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Amateur archaeologist finds ‘phenomenal’ trove of rock engravings
Scottish enthusiast George Currie’s prehistoric carvings to be included in ‘exciting’ research project

A ‘cup mark’ – a central depression with rings and grooves – discovered by Currie in central Perthshire. Photograph: George Currie[URL='https://www.theguardian.com/profile/dalya-alberge']

Dalya Alberge

Saturday 17 September 2016 21.37 BST

Currie’s discoveries will be included in the biggest research project into British prehistoric rock art, a five-year, £1m study starting next year. The project will be hosted by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) under the leadership of Dr Tertia Barnett, an honorary fellow of the University of Edinburgh. Rock art is “relatively undervalued and little known”, she said. “This project is very exciting.”

(Neolithic Figurines) "Some researchers believe it was an equalitarian society"

This has been society which has surpassed mere egalitarian standards of equalness, far beyond, to a level of equality we can only guess at....all things being equal.
‘Ancient passage tomb’ found beneath Dublin’s Hellfire Club
Tomb uncovered on site of former lodge where ‘young bucks of Dublin’ gathered

Wed, Oct 19, 2016, 12:28 Updated: Wed, Oct 19, 2016, 12:37


An archaeological excavation at the Hellfire Club in the Dublin mountains has uncovered what is believed to be an ancient passage tomb. Photograph: Abarta Heritage

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An archaeological excavation at the Hellfire Club - the popular Dublin viewing spot on Montpelier Hill in the Dublin mountains - has uncovered what is believed to be an ancient passage tomb.

Archaeologists working at the site near Tallaght
in South County Dublin believe the large tomb discovered beneath the remains of the former lodge was once a large passage tomb similar to the tomb at Newgrange.

It is believed the passage tomb, which was destroyed by workmen building the Hellfire Club shooting lodge in 1725, would have once been a large circular mound with a stone line passageway that led to a burial chamber. This type of tomb generally dates to around 5,000 years ago during the Neolithic period.

Archaeologists taking part in the dig believe the tomb is part of an extended cemetery of tombs that top a number of mountains in south Dublin andWicklow.

The shooting lodge was built in the 18th century for politician William Connolly. However, the destruction of the tomb during the building’s construction is said to mark the beginning of the lodge’s association with the supernatural. Legend has it that the devil was so angered by the tomb’s destruction that he blew off the original wooden roof of the new building. Mr Connolly responded by reconstructing the roof in stone.

Mr Connolly never lived in his lodge as he died a few years after its construction. His widow, Katherine, leased the building to Richard Parsons, the Earl of Rossee and one of the leading figures in what was known as “Dublin’s Hellfire Club”, “The Blasters” or the “Young Bucks of Dublin” - a group of aristocrats described by Jonathan Swift as “a brace of Monsters, Blasphemers and Bacchanalians”.

The project, which is supported by South Dublin County Council and Coillte, is being carried out by Neil Jackman from Abarta Heritage with the help of volunteers from the UCD School of Archaeology. ...

(Neolithic Figurines) "Some researchers believe it was an equalitarian society"

This has been society which has surpassed mere egalitarian standards of equalness, far beyond, to a level of equality we can only guess at....all things being equal.
Neolithic figurine, over 7,000 years old, unearthed at Turkey’s Çatalhöyük


Archaeologists at Turkey's neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in central Anatolia have unearthed a "unique" complete female figurine, The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said on Tuesday.

The statuette, measuring 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) long and weighing one kilogram (2.2 pounds), is considered unique due to its intact form and fine craftsmanship; it dates back to about 5500-8000 BC, a statement said.

The figurine, which is made of marmoreal stone and considered to be part of a ritual, was discovered by the international team of archaeologists working on site led by Professor Ian Hodder, anthropologist at Stanford University in the U.S. ...


Isn't it just another Venus Figurine?
Isn't it just another Venus Figurine?
The stump ends on the legs suggest (to me, anyway) that this figurine was mounted onto a display board during 'life'.

Whilst the shortest effort in digging a hole into rock (to bury a body-shape) will result in an oval rather than a rectangle, the entombment shape is suggestive of a deliberate womb.

There is a buddha-like impression about the face, which reminds me of oriental carvings (even Emperor's Warriors soapstone, maybe).

The naturalistic splay of the breasts somehow says stored fat/health/potential fertility (as does the belly) rather than current pregnancy. Although it could be serial births.

If part of a ritual, I wonder whether it formed part of a 1kg pass-it-on-and-hug?

Was this womb a tomb or a crib? Id est, did the last person to touch this figurine place it back such that it was 'sleeping" (to be awoken later by followers, but they all died that night in the flood) or was it 'sacrificed' (poor harvest, the death of an elder, plague).

If only stone could truly talk.....
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That Çatalhöyük figurine looks like a very obese man to me. Could it be that this and the Maltese figurines are referring to both male and female priest/esses? Especially if an adolescent boy had gynaecomastia. He could be seen as being touched by the God/ess and taken for training (fattening) by the temple.
A statuette which Greek archaeologists are calling a "7,000-year-old enigma" has gone on show in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

The bird-like object was carved from granite - without the benefit of metal tools, as it dates from the Final Neolithic period.

The 36cm (14in) statuette has a pointed nose, round belly and cylindrical legs.

But it has mystified archaeologists, who do not know exactly what it is or where it came from.

The museum says the figure is asexual, with no sign of breasts or genitals.

But it says it is difficult to say whether that is a result of the challenge of carving granite without metal tools, or whether it was deliberate and could tell us something about the place of gender in Neolithic society.

The piece is on display until 26 March as part of the Unseen Museum display, a temporary exhibition of some 200,000 antiquities held in the museum vaults and not on permanent show. ...

Rice Was First Grown At Least 9,400 Years Ago
Archaeologists have unearthed bits of rice from when it was first domesticated in China.

Around ten thousand years ago, as the Pleistocene gave way to our current geological epoch, a group of hunter-gathers near China’s Yangtze River began changing their way of life. They started to grow rice.

Remarkably, archaeologists have now unearthed bits of this rice at a site called Shangshan. The grains, of course, were eaten long ago and the plant stalks have long been rotten, but one tiny part of rice remains even thousands of years later: phytoliths, or hard, microscopic pieces of silica made by plant cells for self-defense. Rice leaves have fan-shaped phytoliths that don't burn, digest, or decompose. It’s specific patterns on these phytoliths that suggest people in Shangshan were not just gathering rice, but actually cultivating it 10,000 years ago—a transition that would profoundly shift the human diet to the point where half of the world relies on the staple crop today.

Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/05/rice-domestication/528288/
Neolithic settlement found in Iran.

Evidence of short-term settlement has been found around Ganj Darreh Mound, Kermanshah Province, which apparently dates back to the Pre-Pottery era.

Research Institute of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) quoted head of the excavation team in the mound in Harsin, western Iran, Hojjat Darabi as saying that the exploration is being conducted with the aim of determining the date of the settlement in the area and acquiring information about the start of agricultural and livestock activities in the central Zagros region, IRNA reported.

He added the exploration depends on creating a stratigraphical cut on top of the mound and in the vicinity of earlier excavations conducted by Canadian Philip Smith.

Darabi pointed to the studies conducted at depths of about two meters of the upper deposits during the current stratigraphy which has led to the identification and registration of adobe and clay architectural remnants.

The archeologist referred to the identification of evidence of short-term settlement around Ganj Darreh Mound, which seems to belong to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic era and newer than the existing settlement on the hill itself....

Read more at https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blog...lement-discovered-in.html#0CTPy3Rt2oT20TTp.99
Another find in Mayo.

A cave-like chamber discovered by a hill walker in north west Mayo has been confirmed as a Neolithic site used in highly complex burial practices over 5,000 years ago.

Scientific analysis for the Department of Heritage indicates that at least 10 people, both adults and children, were placed in the chamber over a period of up to 1,200 years.

One of the adult bones in the natural boulder chamber dated to 3,600 BC while a bone from a child’s skeleton dated to 2,400 BC.

Minister for Heritage Josepha Madigan praised local hillwalkers for reporting the find and described it as a “fascinating archaeological discovery”. Ms Madigan said “such vigilance is extremely important to us in helping to protect and understand our archaeological heritage”. ...

Neolithic Monument Found Near Windsor

A Neolithic monument has been discovered less than two miles from Windsor Castle. Dating from 5,500 years ago, it is one of the earliest known examples of monument-building in Britain.

A ceremonial gathering place known as a causewayed enclosure has been revealed with the discovery of a series of encircling ditches, artificial boundaries with gap entrances, at a vast site in Berkshire.

Archaeologists have found extensive quantities of animal bones as well as decorated pottery sherds, and evidence that pots were deliberately smashed, perhaps as festivities came to a boisterous close. Other finds include finely worked, leaf-shaped flint arrowheads, serrated blades, stone axes and grinding stones.

About 80 Neolithic monuments have been identified in Britain, but archaeologists are particularly excited by this one as they expect to uncover the entire circuit of the enclosure. Specialists from Wessex Archaeology made the discovery at a sand and gravel quarry near Datchet, within sight of Windsor Castle.
This is mesolithic but I'm willing to risk it. Researchers have found that people in Sweden were mounting skulls on wooden stakes 8,000 years ago. That has not been seen among hunter/gatherers before.

I remember pictures of the Japanese doing this (heads-skulls on poles) during WW2 after talking over Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Some things never change, the bloody bastards.
It's not unusual in modern times, just not seen much with hunter gatherers they say.
Haven't seen anything about this posted yet, and the orbs themselves are completely new to me,

Does Anyone Know What These Knobbly Orbs Are For?
No one can figure out these Neolithic artifacts. We want your best guesses.
by Christina Ayele Djossa
May 18, 2018

On first glance, these intricately carved knobbly orbs might appear to be ornaments, or perhaps ancient toys. It’s unclear, because little is known about these roughly 4,000- to 5,000-year-old artifacts, except for a few details.

Over 400 of the relics have been found in Aberdeenshire, from the 19th century to as recently as 2013. Aberdeenshire is located in northeastern Scotland, and a few were found scattered across northern Ireland and England. Measuring between 2.75 inches and 4.5 inches in diameter, these orbs are made from materials such as granite, serpentinite, and sandstone, and can fit in the palm of your hand. The number of knobs on each stone ranges from six to 160, and they are engraved with horizontal lines, spirals, or circles.

Haven't seen anything about this posted yet, and the orbs themselves are completely new to me, ...

I tend to suspect these orbs represent multiple types of similarly-configured objects that may have been designed for different uses (including serving merely as ornamental / artistic objects).

I like the theory that some may have been used as elaborate forms of dice. However, not all the knobbly orbs are configured in such a way as to ensure a particular 'knob' or face will be presented 'up', or even 'uniquely topmost' if rolled or thrown.

In a similar vein ... I can recall seeing examples of antique and more modern such spherical weighted shapes with protrusions used within a contained space (pot, barrel, etc.) to mash or disintegrate materials (e.g., plant matter). The protrusions serve to focus the spheroid's weight on impact. However, it doesn't seem reasonable to carve elaborate decorations into such utilitarian items.
News update on the 'knobbly orbs' ... Here's another overview article about the orbs / balls. The news is that 3D renderings of the objects are now available online.

Enigmatic Stone Balls from 5,000 Years Ago Continue to Baffle Archaeologists
Some of the most enigmatic human-made objects from Europe's late Stone Age — intricately carved balls of stone, each about the size of a baseball — continue to baffle archaeologists more than 200 years after they were first discovered.

More than 500 of the enigmatic objects have now been found, most of them in northeast Scotland, but also in the Orkney Islands, England, Ireland and one in Norway.

Archaeologists still don't know the original purpose or meaning of the Neolithic stone balls, which are recognized as some of the finest examples of Neolithic art found anywhere in the world. But now, they've created virtual 3D models of the gorgeous balls, primarily to share with the public. In addition, the models have revealed some new details, including once-hidden patterns in the carvings on the balls. ...

FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/62843-enigmatic-stone-balls-scotland.html

3D MODELS: https://sketchfab.com/hugoandersonwhymark/collections/carved-stone-balls-and-sculpted-stones
A henge and an aurochs.

Archaeologists have unearthed a "phenomenal" Neolithic henge along the cable route for a £2.5bn wind farm.

Experts have said the large ceremonial complex in Suffolk is a discovery of "international significance".

Scottish Power Renewables said it was altering the 23-mile cable route around the area as a result of the find.

East Anglia One is being built 30 miles (48km) off the coast and the site at Woodbridge is one of 50 excavation sites along the cable route.

Archaeologists have also found the remains of an aurochs, a prehistoric cow.

Project manager Vinny Monahan said the findings were "phenomenal".

Hopes rise for new finds at Newgrange.

The first research excavations at Newgrange, Co Meath in more than 30 years have begun, after a geophysical survey showed what could prove to be an “extraordinary monument”.

The find at the world heritage site has been described as “the most definite, complex and ordered feature ever seen in a geophysical survey in Ireland”, according to DCU medieval historian and archaeologist Dr Matthew Stoutwho is leading the dig with his wife, Boyne Valley archaeologist Dr Geraldine Stout.

The four-week excavations began last week and it may be another week before the team of 18 archaeologists uncover anything of real significance. “It was a lot deeper than we expected, about a metre down,” Dr Matthew Stout said.

A survey conducted in 2015 by geophysicist Joanna Leigh, to investigate the feasibility of renovating the old tourist office at Newgrange, clearly identified the substantial site at the back of Newgrange Farm.

It suggested numerous large pits, forming two parallel sets extending over 75m, indicating an ancient processional way to Newgrange. The entrance way and perpendicular pits form a passage or corridor, which ends precisely due south of the entrance to Newgrange passage tomb. “It is a huge monument,” said Dr Stout, suggesting “a Neolithic communal routeway”.

St Dyfnog's Well: Neolithic quarry found during dig

A small quarry used to make stone tools dating back 6,000 years has been unearthed during an archaeological dig.
The Neolithic site was found at St Dyfnog's Well, Denbighshire, which was previously dated to the 6th Century.
Pilgrims have visited the well at Llanrhaeadr for centuries because of its connections to a Welsh saint.
The dig found chert was excavated from limestone by lighting fires to heat the rock before pouring on water to splinter and remove stone.
Archaeologist Ian Brooks said little was known about such sites which made the discovery "nationally important".
An Australian artifact of Chert.

The skill shown in the implement is obvious. It was found in a scatter of debitage, possibly discarded because of the chip near the point. This would've been a mans knife.


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Source: archaeology-world.com
Date: 1 February, 2020

The finding happened in the southern part of Anatolian Plateau in central Turkey, one of the main proto-city centres of the first settlers and one of the world’s most renowned archaeological sites.

For a thousand years between 7100 and 6000 BC, i.e. the Neolithic period, Çatalhöyük has been continuously inhabited.

In 2016 the figure was found. In Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, the conclusions of his expert analyses are presented.

The best-known artifacts from this location are clay female figures which, due to their giant stance and bare breasts have been regarded as mother goddesses.

Today, they are usually interpreted as depicting the elderly and objects related to ancestor worship.

Now scientists have announced the discovery of a bone figurine that is anthropomorphic, i.e. has human features.

This is undoubtedly an important find with a very simplified, but clear depiction of human features in the form of eyes.

The figurine was made of bone, the proximal finger of a donkey`, told the PAP the discoverer of the object, Professor Kamilla Pawłowska, archaeozoologist and palaeontologist from the Department of Palaeoenvironmental Research of the Institute of Geology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.

The 8,000-year-old figurine is notable for its craftsmanship, with fine details likely made with thin tools, like flint or obsidian, by a practised artisan.

The figurine is about 6 cm high. It has clearly visible incisions shaped to resemble eyes. A similar way of presenting human features is known from artefacts discovered in other sites in the Middle East from the same period, says Professor Kamilla Pawłowska.

She adds that the majority of similar objects are known from a bit later period, the Chalcolithic (4300 – 3300 BC). They are also made of bones, mainly donkey and horse.


Source: archaeology-world.com
Date: 31 January, 2020

The scientists were shocked to find the maternal moment, which they claim are the first evidence of human activity in central Taiwan.

Archaeologists have uncovered the ancient remains of a young mother and an infant child locked in a 4,800-year-old embrace. The remarkable find was among 48 sets of remains unearthed from graves in Taiwan, including the fossils of five children

Preserved for nearly 5,000 years, the skeleton found in the Taichung area shows a young mother gazing down at the baby cradled in her arms.

Researchers turned to carbon dating to determine the ages of the fossils, which they traced back to the Neolithic Age, a period within the Stone Age.

Excavation began and took a year for archaeologists to complete. But of all the remains found in the ancient graves, one pair set stood out from the rest.

‘When it was unearthed, all of the archaeologists and staff members were shocked".