Brit-Am Megalithic Bulletin Update (19 February, 2015, 30 Shevet, 5775)
1. "The Carved Stone Balls of Scotland" by Jeff Nisbet
2. "Significance of Megalithic Monuments in Atlantic Europe?" by Ashleigh Murszewski
3. "Silbury Hill was 'an ancient lighthouse by the sea', author claims" by Tristan Cork
1. The Carved Stone Balls of Scotland by Jeff Nisbet
The Carved Stone Balls of Scotland Who made them, and why?
Only about 400 of Scotland's 4,000-year-old carved stone balls have been found.They are of fairly uniform size, with the diameters of most measuring around 2.75 inches. Fitting nicely within the cupped hand, they are made from a variety of stone -- from soft sandstones to hard granitics. The numbers of projections or knobs range from between three and 160, with six knobs being by far the most common.
They display varying degrees of workmanship. A few, like the remarkable Towie Stone, display beautifully intricate carvings,while others are unadorned.
All but five of the stones have been found in Scotland, with the majority discovered in the Aberdeenshire area [in the northwest Pict area]. Along with its vitrified forts and Loch Ness Monster, these carved stone balls take their place as one of Scotland's most enduring mysteries, and never fail to excite the inquisitive mind. Although many theories have been presented, no one is sure who made them or why.
In her exhaustive study of the balls, published in the 1976-77,
Dorothy N. Marshall reports their distribution 'is much the same as that of the Pictish symbol stones which led to the original idea that the balls were of Pictish origin,' but goes on to say that the small collection found while excavating Skara Brae, a stone built settlement in the Orkney Islands, place them firmly in the later Neolithic or New Stone Age period, which is too early for the Iron-Age Picts.
Marshall also says, however,that the area where the majority of the balls were found 'is also the area of good land which today, as well as in antiquity, can support the largest population,' ...
In their 1992 book,
"Scotland, Archaeology and Early History", Graham and Anna Ritchie report that 'very few balls have been found on archaeological sites, but those from Skara Brae clearly demonstrate their use in Neolithic times.' Coincidentally, however, a ball was recently discovered within the Ring of Brodgar, the great Neolithic henge and stone circle that lies just 5.5 miles southeast of Skara Brae, causing a bit of excitement within the archaeological community.The Ritchies also report 'old records of balls having been found in burial cists suggest that their reverence if not their manufacture continued into Bronze Age times.' ...
.... the cast-bronze objects known as Roman dodecahedrons.Though younger in origin than Scotland's carved stone balls, but just as mysterious, the Roman dodecahedrons are so named because of their twelve pentagonal faces and because they have generally been found within the ancient boundaries of the Roman Empire. Dated from the2nd or 3rd centuries AD, they are almost 3000years younger in origin than the Skara Brae balls,are made of metal, not stone, and are hollow, not solid. Of the 100 or so that have been found, most have been found in France and Germany, and not one has been discovered in Scotland.
2. Significance of Megalithic Monuments in Atlantic Europe?
by Ashleigh Murszewski
As much as they are known for their body art, the Picts are also known for the variety and quantity of sculpture and artwork that they left, a proficiency that defies their early reputation as uncivilized warriors.
"They have almost as many monuments as does the area south of Hadrian's Wall," said Hudson. "Some of these are miniature on the Stonehenge model, standing stones. Some of them are in burial mounds made in concentric circles."
That is only one of the mysteries of Pict sculpture, however. The monuments are adorned with symbols that have yet to be translated.
3. Silbury Hill was 'an ancient lighthouse by the sea', author claims
By Tristan Cork Posted: March 03, 2015
It has been an enigma for centuries, but now an author and mapmaker believes he has come up with the reason Silbury Hill in Wiltshire [central southwest England] "Europe's largest manmade Neolithic structure", exists.
... according to Robert John Langdon, Silbury Hill was an ancient lighthouse built to help ships, sailing on the post-glacial waterways of what is now very much the dry land of southern England, find their way to the nearby holy place of Avebury.
Langdon's rather unconventional hypotheses of Wiltshire's ancient sites have hit the headlines before. He claims that archaeologists and historians looking to come up with theories about Stonehenge and Avebury miss one vital point, the sea level was much higher thousands of years ago as the ice caps melted from the last Ice Age.
In a book four years ago, he claimed southern Britain was a series of islands linked by waterways, channels and huge swollen rivers, and that Stonehenge was located where it was because it was close to what was effectively the coast.