including a long barrow that dates back to an era before Stonehenge. The team detected a timber building buried inside the mound, and the project leaders think this structure might have been used for the ritual inhumation and defleshing of the dead.
Gaffney said it will take his team about a year just to process all the data they collected during their 120 days of fieldwork over the span of four years. And then it will likely be up to English Heritage (the government body in charge of archaeological and historic sites) to decide which features to dig up in a more traditional excavation. Further study should help reveal the ages of these monuments, pits and burial mounds, and help explain how Stonehenge evolved over time.
(Check out link below for Smithsonian Video.)
The findings were revealed as part of the British Science Festival and will be featured in a new BBC Two series, “Operation Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath,” which will air in the U.K. Thursday (Sept. 11) at 8 p.m. BST. A U.S. version of the special, dubbed “Stonehenge Empire,” will air on the Smithsonian Channel Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project is led by the University of Birmingham with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology.
Keyhole Mounds –
Japan. It has now been confirmed! Japan’s keyhole-shaped mounds, called “keyhole mounds,” are part of this ancient Pyramid Matrix system! Learn the deeper meaning of Japan’s keyhole mounds. The ancients knew time every bit as well as we do, and perhaps much better.
Welcome to PyramidMatrix.com. Atlantis, Lemuria or former technological civilizations are mere myths? Is there a way to know? There is incontrovertible evidence of precise global positioning, thousands of years ago, requiring space age technologies, and satellite triangulation. Carl Munck, archaeocryptographer, introduces an ancient Pyramid Matrix, in which monuments – across the globe – encode their exact positions with respect to latitude and longitude. The science of decoding these monuments is called archaeocryptography. For latitude, ancient monuments were referenced to the same (modern) equator. For longitude, these monuments were referenced to a former Giza, Egypt Prime Meridian – discovered by Munck – that ran from pole to pole across the Great Pyramid. This Web site provides introductory examples of ancient monuments, how they encode their positions in the Matrix, and resources for deeper study (and verification).
My Discovery of Archaeocryptography
Hello, I’m Carl Munck. I once had a hobby. Cryptography. But it’s not a hobby anymore! Back in 1978 I was trying to develop a code system to be based on the language of latitude and longitude (degrees, minutes and seconds), the idea being to multiply the three numbers in each set to a single number, viz., 15 degrees times 15 minutes times 0l.6000 seconds products at 360 (the number of degrees of arc in any circle).
I won’t say what I was looking for, but let’s just say I was looking for a better mousetrap and let it go at that. It was a great way to pass the time and provided my copious intellect with a lot of fun. That is, until I found my plots getting themselves tangled up with the ancient pyramids.
For example, when I divided the 360° constant by 19 degrees, 18 minutes to 0l.05263l57894 seconds, I found myself on the parallel of latitude which crosses Mexico’s round (360°) Cuicuilco (Kwee-Kueel-Ko) Pyramid just south of Distrito Federal (Mexico City).
What’s this?? The ancients knew that round things comprised 360 degrees of arc? Naw… It has to be coincidence…
England’s Stonehenge. 60 stones × 360° = 21,600 – the number that encodes its grid latitude and also is Earth’s polar circumference in nautical miles. 21,600 ÷ 51° ÷ 10′ = 42.3529411″. 51° 10′ 42.3529411″, is the parallel of latitude that crosses Stonehenge’s exact center.
But later, when probing the larger 21,600 (Number of Nautical Miles in the earth’s Polar Circumference), I found that when I divided it down through 51 degrees and 10 minutes to 42.3529411 seconds, it crossed the exact center of England’s Stonehenge – another round (360°) monument which originally had 60 stones around its perimeter. As 60 stones times 360° multiplies to exactly 21,600, I then realized that I had found something awesome and, as Stonehenge has recently been redated (C-14) back to 10,000 years BP (see English Heritage, June 1996 edition), it’s incredibly ancient. Global Positioning System technologies among the Clovis Points?
Not possible according to our present concepts of ancient man! His math skills did not exceed his fingers and toes. His knowledge of the world was limited to his horizons and his lack of writing skills pegs him as ignorant. It has been drilled into all of us since grade school.
Problem is, these pyramid/grid scenarios kept coming! Egypt’s El Kula Pyramid (at 36), its Bent Pyramid of Seneferu (180), the Druid Mound in Massachusetts (180), the earthen ideogram (“Fort”) at Newark Ohio (2160), the Temple of the Atlantes at Tula in Mexico (2880), Giza’s Sphinx (5400), Georgia’s Kolomoki Mound (7200), Ohio’s Seip Mound (8640), Mississipi’s Emerald Mound and the Red Pyramid of Seneferu at Dahshur (10,800), the ideogram at Franklin Ohio (16,200), the Great Triangle drawn on the Plains of Nazca in Peru (17,280), Germany’s Go-Low Earthcircle near Bonn (27,000), the “EYE” on the mile-long “FACE” at Poverty Point, Louisiana (32,400), the Oregon Vortex (48,600), MANOS, another drawing on Nazca’s Plains (64,800), North Bimini’s Shark Mound and the Pyramid of the Magicians at Uxmal (129,600) – ALL OF WHICH ARE DIVISIBLE BY 360!
Our modern satellite-accurate topographical maps are very accurate and these ancient pyramids too often EXPLAIN where they are – so there is no chance of error on my part. The monument builders of remote antiquity were in possession of enviable geodetic skills and they left the evidence all around us.
10 Insane Ancient Achievements that Science Can’t Explain
July 21, 2012
10 Insane Ancient Achievements that Science Can’t Explain
Out-of-place artifact (OOPArt) is a term coined by American naturalist and cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson for an object of historical, archaeological, or paleontological interest found in a very unusual or seemingly impossible context that could challenge conventional historical chronology. The term “out-of-place artifact” is rarely used by mainstream historians or scientists. Its use is largely confined to cryptozoologists, proponents of ancient astronaut theories, and paranormal enthusiasts….
In this article we present our selection of Top 10 OOPArts. There are many more (you can find them by exploring our website).
Tiwanaku (Spanish: Tiahuanaco and Tiahuanacu) is an important Pre-Columbian archaeological site in western Bolivia, South America. Pumapunku also called “Puma Pumku” or “Puma Puncu”, is part of a large temple complex or monument group that is part of the Tiwanaku. Tiahuanaco is an example of engineering so monumental that it dwarfs even the work of the Aztecs. Stone blocks on the site weigh many tons. They bear no chisel marks, so the means by which they were shaped remains a mystery. The stone itself came from two different quarries. One supplied sandstone and was situated 10 miles away. It shows signs of having produced blocks weighing up to 400 tons. The other supplied andesite and was located 50 miles away, raising the question of how the enormous blocks were transported in an age before the horse was domesticated in South America. Close examination of the structures shows an unusual technique behind their building. The stone blocks were notched, then fitted together so that they interlocked in three dimensions. The result was buildings strong enough to withstand earthquakes.
Gateway of the Sun, Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
Puma Punku site has many finely cut stones – some weighing over 100 tonnes. The processes and technologies involved in the creation of these temples are still not fully understood by modern scholars. Raad More >>
Monolithic stone blocks with precisely cut elements. Puma Punku, Bolivia
The high desert of Peru holds one of the most mystifying monuments of the known world—the massive-scale geoglyphs known as the Nazca Lines. The “lines” are ranging from geometric patterns to “drawings” of different animals and stylized human-like forms.
The ancient lines can only be truly taken in, their forms discerned, from high in the air, leaving generations mystified as to how these precise works could’ve been completed long before the documented invention of human flight. Who built them and what was their purpose? Are the lines signs left by an alien race? Ancient “crop circles”? Landing strips for alien gods/astronauts? Relics of a ancient people far more advanced—capable of human flight—then previously imagined? Or perhaps a giant astronomical calendar? Read More >>
Sacsayhuamán (also known as Sacsahuaman) is a walled complex near the old city of Cusco, at an altitude of 3,701 m. or 12,000 feet. The site is part of the City of Cuzco, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983.
Giant walls of Sacsayhuaman
They are three parallel walls built in different levels with lime-stones of enormous sizes. Zigzagging walls are made of boulders used for the first or lower levels are the biggest; there is one that is 8.5 m high (28 ft.) and weights about 140 metric tons. Those boulders classify the walls as being of cyclopean or megalithic architecture. There are no other walls like these. They are different from Stonehenge, different from the Pyramids of the Egyptians and the Maya, different from any of the other ancient monolithic stone-works. Scientists are not certain how these huge stones were transported and processed to fit so perfectly that no blade of grass or steel can slide between them. There is no mortar. The stones often join in complex and irregular surfaces that would appear to be a nightmare for the stonemason. Read more >>
[subject related: Evidence of Vitrified Stonework in the Inca Vestiges of Peru ]
Stonehenge is a megalithic monument on the Salisbury Plain in Southern England, composed mainly of thirty upright stones (sarsens, each over ten feet tall and weighing 26 tons), aligned in a circle, with thirty lintels (6 tons each) perched horizontally atop the sarsens in a continuous circle. There is also an inner circle composed of similar stones, also constructed in post-and-lintel fashion.
Stonehenge is angled such that on the equinoxes and the solstices, the sun rising over the horizon appears to be perfectly placed between gaps in the megaliths. This is doubtless not an accident, and probably contributed to the stories of its mysterious origins.
Gerald Hawkins, a Professor of Astronomy, concluded that Stonehenge was a sophisticated astronomical observatory designed to predict eclipses (Stonehenge Decoded). The positioning of the stones provides a wealth of information, as does the choice of the site itself. If you can see the alignment, general relationship, and the use of these stones then you will know the reason for the construction. The author, and other astronomers, discovered the 56-year cycle of eclipses by decoding Stonehenge! The movement of stones once each year from an initial fixed position allows to predict accurately every important lunar event for hundreds of years. This computer would need resetting about once every 300 years by advancing the stones by one space. Mankind generally used the cycle of the moon as a unit of timekeeping.
One of the strangest mysteries in archaeology was discovered in the Diquis Delta of Costa Rica. Since the 1930s, hundreds of stone balls have been documented, ranging in size from a few centimetres to over two meters in diameter. Some weigh 16 tons. Almost all of them are made of granodiorite, a hard, igneous stone. These objects are monolithic sculptures made by human hands. Read More >>
The mysterious ruins of Baalbek. One of the great Power Places of the ancient world. For thousands of years its secrets have been shrouded in darkness, or bathed in an artificial light by those who would offer us a simplistic solution to its mysteries.
The Temple of Jupiter is one of the most impressive Temples in Baalbeck. It measures 88×48 meters and stands on a podium 13 meters above the surrounding terrain and 7 meters above the courtyard. It is reached by a monumental stairway. One of the most amazing engineering achievements is the Podium which was built with some of the largest stone blocks ever hewn. On the west side of the podium is the “Trilithon”, a celebrated group of three enormous stones weighing about 800 tons each.
Some archaeologists might well wish that Baalbek had been buried forever. For it is here that we find the largest dressed stone block in the world – the infamous Stone of the South, lying in its quarry just ten minutes walk from the temple acropolis. This huge stone weighs approximately 1,000 tons – almost as heavy as three Boeing 747 aircraft.
The large stone at Baalbek, known as the Stone of the Pregnant Woman. Copyright by Ralph Ellis (source: Wikipedia)
The Great Pyramid of Giza (also called the Khufu’s Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu, and Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now Cairo, Egypt, and is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that survives substantially intact. It is believed the pyramid was built as a tomb for Fourth dynasty Egyptian King Khufu (Cheops in Greek) and constructed over a 20 year period concluding around 2560 BC. The Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years.
Originally the Great Pyramid was covered by casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface, and what is seen today is the underlying core structure. Some of the casing stones that once covered the structure can still be seen around the base. There have been varying scientific and alternative theories regarding the Great Pyramid’s construction techniques. Most accepted construction theories are based on the idea that it was built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into place.
The Shroud of Turin is reputedly Christ’s burial cloth. It has been a religious relic since the Middle Ages. To believers it was divine proof the Christ was resurrected from the grave, to doubters it was evidence of human gullibility and one of the greatest hoaxes in the history of art. No one has been able to prove that it is the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth, but its haunting image of a man’s wounded body is proof enough for true believers.
The Shroud of Turin, as seen by the naked eye, is a negative image of a man with his hands folded. The linen is 14 feet, 3 inches long and 3 feet, 7 inches wide. The shroud bears the image of a man with wounds similar to those suffered by Jesus.
One theory is simply that the Shroud is a painting . It has been proposed that it was painted using iron oxide in an animal protein binder. The STURP scientists have concluded from their studies that no paints, pigments, dyes or stains have been found to make up the visible image. Could the image have been produced by a burst of radiation (heat or light) acting over short period of time which would have scorched the cloth? Scientists have not been able to duplicate the characteristics of the Shroud using this method just like the painting hypothesis. Also the color and ultraviolet characteristics of the Shroud body image and a scorch are different. The shroud body image does not fluoresce under UV light but scorches like the burns from 1532 do fluoresce under UV light. Thus many scientists rule out the radiation theory. Read More >>
In the 1930?s, in a small rural village 100 miles southwest of Chihuahua, Mexico, at the back of a mine tunnel, two mysterious remains were found: a complete human skeleton and a smaller, malformed skeleton. In late February of 1999, Lloyd Pye was first shown the Starchild skull by its owners. Nameless then, it was a highly anomalous skull.
Front view of the Starchild skull (on the left) and the human skull (on the right). Compare striking differences between depth of eye sockets and shape of temporal area just behind outer edges of eyes.
The long-standing Star Being legends of Central and South America provide a plausible mechanism for how a highly abnormal skull (relative to humans) might have been biologically created rather than genetically or congenitally malformed, or physically manipulated by deliberate deformation (binding).
Such immense deformation across the entire occipital (rear) and parietal (upper side) areas of the skull could not result from binding without deformation being visible in the frontal area, which is not evident.
Birth defects across the entire occipital and parietal areas, while not impossible, seem highly unlikely because of the remarkable symmetry exhibited in all areas of the skull, including those effected by the deformations.
The terrain of the bone in the eye sockets contains incredibly subtle indentations and ridges that are perfectly symmetrical in both sockets, which simply have to have been formed by genetic directions rather than by deformations.
The device, made of bronze and encased in wood, was found by divers off the Mediterranean island Antikythera in 1900.
“This device is just extraordinary, the only thing of its kind,” says Mike Edmunds (Cardiff University, Wales) one of the scientists investigating this amazing artefact. “The design is beautiful. The astronomy is exactly right. The way the mechanics are designed just makes your jaw drop.”
Nothing like this instrument is preserved elsewhere. Nothing comparable to it is known. from any ancient scientific text or literary allusion. On the contrary, from all that we know of science and technology in the Hellenistic Age we should have felt that such a device could not exist. Some historians have suggested that the Greeks were not interested in experiment because of a contempt-perhaps induced by the existence of the institution of slavery-for manual labor. On the other hand it has long been recognized that in abstract mathematics and in mathematical astronomy they were no beginners but rather “fellows of another college” who reached great heights of sophistication. Many of the Greek scientific devices known to us from written descriptions show much mathematical ingenuity, but in all cases the purely mechanical part of the design seems relatively crude. Gearing was clearly known to the Greeks, but it was used only in relatively simple applications. They employed pairs of gears to change angular speed or mechanical ad- vantage, or to apply power through a right angle, as in the water-driven mill. Read More >>
for more, go to the source: http://blog.world-mysteries.com/science/10-insane-ancient-achievements-that-science-cant-explain/
The mysterious structure of Stonehenge may have been built as a symbol of peace and unity, according to a new theory by British researchers.
During the monument’s construction around 3000 B.C. to 2500 B.C., Britain’s Neolithic people were becoming increasingly unified, said study leader Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield.
“There was a growing islandwide culture — the same styles of houses, pottery and other material forms were used from Orkney to the south coast,” Parker Pearson said in a statement, referring to the Orkney Islands of northern Scotland. “This was very different to the regionalism of previous centuries.”
By definition, Stonehenge would have required cooperation, Parker Pearson added.
“Stonehenge itself was a massive undertaking, requiring the labor of thousands to move stones from as far away as west Wales, shaping them and erecting them. Just the work itself, requiring everything literally to pull together, would have been an act of unification,” he said.
The new theory, detailed in a new book by Parker Pearson, “Stonehenge: Exploring the Greatest Stone Age Mystery” (Simon & Schuster, 2012), is one of many hypotheses about the mysterious monument. Theories range from completely far-fetched (space aliens or the wizard Merlin built it!) to far more evidence-based (the monument may have been an astronomical calendar, a burial site, or both).
The Culture of Stonehenge
Along with fellow researchers on the Stonehenge riverside Project, Parker Pearson worked to put Stonehenge in context, studying not just the monument but also the culture that created it.
What they found was evidence of a civilization transitioning from regionalism to a more integrated culture. Nevertheless, Britain’s Stone Age people were isolated from the rest of Europe and didn’t interact with anyone across the English Channel, Parker Pearson said.
“Stonehenge appears to have been the last gasp of this Stone Age culture, which was isolated from Europe and from the new technologies of metal tools and the wheel,” Parker Pearson said.
Stonehenge’s site may have been chosen because it was already significant to Stone-Age Britons, the researchers suggest. The natural land undulations at the site seem to form a line between the place where the sun rises on the summer solstice and where it sets in midwinter, they found. Neolithic people may have seen this as more than a coincidence, Parker Pearson said.
“This might explain why there are eight monuments in the Stonehenge area with solstitial alignments, a number unmatched anywhere else,” he said. “Perhaps they saw this place as the center of the world.”
Theories and mystery
These days, Stonehenge is nothing if not the center of speculation and mystery. The monument has inspired its fair share of myths, including that the wizard Merlin transported the stones from Ireland and that UFOs use the circle as a landing site.
Archaeologists have built some theories on firmer ground. Stonehenge’s astronomical alignments suggest that it may have been a place for sun worship, or an ancient calendar. A nearby ancient settlement, Durrington Walls, shows evidence of more pork consumption during the midwinter, suggesting that perhaps ancient people made pilgrimages to Stonehenge for the winter solstice, Parker Pearson and his colleagues have found.
Stonehenge may have also been a burial ground, or a place of healing. Tombs and burials surround the site, and some skeletons found nearby hail from distant lands. For example, archaeologists reported in 2010 that they’d found the skeleton of a teenage boy wearing an amber necklace near Stonehenge. The boy died around 1550 B.C. An analysis of his teeth suggest he came from the Mediterranean. It’s possible that ill or wounded people traveled to Stonehenge in search of healing, some archaeologists believe.
Other researchers have focused on the sounds of Stonehenge. The place seems to have “lecture-hall” acoustics, according to research released in May. One archaeologist even suggests that the setup of the stones was inspired by an acoustical effect in which two sounds from different sources seem to cancel each other out.
The Stones Speak: Stonehenge Had Lecture Hall Acoustics
Wynne Parry, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 02 May 2012
No one knows why ancient people built Stonehenge.
CREDIT: Pete Strasser | nasa.gov
The stone slabs of England’s Stonehenge may have been more than just a spectacular sight to the ancient people who built the structure; they likely created an acoustic environment unlike anything they normally experienced, new research hints.
“As they walk inside they would have perceived the sound environment around them had changed in some way,”said researcher Bruno Fazenda, a professor at the University of Salford in the United Kingdom. “They would have been stricken by it, they would say, ‘This is different.'”
These Neolithic people might have felt as modern people do upon entering a cathedral, Fazenda told LiveScience.
Fazenda and colleagues have been studying the roughly 5,000-year-old-structure’sacoustic properties. Their work at the Stonehenge site in Wiltshire, England, and at a concrete replica built as a memorial to soldiers in World War I in Maryhill, Wash., indicates Stonehenge had the sort of acoustics desirable in a lecture hall
Stonehenge itself is no longer complete, so Fazenda and colleagues used the replica in Maryhill as a stand-in for the original structure. At both locations, they generated sounds and recorded them from different positions to see how the structure influenced the behavior of the sound.
At the replica, they found a reverberation time of just less than one second, the amount of time optimal for a lecture hall. Unlike an echo, which is a single response created when sound waves reflect off something, reverberation occurs when a sound is sustained by a quick succession of reflections arriving at different times.
Modern cathedrals can have reverberation times of about 10 seconds or more, while concert halls are designed so reverberation in them will last between two and five seconds, Fazenda said.
About one second of reverberation is “just enough for us to start becoming aware of it,” he said.
Based on their work at Maryhill, the researchers believe the many stones within Stonehenge would have diffracted and diffused sound waves, creating reverberation. The large amount of diffusion and diffraction would have also lead to good sound quality regardless of where the listener was standing in relation the source of sound within the structure.
“What we found in Maryhill as a model for Stonehenge was you could almost stand behind a stone and keep talking with a good level of voice, and people would be able to hear you somewhere else,” he said.
For the Neolithic people who built this structure, this sort of acoustic environment was likely quite unusual. They appear to have lived in smaller, thatched-roof homes made of wood, which would not have reflected sound as effectively. And the region around Stonehenge has no significant geographical features, like high cliffs, which are associated with echoes, or large caves, which are associated with reverberation, Fazenda said.
While some have suggested that Stonehenge was designed to create certain acoustic effects, Fazenda said he sees no evidence for this.
Rather than search for an acoustic motivation behind the construction of this mysterious structure, this research is intended to help better understand how the ancient people might have used the structure, he said.
Fazenda collaborated with Rupert Till of the University of Huddersfield in the UK and with archaeologist Simon Wyatt on this project.
Theories about the purpose of Stonehenge range from a secular calendar to a place of spiritual worship. Now, an archaeologist suggests that the Stonehenge monument in southern England may have been an attempt to mimic a sound-based illusion.
If two pipers were to play in a field, observers walking around the musicians would hear a strange effect, said Steven Waller, a doctoral researcher at Rock Art Acoustics USA, who specializes in the sound properties of ancient sites, or archaeoacoustics. At certain points, the sound waves produced by each player would cancel each other out, creating spots where the sound is dampened.
It’s this pattern of quiet spots that may have inspired Stonehenge, Waller told an audience Thursday (Feb. 16) in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The theory is highly speculative, but modern-day experiments do reveal that the layout of the Stonehenge ruins and other rock circles mimics the piper illusion, with stones instead of competing sound waves blocking out sounds made in the center of the circle.
In support of the theory, Waller pointed to myths linking Stonehenge with music, such as the traditional nickname for stone circles in Great Britain: “piper stones.” One legend holds that Stonehenge was created when two magic pipers led maidens into the field to dance and then turned them to stone.
Waller experimented by having blindfolded participants walk into a field as two pipers played. He asked the volunteers to tell him whenever they thought a barrier existed between them and the sound. There were no barriers in the field, but acoustic “dead spots” created by sound-wave interference certainly gave the volunteers the impression that there were.
“They drew structures, archways and openings that are very similar to Stonehenge,” Waller said.
Waller believes the people who built Stonehenge more than 5,000 years ago may have heard this sound-canceling illusion during ceremonies with musicians and thought it mystical, spurring the creation of the stone circle.
Though the theory is unlikely to settle the mystery of Stonehenge, Waller said he hopes to highlight the importance of considering sound in archaeology. Rock art sites are often in areas where cave acoustics are particularly prone to echoes, he said, suggesting that ancient people found meaning in sound.
“Nobody has been paying attention to sound,” Waller said. “We’ve been destroying sound. In some of the French [rock art] caves, they’ve widened the tunnels to build little train tracks to take the tourists back – thereby ruining the acoustics that could have been the whole motivation in the first place.”
(PhysOrg.com) — Robert Ixer and Richard Bevins, British geologists, after nine months of tedious research, have pinpointed the place from which some of the stones that make up Stonehenge were quarried. The stones in question, the so-named bluestones, the smaller kind used in the inner circle at Stonehenge, came from a sixty five meter long outcropping called Craig Rhos-y-Felin, which is close to the town of Pont Saeson in the north part of Pembrokeshire, in Wales; a site some one hundred and sixty miles from Stonehenge. The question now is, did the early Neolithic people who built Stonehenge bring them to the site over 5000 years ago, or was it due to natural causes, such as glacial movement?
That question may soon be answered as further research is conducted at the quarry site. If evidence can be found of human quarrying, little doubt will remain that the huge, four tonne stones were either loaded onto barges and sent around St. David’s Head or carted directly across the mountainous terrain that sits between Stonehenge and the quarry site.
The researchers found the quarry site by a collecting and analyzing rocks in Pembrokeshire, looking for a match with the rhyolite debitage rocks at Stonehenge. When close matches were found, they took a closer look using petrography, a means for comparing mineral content. They kept up their search till they found specimens that were 99% identical to those at Stonehenge, a sure sign that the two were from the same place. The two believe their findings mean they have pinpointed the place where the Stonehenge rocks came from to within seventy meters.
News of the find has been greeted with excitement the world over – such is the connection people feel with the mystery that is Stonehenge, the circular monument believed to have been built from the period 3000 BC to 1600 BC by early people for an unknown reason. The outer bigger stones, called sarsens, are believed by most archeologists and historians to have been hauled to the site some two hundred years after the bluestones, and came from a much closer place; somewhere in Marlborough Downs, just twenty miles to the north.
If it can be proven that the rocks were in fact quarried by people, likely many other scientists will join in the debate that will no doubt ensue in attempting to explain how such a primitive people could have achieved such a feat as transporting such big and heavy stones such a great distance, and why.