Brit-Am Megalithic Bulletin Update (19 September, 2014, 24 Elul, 5774)
1. Caucasus Dolmens
2. Hidden Monuments Reveal 'Stonehenge Is Not Alone'
3. Massive 5,000-Year-Old Stone Monument Revealed in Israel by Owen Jarus
1. Caucasus Dolmens
Extracts (but go to the above URL to read full article and view some interesting illustrations).
The Caucasian dolmens represent a unique type of prehistoric architecture, built with precisely dressed large stone blocks. The stones were, shaped into 90-degree angles, to be used as corners or were curved to make a circle. The monuments date between the end of the 4th millennium and the beginning of the 2nd millennium B.C. They are situated in the foothills (about 250-400 meters above the sea level) along the coast of the Black Sea. This chain is the biggest conglomeration of dolmens in Europe.
Approximately 3,000 of these megalithic monuments are known in theNorth-Western Caucasus, but more are constantly being found, while more and more are also being destroyed.
In the opinion of Vladimir Markovin, all forms of the Caucasus dolmens can be categorised into four main types:
Plate Dolmens: These dolmens are essentially stone boxes, formed with 5 complete plates of stone. It has been established that 92% of the Caucasus dolmens were built in this fashion. They are also considered to be some of the oldest, being dated at c. 2,700 BC.
... The late period of dolmen culture falls on the middle of the 2nd [millennium] B.C. Plate dolmens lose clearness of their proportions, trough-shaped dolmens appear. By the end of the period, dolmen-monoliths appear. Approximately by 1,400 BC, many of the dolmens begin to be used as burials or as bone depository. By that time they stopped building them." (3).
Compound Dolmens: These dolmens were built partially into rock, but also have walls built of smaller plates or stone blocks.
Trough-shaped Dolmens: These structures were hollowed out from the living rock, then covered with removable plates.
Some unusual items associated with dolmens are big round stone balls, double balls and animal sculptures. (1)
The Portal Holes:
All of the dolmens are punctuated with a portal in the centre of the facade. Some are made of more than one stone, and others carved through a single stone. While round portholes are the most common, square ones are also found. Related to these are the stone plugs, which were used to block the porthole, and are found with almost every tomb. They are sometimes phallic-shaped. (1). Typically, the entrance of a Caucasian dolmen is always at the south-side (as with the Dutch Hunebeds).
The Kolikho Disc:
2. Hidden Monuments Reveal 'Stonehenge Is Not Alone'
by Megan Gannon, News Editor
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."
Scholars 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.
3. Massive 5,000-Year-Old Stone Monument Revealed in Israel
By Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor
September 15, 2014 1:00 PM
Located about 8 miles (13 kilometers) northwest of the Sea of Galilee, the structure is massive, its volume is about 14,000 cubic meters (almost 500,000 cubic feet) and it has a length of about 150 meters (492 feet), making it longer than an American football field. Pottery excavated at the structure indicates the monument dates to between 3050 B.C. and 2650 B.C....
Archaeologists previously thought the structure was part of a city wall, but recent work carried out by Ido Wachtel, a doctoral student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, indicates there is no city beside it and that the structure is a standing monument.
The structure's crescent shape stood out in the landscape, Wachtel told Live Science in an email. The shape may have had symbolic importance, as the lunar crescent is a symbol of an ancient Mesopotamian moon god named Sin, Wachtel said.
An ancient town called Bet Yerah (which translates to "house of the moon god") is located only a day's walk from the crescent-shaped monument Wachtel noted. As such, the monument may have helped mark the town's borders. While the monument is located within walking range of the city it is too far away to be an effective fortification.
The structure is about 150 meters (492 feet) long and 20 m (66 feet) wide at its base, and is preserved to a height of 7 m (23 feet), Wachtel's research found.
"The estimation of working days invested in the construction [of] the site is between 35,000 days in the lower estimate [and] 50,000 in the higher," Wachtel said in the email.
If the lower estimate is correct, it means a team of 200 ancient workers would have needed more than five months to construct the monument, a task that would be difficult for people who depended on crops for their livelihood. "We need to remember that people were [obligated] most of the year to agriculture," Wachtel said.
At the time this monument was built, the site of Bet Yerah was located only 18 miles (29 km) away.
Bet Yerah was a large town with a grid plan and fortification system, according to a study detailed in 2012 in the Journal of Near Eastern Archaeology. Its inhabitants traded with the early kings of Egypt, as seen from several artifacts, including a jug with a hieroglyphic inscription.
The name Bet Yerah indicates that it was associated with the moon god. However, it's uncertain whether the town actually bore this name 5,000 years ago. In the 2012 journal article, researchers said the name "Bet Yerah" was recorded in 1,500-year-old Jewish rabbinic texts and may date back much earlier.
Other large rock structures have been found not far from the crescent-shaped monument. One structure, called Rujum el-Hiri, isin the Golan Heights (an area to the east of the Sea of Galilee) and has four circles with a cairn at its center. The date of this structure is a matter of debate; recent research by Mike Freikman, an archaeologist with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, suggests it may predate the crescent-shaped structure by several centuries.
Another stone monument, a giant cairn that weighs more than 60,000 tons, was discovered recently beneath the waters of the Sea of Galilee. Its date is unknown, but like the crescent-shaped structure, it is located close to Bet Yerah.
Wachtel's work at the crescent-shaped monument was conducted as part of his master's thesis.Today, people living in the area call the monument by its Arabic name, Rujum en-Nabi Shua'ayb, and it is sometimes referred to as the "Jethro Cairn," a reference to the Druze prophet Jethro, who plays an important role in local folklore.
Our examination of the Bible shows (in the light of Commentary such as that of the Radak and Abarbanel) thjat the existence of a Megalithic trail showing the pathway of migration of the Lost Ten Tribes was to exist. And such a pathway of megalithic monuments is indeed there.
20 Is Ephraim my dear son?
Is he the child I delight in?
As often as I speak against him,
I still remember him.
Therefore I am deeply moved for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,
says the Lord.
21 Set up road markers for yourself,
make yourself signposts;
consider well the highway,
the road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities.
Correct Translation in the Light of Rabbinical Commentaries:
"Set yourself up stone monuments [menhirs, dolmens] and high heaps of stones [cairns] [i.e. Megalithic monuments!]. Set your heart towards the prepared way: The way in which you went. Turn back o virgin of Israel, return unto these cities of yours."