How Early can they be Dated?
Emmet Sweeney, "ARTHUR AND STONEHENGE: BRITAIN'S LOST HISTORY ," 2001.
Chapter 7, NEW HORIZONS, The Megalithic Peoples.
Conventional academia ascribes the ealier "Megalithic" monuments in Western Europe to "the Long Barrow people, from the shape of their graves, whilst the first metal-using people, who are believed to have initiated the Bronze Age around 1,600 BC, are named the Beaker people, on account of the distinctive shape of their pottery." Both groups were megalith-builders.
In fact the Beaker Folk and their Stone Age "Neolithic" Long Barrow predecessors co-existed side by side in the same areas. Stone and Bronze Age cultures were not different from each other and did not take place at different times.
The chronological sequence of findings from the different cultures (if they really were different) is doubtful.
Sweeney says that the first megaliths, and probably the majority of them, were erected in the 800s and 700s BCE.
[ The Ten Tribes were exiled in the 700s according to the earliest accepted dates. These dates are therefore more than a 100 years too early for us to relate them to the Ten Tribes. Nevertheless, the dating is not exact and may well be 100 or 200 years too early
The British Isles were settled in 9th and 8th centuries BC. by Celtic-speaking peoples... these settlers were mainly peasant farmers who employed stone tools for most of their needs.
Sweeney relates Megalithic Finds in Ireland to Spain:
# the Irish Passage Graves, most famously the majestic structures of the Boyne Valley, were apparently identical in design to a whole class of Spanish monuments. The parallels were detailed and precise; and included designs (especially a variety of spiral motifs and lozenges) carved upon rocks, and decorated stone basins discovered in the burial chambers of the most important monuments. So compelling is the evidence that the Spanish origin of much insular megalithic culture is now part of accepted wisdom: #
# Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages overlap, and all three materials were used concurrently for many centuries. Indeed there is evidence to suggest that stone implements were widely used by the peasantry throughout Europe well into the Christian era. #
In Britain "the Bronze and Iron Ages begin more or less simultaneously. "
Sweeney suggest this was due to trade with the Phoenicians.
# A rudimentary understanding of the properties of metals reveals bronze to be a harder, though more brittle material than pure (or wrought) iron. Thus bronze is capable of taking a much sharper edge than iron - which explains why bronze was used for many centuries for weapons and razors. On the other hand wrought iron is not as brittle as bronze. A plough made of iron would not snap upon hitting a rock, as one of bronze certainly would. Thus in the Iliad iron is used for agricultural tools, with ploughs specially mentioned. #
Megalithic Monuments in may cases are aligned with astronomical phenomena.
# The most astonishing discoveries had to wait till the 1970s, when the work was famously taken up by Professor Alexander Thom, who quickly realised that most, if not all, the monuments had significant astronomical orientations, and that the architects displayed fairly advanced mathematical knowledge, as well as the use of a standardised measure, which Thom called the megalithic yard. #
These claims and others like them went to create a field of study known as Archaeoastronomy.
This is accepted to some degree today by most authorities. Some of the claims made however by Archaeo-astronomers are widely doubted.
The degree of exertise and depth of knowledge required to carry out many of the Megalithic Projects presupposes a class of trained experts whom Sweeney identifies with the Druids of Celtic Civilization.
#... if the majority of the megaliths were actually erected between the 9th and 7th centuries BC., then both the priesthood and the sophisticated knowledge and organisation displayed by them become much more comprehensible. So too does the evidently Celtic nature of the religion and religious practices of the megalith-builders. In this context it is worth noting that the four station stones surrounding the outer sarsen circle at Stonehenge provide, among other things, an alignment for sunset on May Day, the Celtic festival of Beltane. #... # We recall that the Irish name for a standing-stone circle is beltany. #
Beltane in Gaelic means "Fire of Bel."
Sweeney also asserts Egypts pyramid-building age commenced around 820 BC.