How to Read Prehistoric Monuments: Understanding Our Ancient Heritage

How to Read Prehistoric Monuments: Understanding Our Ancient Heritage

Alan Butler

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 1907486445

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This comprehensive, illustrated guide to Britain's earthworks, henges, and standing stones explores how and why they were built and used, offering a tantalizing glimpse into the religious, civic, and social practices of their creators. An A-Z section details all the site types in the British Isles, and each monument is identified by latitude and longitude, making it easy for history buffs to find them using maps and geo-location devices.

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Different sorts of tombs left to us from prehistory that I have dealt with them under their own specific headings. (See Chambered Cairns, Chambered Long Barrows, Corbelled Tombs and Gallery Graves.) Burial Mound Burial mound is a term that refers to almost any sort of mound of earth, stones, timber and earth, wattle and earth etc. structure that was built over a site where burials had taken place. In general the terms ‘barrow’ for much of Britain and ‘cairn’ for Scotland are more appropriate.

Location. The example on Hoy is called Dwarfie Stane. It is cut into a massive piece of Devonian old red sandstone. It is similar in its internal design to other chambered tombs in and around Orkney and only its unique position as a rock-cut tomb sets it apart. There are other places in Britain where rock-cut tombs have been claimed, though these are in some doubt. They may be modified natural caves or structures of a much more recent creation, but of the Dwarfie Stane there is no doubt.

The wonderful Peak District of Derbyshire, is a fine henge and stone circle but it has at its heart a mystery that has never been fully explained. This is another spectacular site and it was probably chosen because it stands on a limestone plateau. I never cease to marvel at the capacity of our ancient henge-building ancestors for finding the most spectacular locations to erect their monuments but then, since they were no less intelligent than we are, perhaps their appreciation of natural beauty.

Nothing of the people who created either the henge or the tomb, and if prehistoric research is sometimes significantly lacking in England and Scotland, it is worse in parts of Northern Ireland. This is probably because the landscape is still essentially rural in nature. Sites don’t tend to encroach on habitation (though the Giant’s Ring is not far from Belfast) and even the curious antiquarians of the 18th and 19th centuries were not so active here. The Giant’s Ring is slightly different from.

Reasons for the Roman invasion of Britain. Burial Chamber The term ‘burial chamber’ is often used to describe a range of different sorts of structures thought to have been originally designed to house the dead, though in a specific sense it relates to a particular type of tomb, mainly those created during the Megalithic period (see Megalithic Period). Such tombs are to be found across Britain. They are often, but not always, defined by having been created around a number of large flat stones,.

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