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Thursday, 24 May 2012

Wales's Earliest Cromlech?


More info in the media today about the Trefael Stone.......

Trefael Stone reveals stone age burial chamber



 
The Trefael Stone, seen here with a metre-long measuring stick, is probably the capstone of a Stone Age burial chamber
Archaeologists are to exhume and analyse human bones found under a prehistoric monument only recently identified as a burial site cap.
The Trefael Stone in Pembrokeshire was thought to be just one of many linked to nearby Bronze Age locations.
But it has now been reclassified after a survey established it as the capstone of a Stone Age ritual burial chamber.
The survey revealed the location, near Nevern, has been used for ritual burials for at least 5,500 years.
 
An archaeological team from the University of Bristol has been given permission to examine the human bones found there along with beads and shards of pottery.
The importance of the stone has been overlooked since it first appeared on maps in 1889.
The first suggestion it may be more significant than one of Wales' many prehistoric standing stones was in 1972 when archaeologist Frances Lynch suggested it could be a dolmen, or burial chamber.
University of Bristol visiting fellow Dr George Nash and colleagues Thomas Wellicome and Adam Stanford held an excavation in September 2010 and returned again last year.

The research found a number of new cupmarks, as shown by the tracing
As well as unearthing the human remains, beads and pottery, they found a stone cist - a half-metre long coffin-like container - which they estimate was put there in the later Bronze Age.
The find indicates the site may have been reused as a burial location long after the original stone chamber was built.
Their findings suggest it may prove to be Wales' earliest Neolithic ritual burial location and one of the earliest in Western Europe.
Dr Nash said he knew of Lynch's 1972 comment on the stone, and that no geophysical survey or excavation had been carried out.
He said: "I've always had this hunch that it could be much bigger. It's extremely exciting. It's one of those once-in-a-lifetime finds."
The stone is already noted for a number cupmarks or circular holes gouged out during its ritual use in the Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonies.
The archaeologists found a further 30 cupmarks of varying size on the 1.2m high stone.
Dr Nash said they were able to establish the site was stone burial chamber, built from giant boulders, going back to around 3,500 BC, which was then dismantled about 2,000 BC.
The capstone was then used as a procession marker standing stone pointing to nearby Bronze Age locations he said.

80 comments:

Geo Cur said...

Views on this stone have moderated a bit since it was reported a couple of years ago "it is now considered by several astronomers that the distribution of the cupmarks may represent a section of the night sky that includes the star constellations of Cassiopeia, Orion, Sirius and of course the North Star" Discussion here http://www.headheritage.co.uk/headtohead/tma/topic/60664/threaded/768581

chris johnson said...

Interesting that the monument has been reconfigured in the olden times and its purpose evolved. I look forward to hearing more.

Cup marks are a real enigma - what is your theory Geo?

Anonymous said...

I can see the three Kings in Orion's belt plus a bit of the sword plus Rigel BUT as seen from the Southern Hemisphere, oh I suppose you can turn the stone around.
I was for a moment on a Kon-Tiki trip (I am looking at Yschma pottery at present)so attuned to it.

Cassiopeia I search for vainly!
Myris

BRIAN JOHN said...

Hmmm -- tend to agree with Myris here. Night sky? I suppose you could do a computer match and find a coincidence -- sort of -- with almost anything.

Geo Cur said...

In case you didn't read the discussion , it is clearly nonsense .I mentioned it at the time arcaheos got defensive and agressive but had nothing to supprort it including naming the "astronomers " .The yeventually saw sense and never mention it anymore .

Geo Cur said...

Chris , of course there is more to rock art than just cup marks but they are pretty ubiquitous . It is much easier to refute interpretation and there is no shortage of nutty stuff .I avoid it but fwiw it is evident that they are found at the edges of where you might expect settlemment ,along obvious throughways /routes , in association with certain types of monument like passage graves ,chambered cairns even standing stones .So the markings are found in a variety of culturally disparate situations that coming up with one explanation would be simplistic .Typical explantions that seem reasonable are territorial markers , apotropiac art , art , increase motifs e.g. rain (in arid regions ) or game /crops ,tallies etc

chris johnson said...

Thanks Geo. My own feeling is that they are connected to divination or other magic, the emphasis in the early days being on the stone dust retrieved rather than on the cup mark left behind.

Some marks have elaborate circles around but whether these were added later or at the time, a diviner signature perhaps, we will never know. As Brian often says, I have an active imagination.

In the Nevern case I can just about imagine that people might think that taking powders from the capstone would transfer some valuable essence. I doubt they would convince Cochrane that it satisfies the modern criteria for evidence based medicine but judging by the widespread evidence remaining it seems many people thought that it worked - ancient homeopathy perhaps?

Geo Cur said...

Chris , there is ethnographic evidence from Hawaii for such a belief in pica associated with eating rock dust derived form markings made by the person with that need . Personally I don't believe it explains the avst amount of rock art found all oevr the world covering a time span of millenia .There are cases of very shallow markings that could not be due to weathering e.g. some of the more elaborate carvings found in passage tombs, it seems unlikely that anyone would go to the bother of creating complicated shallow motifs just to get some rock dust . In the case of the Trefael capstone if they were simply after the essence , why make cup marks ? if you want rock dust there are simpler ways to get it. BTW There has been a movement in horticulture /agriculture advocating covering crops and incorporating rock dust into the soil in order to remineralise depleted soils .
We can't be sure about the exact chronology of the motifs but sometiimes it is possible to see that that some did precede others e.g. radials from cups through rings rarely cut the rings but the rings can be seem to be actually penannular and stop at the radial .

chris johnson said...

Geo, we should never underestimate the capacity of a human being to spend huge amounts on time on pointless activity. Even more massive amounts of time are spent when intensive work conforms with a historic ritual. I see this daily in my profession as business consultant.

I think homeopathy is a "science" that every student of pre-history should be familiar with. It tells a lot about ourselves. Nice connection to Hawaii by the way.

Geo Cur said...

Chris , " we should never underestimate the capacity of a human being to spend huge amounts on time on pointless activity. Even more massive amounts of time are spent when intensive work conforms with a historic ritual. "
I don't disagree

BRIAN JOHN said...

Rock dust from certain types of "magic" stones was sold by quack doctors and used by sick people in this area well into the 1800's. But the powder was never taken from big rocks like this -- but from little white or cream-coloured pebbles crushed up, presumably on a mortar and pestle. In some cases it had to be taken in a glass of milk.

My preference for these pits or cup-marks is that they are entirely random, and have no pattern at all. Why do we always have to see MEANINGS and ORGANIZATION in everything?!!

Geo Cur said...

More riddles , it's called paredoilia .

Robert John Langdon said...

Its a map, not exactly rocket science!

The cup marks are classic round barrows. The problem is that you will never be able to match the 'rock map' with the local topology for two reasons:

1) The rock has suffered graffiti and people have added 'other' cup marks as they did not understand the significance of the design.

2) Most of the barrows which it would track are now ploughed under or destroyed.

It would have never been used as a burial capstone - so clearly it shows its older than Bronze age and would have been a standing stone - probably on a neolithic barrow or stone circle.

RJL

Geo Cur said...

RJ , a complete lack of evidence for any of these points. Where is the precedence for any marked rock being a map of the landscape ? It quite likely was a capstone ,possibly of portal dolmen and older than BA . Capstones are sometimes marked with cups .It certainly doesn't look like a standing stone and once again there is no evidence for any monument resembling a round barrow or stone circle , the excavators don't seem to think so .It looks like Frances Lynch was probably right

BRIAN JOHN said...

Could the holes have been used for fire-lighting rods spun with a bow and cord? Just a thought..... the rock surface would of course need to be horizontal at the time.

Geo Cur said...

It probably was horizontal originally , but would you need multiple holes for that ? It's worth mentioning that cup marks that have been protected e.g. under turf etc. often have clear signs of "pecking " , from the stone used to create the cup i.e. the cups are usually made by percussion rather than incised or ground .

Anonymous said...

These pockmarks look natural to me! Convince me otherwise …

thinker

Robert John Langdon said...

Geo

Where do you think the concept of a map comes from?

From Wiki:
"The earliest known maps are of the heavens, not the earth. Dots dating to 16,500 BCE found on the walls of the Lascaux caves map out part of the night sky, including the three bright stars Vega, Deneb, and Altair (the Summer Triangle asterism), as well as the Pleiades star cluster. The Cuevas de El Castillo in Spain contain a dot map of the Corona Borealis constellation dating from 12,000 BCE."

These were made by Cro-Magnon's on ROCK walls (do you know anything about Cro-Magnons?) I would imagine as the concept had been established they would extend it to topology on a similar medium.

RJL

Geo Cur said...

Kostas , as mentioned previously there are regular cases of people finding what they believe to be “cup marked rocks “ but often they turn out to be perfectly natural i.e. not man made . I posted a few pics of examples here http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/14271/non_rock_art.html a wee while ago to help . Recognising genuine rock art when there is nothing particularly ornate about the design (it might be a single cup ) sometimes requires experience and skill although often it is so obvious a non experienced eye will recognise it for what it is . Apart from the tell tale signs of natural markings , genuine single cup marks tend to have a particular shape, similar to an inverted cone and often have pick markings from the engravers hammering stone . The pic of the Trefael stone is pretty poor and I can understand you thinking they don’t look man made but there are better pics . I have no wish to convince you otherwise as I doubt that you are really interested in rock art , but have a look at some of these engravings and not be intrigued . http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/10893/lurgan.html

Geo Cur said...

RJL , Dots are a common feature in Cave paintings ,the vast majority do not fit into any pattern resembling constellations (although you can find Orions belt and the summer triangle everywhere )You will find that those who know anything about cave art do not accept these interpretations which have been around since Breuil.It is no different from the first mention of similar findings at the marked rock at Trefael , paredoilia , if more simplistic .

Robert John Langdon said...

Geo

Look forward to your amendments to Wikipedia.

RJL

chris johnson said...

Hi Geo,
I enjoyed the photos. I wonder whether you ever visited this site with a dowser?

Dowsing might be consider a bit nutty for this blog but I personally don't need convincing that earth energies are part of the megalithic puzzle.

For the non-dowsers I would explain that the point of a cup or a ring would be to amplify/collect the energy flows you feel in the stone. On a horizontal surface the cup could be used to charge seeds or a crystal totem, on a vertical surface it tells where to put your hand.

I know in Finland this is seriously considered. Partly because it seems many of the stones there with cup marks have a high crystal content. How are things in Scotland? Were certain stone types preferred for cup marking or is it random?

Geo Cur said...

RJL , I don't really mind wiki , but it does have it's limitations ,if you really want to know about a subject ,in this case it's cave art not the history of cartography then it's better to read the literature . If you look closely at the this particular wiki you will notice it says "integral part of the human story for a long time, possibly up to 8,000 years " note the possibly and the date .When you check the 3 refs for their statement about the “maps “ 2 don't work and one is from the BBC which often has poor editorial control of some of the whackier suggestions e.g. regular Stonehenge stories with little foundation . There was also nothing new in the idea which had been suggested years earlier and dismissed .lyzensr

Tony Hinchliffe said...

Dr George Nash, as mentioned in the article as having excavated at this site in 2010, is also connected with the Clifton [Bristol] Antiquarian Club, whose website I have previously found interesting in relation to rock art and to cup marks.

http://www.cliftonantiquarian.co.uk

Geo Cur said...

Chris , No I have never been with a dowser at any of the sites I have found , but I was involved in a dig where a dowser was used to see if they could find a buried standing stone , (it had been buried in the 60's and the digger had emigrated to Canada ), it was never found by any method .
I'm not a believer in dowsing for earth energies etc and have noted that dowsers who are supposed to find stuff hidden from view have never found any rock art which is often turf/heather covered .
Certain areas have markings other don't this isn't a purely geological phenomenon though as areas with the ideal surfaces and geology donn't have markings Sandstone , schists and softer type rocks are favoured , conglomerates ,gabbro , basalt ,limestone ( for a different reason ) tend to be avoided. Granite which is obviously quite hard is engraved upon but the markings are rarely ornate and not too common , one noticeable feature about granite markings is that they tend to be deeper than usual , possibly to compensate for lack of ornament ??

Tony Hinchliffe said...

Brian

You also had a Post on the Trefael Stone on 2nd October, 2010, with reference attached to a George Nash article.

Also a mention in a post dated 29th December 2011

Tony

Tony Hinchliffe said...

Has well-known North Pembrokeshire resident Geoffrey Wainwright made any comment about the latest findings on the Trefael Stone, e.g. HOW important a "Very Important Person" might have been buried beneath it, and just HOW substantial a connection with Stonehenge would that V.I.P. have had? (Or am I just being sardonic??) Is it too far from Carn Meini for Geoffrey to hazard a guess?

As Lloyd Grossman might say: 'Geoffrey, it's over to you. Who lived, or at any rate, died, under a capstone like this??'

BRIAN JOHN said...

Yes, I hadn't forgotten! Just put this up now because of the renewed press interest -- not sure why that should be....

Anonymous said...

Geo Cur,

Thanks for the links to 'art/no art' rock pics. I looked starry eyes wide open minded. Intrigued, puzzled and ambivalent.

One photo in particular (the third from the top in the 'not rock art' group) looked like the sculpted head of Balzac by Rodin! If I could I would paint it in red for the world to see!

You write, “I doubt that you are really interested in rock art”

I am interested! But I love 'truth and reason'. While hate 'lies and deceptions'. Call it my intellectual passion.

My honest reflections upon seeing the photos:

With few exceptions, I just could not distinguish 'rock art' from 'not art rock'. The few exceptions were the ringed cups. Though I am not convinced these weren't natural. But I do concede these may be man made. Perhaps much latter. Still, I find no sense to any of these as I find in many cave paintings, for example.

Could nature have made these? Check the following link on 'stromatolite' showing even more technically intentional designs formed naturally.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stromatolite

So I am ambivalent. But none of this is all that relevant for me. Robert on the other hand will argue an advanced prehistoric civilization of cro-magnons, using high speed microlith drills, made etchings of interplanetary travel maps for space exploration. Robert, your advanced cro-magnon civilization is now living in Uranus!

All these rocks in the photos appear to have been buried in wetlands. There is evidence of some type of geochemical processes on them that could perhaps explain the cup marks. But I confess I lack the expertise to say so. Just to suggest so.

But if these art rocks were made in low lying wet lands, I ask. If you were a prehistoric artist seeking recognition wont you seek a better rock surface higher in the open and more visible for all your patrons to admire? The rock art of Easter Island comes to mind!

thinker

Geo Cur said...

Kostas , the height of the non rockart pics don't matter but I can't say what the height of the genuine rock art examples were without a name .If they were those at Lurgan then they are on a terrace at 330m OD not what I would describe as wetlands .They are nothing like cave paintings , for a start they are clearly not paintings but engravings , like the majority of the marked rocks in Scandinavia which have been painted in the 20 th C ,unlike the Scandinavian examples they are abstarct and non representational . Why should the prehistoric "artist " be seeking recognition ? Often the engravings are on obvious boulders other times they are low lying and under turf . Where are the lies and deception ?

Geo Cur said...

Kostas , I should have mentioned in the previous post that ,except in those examples where the markings are clearly man made it's never a good idea to judge rock art from pics .You have to see it in the field ,preferably in different lighting conditions , what may look like a an uninteresting slab of rock when the sun is high in the sky or weather dull can look quite different with low bright winter sun .Recognising the many types of natural markings that may be mistaken for genuine rock art is critical and was mentioned earlier .A few years looking at the genuine article and natural markings in the field should provide a basis for recognition.

Anonymous said...

Dear Thinker
"Intrigued, puzzled and ambivalent".
It has already been written.
The song is Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.
Ms Fitzgerald singing it-bliss.
Myris

chris johnson said...

Just downloaded a super pdf from Andres Tvauri on "Cup marked stones in Estonia". Highly recommended read for those who like to base opinions on facts.

There are at least 10k genuine cup marks in Northern Estonia from 1750 stones. "Almost all are crystalline erratic boulders". This is similar to the whole NE scandinavia where many more cup marks are studied.

Andres states that cup-marked stones are found globally in prehistoric agricultural contexts. "95% of Estonian cup marks are on land used in prehistory for agriculture". He is skeptical about a primary link with burials and settlement places because they are primarily linked with crop growing, including assarting.

This raises another intriguing possibility for Nevern. Phase 1 an early Dolmen, Phase 2 a bronze age cist burial, Phase 3 late bronze age farmer immigrants making cup marks. Very curious to see where the bones come from - a Scandinavian origin would be especially interesting. I can see why the archaeologists are excited and why we should pay attention to field and lane clearances - any cup marks, Brian?

The dating of the cup marks is a challenge. Tvauri argues that they were still being created in the Iron Age. Brian will appreciate his take on folklore I think.

Enjoy!

Robert John Langdon said...

Lots of Long and Round Barrows in Estonia.....

Yet another 2000 Kilometre coincidence!

RJL

chris johnson said...

Robert, hopefully you know a lot more about this subject than I do but I suspect long barrows in Estonia have little to do with this topic and little to do with long barrows in UK.

Estonian long barrows are relatively recent (AD). The distribution is different to cup marks - seeming to have spread from the East instead of the West (slavic origin) and to be present in several areas where no cup marks are found. No doubt an interesting subject in itself but off-topic maybe?. Still maybe we learn something useful from the culture of the Estonian long barrow builders, as with the cup marks. Although if we are to believe Geo there are big differences here too, not least the type of rock preferred.

It would be great if you can expand on your thoughts when it does not prejudice the discoveries in your new book. Estonia is an interesting place.

Anonymous said...

Geo Cur,

… “lies and deceptions”
in general. As compared to “truth and reason”.

Didn't mean to compare 'cave paintings' with 'rock etchings'. Simply, though I can make sense of 'cave paintings' I cannot make any sense of 'rock etchings'. Abstract? Perhaps, but I doubt prehistoric people could or would produce Jackson Pollock s. And if you argue they would, how would we know? Not from the 'abstractions' themselves. Which can more readily randomly be found in Nature by nature.

As to the elevations of these rocks … I can only reference the photos. Without exception (I think) there are signs of wet patches and puddles shown in the photos next to the rocks. Maybe irrelevant ...

Of course, none of this has anything to do with Stonehenge! Don't you agree?

Dear Myris: Ella! I remember well …

thinker

Geo Cur said...

Kostas ,"lies and deception " where ?The wet patches are probably due to me having covered the markings with water to bring out the motifs , hardly suggestive of wetlands if you look at some of the pics it is perfectly clear that are in an upland setting . If you don't like abstract which is appropriate then try non-represenational .Non -representational markings pre dates representational .The thread was about the Treafeal stone which ahs cup marks , there are no cup marks at Stonehenege but there are examples of rock art . Why should you expect to make any sense of the engravings ? You didn't answer another question ,why shoul the prehistoric "artist " be seeking recognition .

Anonymous said...

Hi George,
there are some (approx 8) cup mark like depressions on top of the lintels of the outer circle marking the main axis.
Hawkins claimed they could have held markers for lunar alignments, but sticks put into the holes had to be packed with earth to make them stand.

Recently Simon Banton of EH has found a squared spiral,
cheers,
PeteG

Anonymous said...

Geo,
I concede and defer to your expert rock art recognition.
Hard to argue with irrelevancies.

Geo Cur said...

Hello Pete , I've never seen a pic of the puatative cups ,being sarsen they could always be those natural marks , a laser scan would be good There was a rectangular motif different from the Simon Banton pic which looked quite convincing . And of course there are the axes and daggers .

Geo Cur said...

Anon , what is irrelevant ?

Geo Cur said...

Chris , "Although if we are to believe Geo " is there any reason for not believing what I said ?
If the author is to be believed then crysatlline erratics which could be a wee bit more informative hardly sounds like much difference from granites or schists and may explain why only cups are found , (note what I said earlier about granite ). Odd that there is no discoveries of marked outcrops .

Anonymous said...

Geo Cur,
irrelevant: cup marks which may or may not be man-made.

Anonymous said...

Hi George,
It took me ages to find some pics of the Stonehenge cups marks.
There is a photo in Hawkins' book Mindsteps to the Cosmos and I managed to get a snap from Fathers for Justice when they took over the site in 2007 and kindly sent me the pics they took while on top the lintels.
They don't look like anything I've seen on other sarsens and I've seen a lot of natural cup type depression on stones in Wiltshire over the years.
http://www.peteglastonbury.plus.com/LintelCups.jpg

PeteG

chris johnson said...

Geo,
Glad you are enjoying Tvauri. It is a real eye-opener the amount of study that has been done in Scandinavia, also into earlier rock painting. Sorry if you thought I was doubting your inputs - nothing was further from my mind. I guess I was puzzled, and still am, why the distinct preference in Scandinavia for crystalline erratics and it would be nice to know more about the geological aspects.

I don't see any reason to doubt Tvauri - he seems to take a very scientific approach and has done a lot of work.

Geo Cur said...

Thanks Pete , I have to say they don't look too convincing , but with the ususal caveat of " it's never fair to judge from a pic " .Never likely to get a good look though . Some of the T shaped stones at Catal Hoyuk have what look like pretty convincing cups on top .

Geo Cur said...

Chris ,the Tvauri article has been around for a few years .The crystalline erratic comment is only applicable to Estonia, which is not in Scandinavia .There is a far wider use of of rock type in Scandinavia particulary bedrock which seems to ahve been avoided in Estonia .It's not that odd in that these erratics could be granitic and as I ahd commented earlier those areas where granite is engraved on in the UK the markings tend to be basic cups with little ornament . I have no reason to doubt the author either just that you didn't use the phrase "if we are to believe Tavuri " .

Geo Cur said...

Anon , have a look at the two pics and text at the top of this blog then explain why cup marks are irrelevant .

chris johnson said...

Geo, thanks for reminding me of your earlier remarks that granites in UK tend to have simple cup marks and for pointing out that other UK stone types are noteworthy for the spiral forms - at least I think this is what you are saying. I take your opinion seriously, so if you want to expand on this I am all ears.

As for the preponderance of crystalline erratics for cup marking in Sweden and Finland, Tvauri is not my only source. However, I am not an expert like yourself so I have no way of weighting the different views for plausibility - this is why I started off by asking you and thanks for sharing your opinion.

Re your own credibility, I hope you appreciate that I take your views seriously. It is difficult on the internet, especially when people use pseudonyms. For all I know you could be chairing the British Archaeology Society; or you could be an enthusiastic hobbyist like myself. Either way I think we are similar in appreciating that there are more things we DON'T know than things we know, and when we do think we do know something we are happy to pass it on, even when people ought to have heard it before.

Coming back to the Nevern cup marks, what is your take?

It would seem to me to be a relatively late embellishment of the stone by farmers, possibly Estonian or Swedish refugees in the iron age? As far as I know there are few cup marks elsewhere in Prescelli to indicate a local origin.

Anonymous said...

I do not think 'crystalline erratics' has any real meaning; since all minerals are crystalline, most rocks could be thought of as crystalline, though we usually restict that term to rocks where the crystals are visible with the naked eye/loupe.
The use here, by, I guess, a non-geologist just means coarse-grained and could be anything from quartzite/vein quartz to gabbro to sparry limestone.
M.

chris johnson said...

Geo, forgot to mention that you were right to pull me up on my loose use of the word "Scandinavia". A couple of years back I was invited to take a trip into Karelia which I would have loved to do because supposedly some of the old paganism is alive and well. I was getting the visa but the trip got cancelled because my Finnish hosts thought it would be too dangerous.

In my time in these northern parts I have become aware that there are divisions such as we have with Welsh/Irish/Scottish/English. Maybe even more because they still have people in the Far North who live in a more hunter/gatherer fashion and where shamanism still lives just under the skin. From a helicopter view it all looks similar but there are distinct differences.

Trying to imagine "Scandinavia" in prehistory is difficult but I think there are several reasons to look for cultural continuities around the Baltic, even though these are today split in different political entities. Still we should not accept blindly that Sweden =Finland= Estonia, even for cup marks. Actually the "tribal" difference are large. It is a much more complex picture.

Geo Cur said...

Chris , pardon the pedantry on a couple of points , but spirals are not at all common in open air rock art on Britain .,I hope I didn't give that impression .I may have mentioned something along the lines of being more ornate ,meaning rings , radials ,"keyholes " etc rather than just simple cup marks .Also much of the Swedish engravings are on bedrock not erratics .
Fwiw I would suggest that the Trefael cup marks date from the original monument i.e. when the stone was a capstone for a dolmen/ portal type monument ,rather than than later additions. There are other raltively local examples . Although there are examples of possible very early engravings in Scandanavia it looks like the majority are later than those in Britain /Ireland.I don't buy the old capstone being reused as a standing stone to direct processions between other monuments.Like the astronomical depictions of the constellations it loks like press attention grabbing imaginings .

Geo Cur said...

Chris , mention of Karelia =Sibelius = the first person to identify rock art in Finland at Hvittrask .I spent quite a bit of time in Scandinavia and the northern countries in the 70 's and in many respects Finland is a quite distinct . Highly recommnded recent novel http://www.amazon.co.uk/Finnish-Grammar-Dedalus-Europe-2011/dp/190351794X

Geo Cur said...

Agree M , crystalline , was not too helpful , but at least the erratics was .It's possible that dicoveries ahve been limited to the obvious and there has not been enough invstigation into bedrock markings , some turf lifting required .

chris johnson said...

M.
I am trying to get more specificity. Perhaps you have better channels?

Anonymous said...

Geo Cur,

I have seen the pics and read the txt. It is not all that certain to me these cup marks were made by prehistoric people. To me they look natural.

If these cup marks were made by prehistoric people, we have as far as I know no explanation to them. Unless you want to accept Robert's claims these cup marks represent round barrows and the etching is a map of prehistoric barrows. But unfortunately most of these barrows were plowed over and so the evidence once again was destroyed. Just like with his rotten wood records.

Or these cup marks are etchings of the night sky, with Orion's Belt clearly visible every time three cups line up. Better imaginations can come up with better explanations. And that's the problem with made up explanations and no evidence.

But we know (and you say) in many instances such cup marks are natural. And even an expert has hard time deciding which cups are natural and which are man-made.

I've looked at your 'not art rocks' and I looked at your 'art rocks'. They just don't look all that different to me, except for the rings which could have been added latter. But I know ring formations and even more technically intentional features can be made by nature. I provided an example of 'stromatolites' which in some instances are rings of rocks on the beach surface.

I would never dispute a cave painting of a horse, for example, is man-made. But I just don't have the same sense for these cup marks. You do. Why don't you explain why you think they are. And why they were made. And why all this is relevant to Stonehenge!

critical thinker

Geo Cur said...

Kostas , seeing some pics and reading a wee bit of text is hardly a basis for making any pronouncements .being unable to explain something is not grounds for dismissing them . If you are really intetsted then rad the literature and more importantly spend some time looking at genuine rock art in the field as well as those natural markings that look to the inexperinced eye as man made , these include rings which I had mentioned in an earlier post . Cup markings and related markings from the same tradition have been found in secure contexts giving us terminus ante quems e.g. cup amrked rock from the long barrow at dalladies or amrked orthostats from passage graves . They are relevant to the blog about Trefael which is part of a web site about Stonehenge, whether or not there are cup markings at Stonehenge there are certainly examples of rock art there .Why should you expect to have any " sense for cup marks " ? There are a million and one things in 21st C culture I'm sure like the rest of us you have "no sense for "

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well, this is a a jolly discussion you have been having, boys and girls (or is it just boys?). Sorry to have been somewhat out of the loop for the last few days -- been concentrating on giving away lots of free books on Kindle! (You might be surprised to know that the process involves a great deal of very hard work.....)

Anonymous said...

Geo Cur,

My last post was an invitation to share your sense-ability over some cup marks on a stone. You RSVPed with “opportunity missed”.

thinker

Geo Cur said...

Kostas , if you had read previous posts you would seen that I had already responded to these questions .meanwhile you ahve failed to respond to "Why should the prehistoric "artist " be seeking recognition ?"Where are the lies and deception ? " &.Why should you expect to have any " sense for cup marks " ?

Jon Morris said...

been concentrating on giving away lots of free books on Kindle! (You might be surprised to know that the process involves a great deal of very hard work.....)

Hi Brian. Why's it hard work and did you get a large take-up: Do you see it being free for a short period as a good promotional vehicle?

I'd be interested to know if you format in house or send it out for conversion to html?

All the best

Jon

BRIAN JOHN said...

Jon -- all the lowdown is here:



This is for one of my novels. Written, published, formatted for Kindle and uploaded myself!

I wouldn't even think of doing the Bluestone book for Kindle -- far too many illustrations.

Anonymous said...

Geo Cur you ask,

"Why should the prehistoric "artist " be seeking recognition ?"


The 'prehistoric artist' probably was not seeking 'recognition'. I agree!

"Where are the lies and deception ? "


This was general and not specific to you. It was intended to include such things as 'astronomical observatories', 'prehistoric SPAs', 'human transport of megaliths', 'night sky etchings', 'round barrows maps', 'globetrotting boat civilizations', 'Cursus processions and alinements', 'supersized people', etc.

Why should you expect to have any " sense for cup marks " ?


Making 'sense' is my 'human need'. Isn't it for you? I fear for humankind when deliberate actions are senseless!

Kostas

Geo Cur said...

Kostas , I partly agree on some of the "lies and deceptions " (suppositions without evidence is probably better ) with some modifications e.g. megalithic observatories implies that certain megalithic monumental alignments were used to observe the event they were aligned towards , there is little evidence for this but observation would have been needed to align the monument in the first place , you don’t need megaliths to observe . I don't know what an SPA might be .Humans did move megaliths in prehistory .
Making sense might be a need for you but that doesn't mean you should expect to understand the actions that make perfect sense to your contemporaries never mind those from prehistory . “Why did X do that ?” is an everyday response by those of us who don’t belong to the same sex , age group ,philosophy , religion , gang , sensibilities etc of other actors .

Anonymous said...

Geo Cur,

“...doesn't mean you should expect to understand the actions that make perfect sense to your contemporaries never mind those from prehistory”


But I do expect to understand what makes perfect sense to others. This is equivalent to understanding them. Not that I always do, however.

Sense is what connects us to the World, to Life, to other people, and to Reality. When we begin to understand without making sense with others, we drift into a netherworld of Fantasies and Metaphysics. This I am afraid is happening with Prehistoric Archeology!

Kostas

Geo Cur said...

Kostas , you have "no sense for cup marks " and I'm sure countless other actions throughout history and prehistory it's just something you have to live with , it isn't usually a problem for the rest of us ,we accept it .
The fantasies of archaeological interpration have always been with us and are common in rock art studies too , e.g. the interpretation of the Trefael stone as depicting constellations , but there is also much that provides genuine scientific info and avoids interpretative fantasy ,as the results of the dig Trefael may well show .

chris johnson said...

"I see no ships"

Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen after supposedly putting his telescope to his blind eye, thereby not exactly disobeying orders, and prior to destroying the Danish Fleet which forgave all sins.

Anonymous said...

Geo Cur you write,

“... you have "no sense for cup marks " … it's just something you have to live with , it isn't usually a problem for the rest of us ,we accept it .”


Richard Feynman is often quoted as admonishing his students to “shut up and calculate” whenever they raised questions about the meaning of QM. What you are suggesting is the equivalent. Should we just accept it? Isn't unquestioned acceptance belief? If you were to admit to this and profess “this is what I believe”, I would respect your beliefs. But this metaphysics is proclaimed as universal fact, requiring all mankind to accept it. In the past, this lead of apocalyptic religious wars. I hate wars! Thus I hate dogma.

Kostas

Geo Cur said...

Kostas ,man made cup marks exist, they are puzzling .If you can't accept that then that is your problem .At least you don't come up wild and whacky ideas to "explain " them as most "thinkers " do when confronted the problem .

Anonymous said...

Geo Cur,

I have no problem not “accepting”. The problem is “accepting”.

What is the range of sizes to these 'pockmarks' in the Trefael stone? And was this face of the stone face down buried in the ground? Was the stone later stood upright as in the picture when excavated?

I ask if you know. If you don't know, no problem.

Kostas

Geo Cur said...

Kostas , am I right in thinking all the talk of "lies and deception " ,dogma " , "making sense " and most of the content of the last few posts was essentially : you can't understand why the Trefael stone is accepted as having man made cup marks ?

chris johnson said...

Recently was reminded that cup marks are found on the inside of some of the brittany monuments dated 4000-5000 BC. The relationship with farming (Tvauri) and the possible Nevern date becomes even more intriguing.

Given the widespread use of cup marks over long time periods I suspect the meaning must have been crystal clear in early times and simple.

Brian, while you were away I asked how common cup marks are in Prescelli? Any opinion?

Anonymous said...

No! It's always all about Truth!

Kostas

BRIAN JOHN said...

" .... always about the Truth!" Now where have we heard that before?

BRIAN JOHN said...

There are assorted stones with cup-marks on them, and a study by the two profs: Darvill, T. and Wainwright, G., 2003. A Cup-Marked Stone from Dan-y-Garn, Mynachlog-Ddu, Pembrokeshire, and the Prehistoric Rock-Art from Wales. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 69, pp. 253-264.

My friend John Sharkey has a nice little book called "The Meeting of the Tracks" in which he lists rock art sites (including cup-mark sites) all over Wales -- quite a few sites are listed in Pembs.

There is even a Welsh Rock Art Organization, with a splendid web site:
http://www.rock-art-in-wales.co.uk/top/database.html
Very clear photos and detailed records too. Recommended.

Geo Cur said...

There is one marked rock in the Preselis with no grid ref ,one possible on Carn Ingli and the Dan Y Garn one . Interesting that the Profs mentioned others in the article and also repeated on tv but did not produce any evidence / pics etc .
I would imagine that there will be more to be found in the area but whether the ones they mention are genuine , who knows . Most of the other Pembrokeshire examples are in monumental /burial contexts .

chris johnson said...

Thanks for taking the trouble Brian. The site is a veritable treasure trove with some great pieces by George Nash.

In one he remarks that in a big study igneous rocks seem preferred for capstones and sedimentaries for the supports. I'll read carefully....

chris johnson said...

If Trefael fits the Pembrokeshire pattern there may well be cup marks on an outcrop within a few hundred metres.

Geo, the web site tells of several sites with similarities around Prescelli. The front page shows a sample. I agree with you that more will likely be revealed.

Geo Cur said...

Chris , Wales doesn't have much rock art that has been discovered and has never a dedicated researcher who actually goes and finds the stuff but there are areas that certainly look like they could produce the goods ,e.g. parts of Pembrokeshire .

chris johnson said...

Exactly. This is where experience comes in. On my recent field trip to Pembrokeshire I would not have recognized a cup mark even if it had been staring me in the face - too focussed on the bigger landscape, routes, springs, rivers, locating various sites, inter visibility, etc. I would have had to go looking in another way to find cup marks - different now, hopefully.