4,000-year-old burial chamber found in England may belong to ancient princess

4,000-year-old burial chamber found in England may belong to ancient princess


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A hoard of Bronze Age treasure unearthed two years ago in a 4,000-year-old tomb on Dartmoor , has come under the spotlight again as researchers believe the burial chamber could have belonged to a prehistoric princess. The discovery, which has been described as the most significant find on Dartmoor, has given archaeologists a glimpse into the lives of the people who once lived there.

Dartmoor is an area of moorland in south Devon, England, which covers nearly 1000 square kilometres, and is an area of prehistoric importance. The remains of 5,000 Bronze Age houses have been discovered so far, as well as fenced enclosures that would have protected people from wild animals. Archaeologists have also found hundreds of burial chambers on Dartmoor, however few as spectacular as the tomb found in a peat bog on Whitehorse Hill.

The ancient tomb, known as a cist, was found to contain an intact cremation deposit (human bones) alongside a number of grave goods, which included animal pelts, a skilfully-made decorative belt, earrings, a studded bracelet, a near perfectly preserved basket, and beads made of amber. The precious material from the Baltic was associated with supernatural powers and used as an amulet, which therefore suggests a very high status burial as well as demonstrating that Bronze Age Britons traded with people from the continent. There were also some beads made with tin, which archaeologists have said points to the earliest evidence of tin found in the South West of England.

Some of the items found in the tomb, including a bracelet and beads. Photo credit

"What was so unusual was the survival of so many organic objects which you never usually get in a grave of this period, they've long since rotted away," explained Jane Marchand, Dartmoor National Park’s chief archaeologist. "Visibly it's not as impressive as Stonehenge, but archaeologically it's just as important,” she added.

Only eight beads had been found on Dartmoor in the last 100 years. However, the Whitehorse Hill cist contained more than 150 beads, some of which were incredibly unique.

Archaeologists are using the objects to build up a picture of the person who was buried at the site on Whitehorse Hill and it is thought they were of considerable importance in the local community, and possibly even a princess. Evidence comes from the quantity and quality of the jewellery and other items found in the grave, as well as the high position of her final resting place, which would have been visible to nearby settlements. It is known that in the Bronze Age, high status people took care with their appearance and wore carefully crafted clothes and jewellery from fur pelts to tin beaded bracelets and that certainly seems to be the case with the young woman whose remains were uncovered in the tomb.

"It's just amazing,” said Ms Marchand. “It suddenly brings them to life and actually you feel much closer to them because this is someone who likes their jewellery, I like jewellery, and actually you can identify with that side of things.”

The finding will be featured in a new BBC documentary called ‘Mystery of the Moor’, set to be aired in the UK on BBC One on Friday 28 th February, which will show the moment the intricately coiled bag was opened for the first time in 4,000 years. The artefacts from Whitehorse Hill will go on display at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery in September.

Featured image: The 4,000-year-old cist uncovered on Whitehorse Hill. Photo credit .


    Rachel's Tomb

    Rachel's Tomb (Hebrew: קבר רחל ‎ translit. Qever Raḥel, Arabic: قبر راحيل ‎ Qabr Rāḥīl) [2] is the site revered as the burial place of the matriarch Rachel. The tomb is considered holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. [3] The site is also referred to as the Bilal bin Rabah mosque (Arabic: مسجد بلال بن رباح ‎) [4] [5]

    The tomb, located at the northern entrance of Bethlehem, is built in the style of a traditional maqam. [6] The burial place of the matriarch Rachel as mentioned in the Jewish Tanakh, the Christian Old Testament and in Muslim literature [7] is contested between this site and several others to the north. Although this site is considered unlikely to be the actual site of the grave, [3] it is by far the most recognized candidate. [8]

    The earliest extra-biblical records describing this tomb as Rachel's burial place date to the first decades of the 4th century CE. The structure in its current form dates from the Ottoman period, and is situated in a Christian and Muslim cemetery dating from at least the Mamluk period. [9] [10] [11] When Sir Moses Montefiore renovated the site in 1841 and obtained the keys for the Jewish community, [10] he also added an antechamber, including a mihrab for Muslim prayer, to ease Muslim fears. [12] [13] According to the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, the tomb was to be part of the internationally administered zone of Jerusalem, but the area was occupied by The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which prohibited Jews from entering the area. Following the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967, though not initially falling within Area C, the site has come under the control of the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs. [14]

    Rachel's tomb is the third holiest site in Judaism [15] [16] [17] and has become one of the cornerstones of Jewish-Israeli identity. [18] According to Genesis 35:20, a mazzebah was erected at the site of Rachel's grave in ancient Israel, leading scholars to consider the site to have been a place of worship in ancient Israel. [19] [20] [21] According to Martin Gilbert, Jews have made pilgrimage to the tomb since ancient times. [22] According to Frederick Strickert, the first historically recorded pilgrimages to the site were by early Christians, and Christian witnesses wrote of the devotion shown to the shrine "by local Muslims and then later also by Jews" throughout history, the site was rarely considered a shrine exclusive to one religion and is described as being "held in esteem equally by Jews, Muslims, and Christians". [3]

    Following a 1929 British memorandum, [10] in 1949 the UN ruled that the Status Quo, an arrangement approved by the 1878 Treaty of Berlin concerning rights, privileges and practices in certain Holy Places, applies to the site. [23] In 2005, following Israeli approval on 11 September 2002, the Israeli West Bank barrier was built around the tomb, effectively annexing it to Jerusalem Checkpoint 300 – also known as Rachel's Tomb Checkpoint – was built adjacent to the site. [24] [1] [25] [26] A 2005 report from OHCHR Special Rapporteur John Dugard noted that: "Although Rachel’s Tomb is a site holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians, it has effectively been closed to Muslims and Christians." [27] On October 21, 2015, UNESCO adopted a resolution reaffirming a 2010 statement [28] that Rachel's Tomb was: "an integral part of Palestine." [29] On 22 October 2015, the tomb was separated from Bethlehem with a series of concrete barriers. [30]


    'Man of princely lineage'

    The remains of the timber structure, which would have measured about 13ft (4m) square and 5ft (1.5m) deep, housed some 40 rare and precious artefacts.

    Among them was a lyre - an ancient harp - and a 1,400-year-old box thought to be the only surviving example of painted Anglo-Saxon woodwork in Britain.

    Gold coins, the gilded silver neck of a wooden drinking vessel, decorative glass beakers and a flagon believed to have come from Syria were also found.

    Each had been placed within the tomb "as part of a carefully choreographed burial rite", indicating the resting place of a man of princely lineage, they said.

    Locals nicknamed the grave's unknown occupant the Prince of Prittlewell and the King of Bling because of the riches buried alongside him.

    Ciara Phipps from Southend Museums Service said the first artefact uncovered - a copper alloy hanging bowl - gave experts a "real idea of just how significant this burial might be".

    "It's thought it was probably acquired as a gift so it gives a sense of how significant this person might have been. he had friends in high places," she said.

    It had been suggested the remains were those of Saebert, Saxon king of Essex from AD604 to AD616 but carbon dating and other tests have indicated the tomb was constructed between AD575 and AD605 - at least 11 years before his death.

    After 15 years of research, archaeologists said their "best guess" was that the tomb belonged to Seaxa, Saebert's brother.


    Warrior Grave found in England

    About 30 inches (75 centimeters) in diameter, this shield was found in July 2018 but it wasn't until conservation was complete that its decorations and details could be seen. (Credit: Map Archaeological Practice)

    Inside a 2,200-year-old grave, archaeologists have discovered a stunning Iron Age shield, along with a chariot and two ponies buried in a leaping pose, in what archaeologists are calling one of the most important discoveries in the U.K.

    A team of archaeologists led by Paula Ware of MAP Archaeological Practice Ltd. discovered the grave near Pocklington, England. The shield, which is about 30 inches (75 centimeters) across, "was discovered in July 2018, but its true glory was only revealed recently once conservation was completed," Ware told Live Science. The restoration revealed that the shield is decorated with a series of complex swirls and what looks like a sphere protruding from its center.

    The grave also held the remains of a man who was in his 40s when he died. In addition to the chariot and two "leaping" ponies, the site was filled with several pig joints and a feasting fork attached to a pork rib, Ware said. Two small brooches — one made of bronze and the other of glass — were also found in the tomb. The elaborate nature of the burial indicates that the deceased man must have been "a significant member of his society," Ware said.

    Ware agreed with what other media outlets have suggested about the significance of the find: It is one of the most important ancient discoveries ever made in the U.K. "Yes, especially as it has been excavated under modern archaeological conditions," she told Live Science.

    Ancient chariots are not altogether uncommon in burials. A 2,000-year-old Thracian chariot was discovered in 2008 alongside the bones of two horses and a dog in what is now Bulgaria, Live Science previously reported. The practice of burying noblemen near chariots in Bulgaria was especially popular during the time of the Roman Empire, which lasted from about 2,100 to 1,500 years ago. Some 2,500 years ago, a Celtic prince in what is today France was buried in a lavish tomb complete with gorgeous pottery, a gold-tipped drinking vessel and … a chariot, Live Science reported. Archaeologists announced in 2014 that they had discovered a 4,000-year-old burial chamber holding two four-wheeled chariots and plenty of treasures in the country of Georgia, in the south Caucasus.

    The newfound grave and chariot were discovered when the archaeological team was excavating an area where homes were going to be built. The researchers plan to submit a paper describing the finds to a scientific publication.


    Unfossilized Dino Bones Carbon Date from 16,000 – 24,000 years old.

    Unfossilized dinosaur bones have been found in Alaska, 1 Canada, 2 and the Lower 48 States. 3 Some have been Carbon dated to 9,800 years old many others (along with wood from dino strata) date between 16,000 to 24,000 years old. 4, 5 While mainstream scientists claim that dinosaurs are up to 65 million years old, this fact can’t even be backed up by the Carbon-14 dating method they themselves are using. Therefore, it is more likely that dinosaurs are, as the entire world, less than 10,000 years old.
    Two Dinosaurs and a flying serpent or “seraph,” are described or mentioned in the Old Testament. The book of Job gives details about two creatures that don’t fit the description of any known animals alive today, but do fit the descriptions of what we know about dinosaurs.

    Concerning Behemoth

    We are told that behemoth had bones like bars of iron, and that “he moves his tail like a cedar tree, and eats grass like an ox.” Job 40: 15-24. Since the only animal we know of that had a tail like a cedar was a Brontosaurus type dinosaur, and since Job was written about 3,000- 4,000 years ago, it appears that the story of evolution is at odds with Historical records. The fact that this creature’s tail is compared to a cedar suggests that it was large. It’s large size is also apparent from verse 19, where it says that this creature is the ‘first of the ways of God’ — thus implying that this was the Biggest animal God created.

    Although this rules out both the elephant and the hippo, some commentators try to make the hippo fit by asserting that hippos were the largest animals in the Middle East and that the word‘cedar’ means ‘cedar branch.’

    However, there are problems with identifying Behemoth as a hippo. The most obvious is that IF you or I wanted to identify, or boast about the hippo, we would probably say something about the Large size of its mouth, as opposed to comparing its tiny tail to a cedar. Hippos were also not the largest animals in the Middle East, and the cedar that is almost always referred to in the Scriptures is the Cedar of Lebanon, which has VERY LARGE (i.e. 1-2 foot diameter) branches.

    See Moortgat’s Ancient Mesopotamian Art (Plate 292) for more on elephants and what appear to be Apatosaurus (or Brontosaurus-type) dinosaurs from the Middle East. Note also the similarity between the head-shape of the creature in Plate 292 from Moortgat’s book referenced above and a similar dinosaur from Acambaro, Mexico’s Julsrud collection.

    Concerning Leviathan

    God boasts about making him: “Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook? … Can you put a rope in his nose?… Will he make many supplications to you?… ‘Lay your hand on him remember the battle you will not do it again! … No one … dares to arouse him Who then is he that can stand before Me? Who has given to Me that I should repay him?… I will not keep silence concerning his limbs, or his mighty strength, or his orderly frame. Who can strip off his outer armor? Who can come within his double mail? Who can open the doors of his face? Around his teeth there is terror. His strong scales are his pride, shut up as with a tight seal … They clasp each other … His sneezes flash forth light …

    Out of his mouth go burning torches Sparks of fire leap forth … His breath kindles coals, and a flame goes forth from his mouth… When he raises himself up, the mighty fear… The sword that reaches him cannot avail nor the spear, the dart, or the javelin. He regards iron as straw, bronze as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee Slingstones are turned into stubble… He makes the depths to boil like a pot… Behind him he makes a wake to shine… Nothing on earth is like him, One made without fear…” Job 41:1-34See # 7 for information on a beetle that can spontaneously mix chemicals together and use the resulting hot gasses to ward off predators.

    Concerning Pterodactyls

    The Book of Isaiah mentions a “flying serpent” or “seraph” in context with the lioness, lion, viper, donkey and camel (Isa. 30:6). This creature was perhaps a pterodactyl with a long tail, and is probably now extinct.

    Dragons were remarkably similar to Dinosaurs

    Anyone who reads about dragons will note that they had a number of similarities to dinosaurs and pterodactyls. For example, both dragons and dinosaurs were quite large, possessed long tails, had skin or scales, and laid eggs. In addition, some walked on land, some swam in water, and some flew in the air.

    The Chinese Zodiac

    There are twelve different animals in the Chinese Zodiac: one of which is a dragon. Since the other 11 are known to be real, it makes sense that the twelfth was real as well. 6 In this regard, Marco Polo described such creatures in a diary of his travels in China from around the years 1280-1298 AD. English translations are available in bookstores or can be ordered online. See also the Historical Records section (ref. 10) below.

    Organic Proteins and Blood-derived compounds

    In an article from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the authors state that: “Six independent lines of evidence point to the existence of heme-containing compounds and/or hemoglobin breakdown products in… tissues of the large theropod dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex …” And that: “The most parsimonious explanation … is the presence of blood-derived hemoglobin compounds preserved in the dinosaurian tissues. ” 7 The word parsimonious here means extremely conservative. That’s because six different methods were used to crosscheck the conclusion. Several years earlier with regard to a similar T-rex bone that was being viewed under a microscope, the lead author of the article above stated that she … “got goose bumps … It was exactly like looking at a slice of modern bone. But … I couldn’t believe it. I said to the lab technician: ‘The bones, after all, are 65 million years old. How could blood cells survive that long? ” 8 It isn’t that Mary Schweitzer can’t believe it but that it would not be beneficial for her career to publicly state that dinosaurs might not be millions of years old: after all the hype.

    Historical Records and Artifacts of Living Dragons

    Beowulf was a Danish king that lived in the fifth century AD and who was famous for killing dragons: including one known asGrindel that had been terrorizing the countryside. 9

    The Caria Monster

    On an ancient Greek vase a mosasaurus type dinosaur is very clearly depicted, alongside of a man. The vase is dated at 500 BC. 10, 11 This can only mean two things: that ancient civilizations were quite proficient at paleontology, or that dinosaurs and man were living together at the same time.

    Mesopotamian and European Art

    An ancient Mesopotamian seal dated around 3,000 BC clearly depicts Apatosaurus type dinosaurs: 12, 13 as does the stone floor of a 500-year-old burial tomb at the Carlisle Cathedral in England.

    A Cambodian Temple Carving

    On an 800-1200-year-old Buddhist Temple in Cambodia are rock carvings of all sorts: including what looks like a Stegosaurus. 14, 15, 16

    Fire-Breathing Dragons and Smoking Beatles

    The idea of dragons expelling fire isn’t far fetched when considering that the Bombardier Beetle defends itself from predators by mixing chemicals in a combustion chamber in its rear-end, and expelling hot gas at 212 degrees F. Perhaps this is why some species of dinosaurs had large crests on their heads with hollow air chambers in them? 17

    A Forgotten Report

    In a letter to the editor, Hugh Miller said the following: “Dr. Charles Gilmore, curator of …the …Museum of Natural History, and Samuel Hubbard of the Oakland, CA Museum confirmed in 1924 that man and dinosaur coexisted together as evidenced by their 40 page report… entitled ‘Discoveries Relating to Prehistoric Man.’ There on the front cover … is a photo of a carving of a Diplodocus dinosaur on the wall of the Hava Supai Canyon… in Northern Arizona … This is just the tip of the iceberg.” 18

    The Ica Stones

    Along the Ica River in Peru, thousands of stones have been found in ancient burial graves that are estimated to be over 2000 years old. In this regard Hugh Miller states:“In Peru over 30% of… 11,000 burial stones… found since the 1930’s in human graves contained carved depictions of dinosaurs such as T-rex, Stegosaurus, and Triceratops… These stones are also mentioned by a Catholic priest… and Inca historian of the 16 th century.” 18

    The Figurines of Acambaro

    In the town of Acambaro, Mexico thousands of figurines were discovered that depict Dinosaurs of all sorts. One was a species that modern science didn’t discover until 25-30 years after its corresponding figurine was found at Acambaro. The Acambaro Dinosaur figurines number around 2600 and have been investigated by a number of reporters and researchers: including Waldemar Julsrud, Lowel Harmer, William R. Russel, Prof. Charles Hapgood, Prof. Ramon Rivera, Dr. Eduardo Noquera, Earl Stanley Gardner, Francisco Aguitar Sanchez, Dr. Dennis Swift and others. Professor Hapgood studied them over an 18-year period and together with another researcher dug a huge hole directly under the cement slab of the local sheriff’s house: in order to verify that the over 30,000 figurines that were dug up were not an elaborate hoax. He also wrote a book on his conclusion: that ancient Americans interacted with various different types of dinosaurs. 19, 20, 21


    12,000-year-old Gobekli Tepe: “first human-made pagan temple”

    Around 13,000 years ago the site functioned as a ritual or religious center with the early circles around 11,600 years ago and then 11,130–10,620 years ago is Layer III first building stage. A totemistic-shamanistic proto-paganism meeting place of ancestor worship and cultic feasting as well as drinking, with evidence of beer brewing almost 11,000 years ago. Next, around 10,280–9,970 is enclosure B, and at around 9,560–9,370 is enclosure C building stages. Some pillars are around 15 to 20 ft-foot-high and can weigh up to 20 tons, many with totem animals and anthropomorphic human-like fertility cult representations. ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

    Pre-Pottery Neolithic Chronology

    • PPNA” Jericho, Netiv Hagdud, Nahul Oren, Gesher, Dhar’, Jerf al Ahmar, Abu Hureyra, Göbekli Tepe, Chogha Golan, Beidha
    • PPNB” Abu Hureyra, Ain Ghazal, Çatalhöyük, Cayönü Tepesi, Jericho, Shillourokambos, Chogha Golan, Gobekli Tepe
    • PPNC: Hagoshrim, Ain Ghazal.REF

    * “paganist” Believe in spirit-filled life and/or afterlife can be attached to or beexpressed in things or objects and these objects can be used by special persons orin special rituals can connect to spirit-filled life and/or afterlife who areguided/supported by a goddess/god or goddesses/gods (you are a hiddenpaganist/Paganism: an approximately 12,000-year-old belief system) And GobekliTepe: “first human made temple” as well as Catal Huyuk “first religious designed city”are both evidence of some kind of early paganism.

    “Göbekli Tepe is one of the world’s most significant, yet mysterious, archaeological sites, where ancient people erected a series of massive stone circles where groups gathered for religious and social purposes. Analysis of bone fragments found at the site suggests that human skulls may once have hung there on prominent display. The fragments belong to three partially preserved skulls that were carved and altered after death. This is the first indication of how Göbekli Tepe’s inhabitants may have treated their dead, and archaeologists believe it may provide evidence of an Early Neolithic “skull cult” (a veneration of human skulls, usually those of ancestors). One of the most striking features of prehistoric Jericho (Tell es-Sultan, Palestine) are 45 plastered human skulls from Pre-Pottery Neolithic layers. A development of the same process of images making that started with skulls separated burials. Both phenomena can be set into the long duration panorama of the transition from foraging to farming. A synthesis of finds seem to show the development of this custom ranging from between Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) around 11,500-10,000 years ago and Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) around 9,600–8,000 years ago early Levantine, Anatolian Neolithic culture and ranging to Upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent focusing on separated skulls. And this custom of modeling with plaster human-like images arose in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic(10,500-6000 BC). ” ref, ref, ref

    I think the mask aspect of the ancestor cult starts in Turkey seen at Gobekli Tepe: the “first human-made pagan temple” (around 11,130-10,620 years ago) as well as at Nevalı Çori (around 10,400-10,100 years ago) known for having some of the world’s oldest known communal buildings. And both have masks and seem to have the earliest skull cult evidence. ref, ref

    Losing your head at Göbekli Tepe

    “Göbekli Tepe is a special site in many respects: its location is hostile to settlement, no water sources are in vicinity clear evidence for domestic building types missing so far in Layer III only selection of material culture is present (very few bone tools, clay figurines absent) and there is a considerable investment of resources and work. This investment was not only made in building Göbekli Tepe. At the end of their uselifes, all buildings of layer III (PPN A, 10th millennium) were at least partially intentionally backfilled. The filling consists of limestone rubble from the neolithic quarry areas on the adjacent plateaus, mixed with large quantities of animal bones, flint debitage, artefacts and tools. Before backfilling started, it seems that the buildings were cleaned. If roofs should have existed, they were dismantled at that time, because absolutely no traces of them were found. The backfilling obviously is a limiting factor for our understanding of the function of the enclosures, as very few in situ deposits connected to the use-time of the buildings remain. However, it seems that the backfilling was a very structured process that included certain deliberate acts. Between them, the deposition of artefacts and sculptures [here, here, here, and here] inside the filling, often next to the pillars, is most striking.” ref

    “There are several different categories of human imagery at Göbekli Tepe. Most impressive are the T-shaped pillars. The T-shape is clearly an abstract depiction of the human body seen from the side. Evidence for this interpretation are the low relief depictions of arms, hands and items of clothing like belts and loinclothes on some of the central pillars. There is a clear hierarchy of pillars inside the enclosures. The surrounding pillars are smaller, but more richly decorated with animal reliefs than the central ones. They are always „looking“ towards the central pillars, and the benches between them further amplify the impression of a gathering of some sort. Likely, depictions of ancestors and both central and surrounding pillars share the abstracted form. This abstraction is not due to the limited skills of Neolithic people in depicting the human body. It is a deliberate choice that has a meaning.” ref

    “The other important category of depictions are more naturalistic sculptures. A total of 143 sculptures was found so far at Göbekli Tepe. Of those, 84 depict animals, 43 humans, 3 phalli and 5 are human-animal composite sculptures. It is striking that most anthropomorphic sculpture at Göbekli Tepe is fragmented. Of the 43 human-shaped depictions, only 9 can be regarded as complete, if we do not take smaller damages into account. What is also striking is that – in spite of large-scale excavations – there is only one case in which fitting fragments were found. If we have a closer look at the fragments preserved, a pattern emerges. The fragments preserved in the highest numbers are heads, not the often bigger torsi. The large number of broken off heads, and the regulated fractures, speak in favor of intentional fragmentation.” ref

    “Further, the heads were not discarded randomly. They were deposited carefully in the enclosure fillings, often next to pillars. Their treatment is similar to zoomorphic sculpture in this respect. However, zoomorphic depictions are most often complete, there is no indication of intentional damage. So while deposition patterns are similar, pre-deposition treatment is not. Human heads seem to have had a special role in the beliefs connected with the enclosures. The special role of separated human heads is also visible in Göbekli Tepe´s reliefs. Immediately behind the eastern central pillar of Enclosure D the fragment of a relief was found. It shows a human head among several animals – a vulture and a hyena can be clearly identified. Another example is Pillar 43, also in Enclosure D. There, a headless ithyphallic body is depicted among several birds, snakes and a large scorpion. The interaction of animals with human heads is even clearer from several composite sculptures discovered at Göbekli Tepe. They show birds, but also quadrupeds sitting on top of human heads or carrying them away. A relation of this kind of iconography with early Neolithic death rite and cult is evident.” ref

    “The special treatment and the removal of skulls is well-attested for the PPN. One of the most remarkable examples is the skull building from Cayönü. At this site, the situation is very much opposed to Göbekli Tepe however. There are lots of burials, but only a few anthropomorphic depictions. At Nevali Cori, burials with separated skulls, in one case with a flint dagger still in place, were discovered, but also an imagery that is very similar to Göbekli Tepe. For example, the so-called totempole shows a bird sitting on a human head. There is also a larger number of limestone heads from Nevali Cori, mirroring the situation at Göbekli Tepe to some degree. Of course, one could also add the special treatment of human heads in many southern Levantine sites, but also at Köşk Höyük and Catalhöyük here. At Catalhöyük, we find many of the elements observable at Göbekli Tepe still in place in a much later context. This includes iconography of birds carrying away human heads, special treatment of heads in burials and figurines with intentionally broken off heads, or with heads designed from the start to be taken off.” ref

    “To sum up, at Göbekli Tepe there is evidence of a hierarchy of anthropomorphic depictions. The central pillars of the enclosures are abstracted and clearly characterized as anthropomorphic by arms hands, and items of clothing. The surrounding pillars are also abstracted, but smaller, and show mainly zoomorphic decorations. They are looking towards the central pillars and evoke the association of a gathering. Naturalistic anthropomorphic sculpture is smaller and intentionally fragmented. During backfilling of the enclosures, a selection of fragments, mostly heads, was placed inside the filling, most often near the central pillars. This practise is highly evocative of elements of neolithic death cult that also reflects in Göbekli´s iconography. It seems that the abstracted pillar-beings represent another sphere than the naturalistic sculptures. Zoomorphic and anthropomorphic sculpture is placed next to them. The connection to death rites could indicate that the pillars belong to that sphere.” ref

    Picture Links: ref, ref, ref

    Pre-pottery Neolithic “Skull Cult/Ancestor Cult” Sites in the Levant and Predominant in Israel


    New Neolithic Burial Mound Found in Anglesey

    ANGLESEY, Wales – Archaeologists are excavating a 4,000-year-old burial mound on the Isle of Anglesey. Their work revealed a Bronze Age burial mound that was built around 500 to 1,000 years after the nearby Neolithic passage tomb of Bryn Celli Ddu.

    Bryn Celli Ddu is considered 500 years older than Stonehenge.

    Bryn Celli Ddu “The Mound in a Dark Grove” – Image credit: Paul Allison

    With the discovery of this new burial mound, the Bryn Celli Ddu site (the Mound in the Dark Grove) is back in the archeological spotlight with its newly discovered neighbor. Bryn Celli Ddu is considered the best-known prehistoric monument on Anglesey.

    Bryn Celli Ddu was first discovered in 1865 and later excavated around 1928 and 1929. The reconstruction restored a complete passage into the center of the burial chamber, not the chamber itself. Inside the mound, there is a pillar that has puzzled researchers that has a serpentine pattern that winds around both sides of the stone. Also, the entrance to the burial chamber lines up with the Summer Solstice so that the chamber is illuminated on that day.

    Bryn Celli Ddu was originally a henge which is a central stone circle similar to the more famous Stonehenge, but the cairn which is a passage grave, was built up on top of the henge. It is considered one of the last megalithic tombs built on Anglesey.

    The initial work on the newly discovered burial mound leads archeologists to believe it to be possibly bigger than Bryn Celli Ddu.

    Bryn Cellie Ddu, south-west side: Decorated stone in front of the back of chamber (seen from the top) – Image credit: Wolfgang Sauber

    The mound is about 150 feet from Bryn Calli Ddu and according to Dr. Ffion Reynolds, this shows that Bryn Celli Ddu was a “special location” that suggests “that Bronze Age people are coming back to the same location as their Neolithic ancestors and adding their own mark to the landscape.”

    Dr. Ffion Reynolds is an archaeologist for the University of Cardiff and also works for the Welsh heritage group, Cadw. She believes with the new cairn being so close to well-known historical site that “This suggests that Bryn Celli Ddu has been a special ceremonial location for thousands of years” as she told Live Science.

    Human bones (some intact and some burnt), flint arrowheads, a stone bead, Neolithic pottery, the remains of a stone axe, and shells were found in the passage to the cairn. Researchers are hoping with these items and other scientific tools, they will be able learn more about the people who used the cairn.

    With the addition of the cairn, it is believed that Bryn Celli Ddu is the center of an important Bronze Age and Neolithic Age hub. Whether it is of a spiritual nature or a central location for the ancestors who lived there to meet up or settle down around remains to be seen.

    History of Anglesey and the Druids

    Anglesey, located off the northwest coast of Wales on the Irish sea, is historically known as a seat of power for the British Druids.

    In the Annals of Tacitus, Tacitus writes about his experiences on the war campaign against the Britians in the Roman attack on Anglesey by Roman General Gaius Suetonius Paulinus in their attack on the Druids and their sacred sites:

    On the shore stood the opposing army with its dense array of armed warriors, while between the ranks dashed women, in black attire like the Furies, with hair dishevelled, waving brands. All around, the Druids, lifting up their hands to heaven, and pouring forth dreadful imprecations, scared our soldiers by the unfamiliar sight, so that, as if their limbs were paralysed, they stood motionless, and exposed to wounds. Then urged by their general’s appeals and mutual encouragements not to quail before a troop of frenzied women, they bore the standards onwards, smote down all resistance, and wrapped the foe in the flames of his own brands. A force was next set over the conquered, and their groves, devoted to inhuman superstitions, were destroyed. They deemed it indeed a duty to cover their altars with the blood of captives and to consult their deities through human entrails.

    The women in the description very well could have been female Druids and not only male Druids as Tacitus believed. When the Romans interacted with the Celts, the Romans were a patriarchal society whereas the Celts respected women as equally they did the men until Roman rule came to be more of the norm. Women could be war leaders such as Boudicca who led an attack that destroyed the first British capital just as the Romans attacked the Isle of Anglesey in Tacitus’s description. News of Boudicca’s attack would pull the Roman forces away from Anglesey after killing the Druids who were trying to defend the isle with magic.

    Julius Caesar does describe the Druids of old as known to be healers, scholars, doctors, judges, as well as diviners and astrologers in his writing.

    Kristopher Hughes, the Chief of the Anglesey Druid Order, has this to say about the Druid order’s involvement with the historic location:

    Bryn Celli Ddu is the site that we, as the Anglesey Druid Order, host our civic rituals for the Solstices. We work closely with Cadw, the Welsh Government heritage agency to host open days and other events at the monument.

    The Anglesey Druid Order work closely with CADW during the Summer Solstice event, which includes a dawn ceremony and a archaeology open day on the nearest Saturday. The Order and its members have also been active in the Bryn Celli Ddu Community Archaeology Projects, now in its 5th year. This project has brought to light many of Bryn Celli Ddu’s surrounding structures, implying that the site sits within a much larger monument landscape.

    We are able to witness the sunrise phenomena in the same manner that our ancestors did, over 5 thousand years ago. Bryn Celli Ddu is not perceived as a relic, she is a living monument, who adapts herself to the needs of the people, spanning a dizzying amount of time. We consider ourselves to be in community with Bryn Celli Ddi. Uniquely, we are the only Druid Order in the UK who officially host a public Solstice ritual at an ancient British monument.

    The local people of Anglesey have embraced the fact that the Druids are there for each of the solstices, and many of them will attend. With numbers often swelling to several hundreds of participants.

    Bryn Celli Ddu connects us to the ancestors of Ynys Môn, we feel a deep sense of connection to the past here, where we honour our ancestors and the structure that they built.

    During the Archaeology Open Day, the Anglesey Druid Order is present to chat to folk about the spiritual significance of the site to modern Pagan practitioners. The day is exceptionally well attended with over 700 visitors in 2019.

    Burial chamber – Byrn Celli Ddu – Image credit: By Otter

    With the sun lighting up the chamber at Summer Solstice, it is possibly believed that the sun would enter the chamber and warm the spirits of the ancestors so that they would be reincarnated or some other social or religious message in the design of the passage tomb. Other cairns have been found to line up with important sun times such as the Winter Solstice which is believed to help bring warmth and life to the earth to start it waking up again.

    With the new work soon finishing up on the cairn, it could become another important place for spiritual pilgrimage by those seeking connection to their Brythonic roots, even more so than Stonehenge.


    Location Saqqara

    In one of the oldest and most important dead cities of Egypt, the researchers from Tübingen have found this gold-plated mask. It was in a damaged wooden coffin in Sakkara and is more than 2,500 years old. You are to a ancient Egyptian priest from the 26. Dynasty have heard. Particularly striking are the large eyes.

    A is alien? This is a question many, as the body 2003 in the Chilean Atacama desert was found. Actually a documentary with the possible alien Fund employees. But the figure was a human being on the basis of the size of only 15 centimeters, the researchers go by a preterm fetus with various bone and Skull malformations.


    Clava Cairns

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    Just a few miles southwest of the Culloden battle site in Highland, Scotland, where the last stand of the final Jacobite rising took place, there is a Bronze Age remnant. The Clava Cairns, also known as the Prehistoric Burial Cairns of Bulnuaran of Clava, date back about 4,000 years

    The most prominent features of the Clava Cairns site are three large, circular burial chambers that date to around 2,000 B.C. Generally, cairns fall into two categories: annular ring cairns, which are round, low embankments, and corbelled passage graves. which consist of one burial chamber and a short passageway that links the chamber to the outside world.

    Clava Cairns actually overlaps with another cemetery that was used almost 1,000 years later. In some cases this involved new burials in existing cairns, but also included the construction of many smaller grave structures, as well as a series of standing stones known as kerb cairns.

    The stones appear to have been specially selected for their size and color. The larger and more red colored stones are to the southwest of the circles. Smaller, whiter stones are located toward the northeast section of the site. This collection of cairns are just a few of around 50 similar such stones found around the Inverness area.


    DNA of ‘Irish Pharaoh’ Sheds Light on Ancient Tomb Builders

    In one of Europe's most impressive Stone Age burial mounds, researchers found evidence of brother-sister incest that suggests the existence of a ruling elite.

    The vast Stone Age tomb mounds in the valley of the River Boyne, about 25 miles north of Dublin, are so impressive that the area has been called the Irish Valley of the Kings. And a new analysis of ancient human DNA from Newgrange, the most famous of the mounds in Ireland, suggests that the ancient Irish may have had more than monumental grave markers in common with the pharaohs.

    A team of Irish geneticists and archaeologists reported Wednesday that a man whose cremated remains were interred at the very heart of Newgrange was the product of a first-degree incestuous union, either between parent and child, or brother and sister. The finding, combined with other genetic and archaeological evidence, suggests that the people who built these mounds lived in a hierarchical society with a ruling elite that considered themselves so close to divine that, like the Egyptian pharaohs, they could break the ultimate taboos.

    In Ireland, more than 5,000 years ago people farmed and raised cattle. But they were also moved, like their contemporaries throughout Europe, to create stunning monuments to the dead, some with precise astronomical orientations. Stonehenge, a later megalith in the same broad tradition as Newgrange, is famous for its alignment to the summer and winter solstice. The central underground room at Newgrange is built so that as the sun rises around the time of the winter solstice it illuminates the whole chamber through what is called a roof box.

    Archaeologists have long wondered what kind of society built such a structure, which they think must have had ritual or spiritual significance. If, as the new findings indicate, it was a society that honored the product of an incestuous union by interring his remains at the most sacred spot in a sacred place, then the ancient Irish may well have had a ruling religious hierarchy, perhaps similar to those in ancient societies in Egypt, Peru and Hawaii, which also allowed incestuous marriages between brother and sister.

    In a broad survey of ancient DNA from bone samples previously collected at Irish burial sites thousands of years old, the researchers also found genetic connections among people interred in other Irish passage tombs, named for their underground chambers or passages. That suggests that the ruling elite were related to one another.

    Daniel G. Bradley, of Trinity College, Dublin, a specialist in ancient DNA who led the team with Lara M. Cassidy, a specialist in population genetics and Irish prehistory also at Trinity College, said the genome of the man who was a product of incest was a complete surprise. They and their colleagues reported their findings in the journal Nature.

    Newgrange is part of a necropolis called Bru na Boinne, or the palace of the Boyne, dating to around 5,000 years ago that includes three large passage tombs and many other monuments. It is one of the most remarkable of Neolithic monumental sites in all of Europe.

    Of the site’s tombs, Dr. Bradley said, “Newgrange is the apogee.” It is not just that it incorporates 200,000 tons of earth and stone, some brought from kilometers away. It also has the precise orientation to the winter sun.

    On any day, “when you go into the chamber, it’s a sort of numinous space, it’s a liminal space, a place that inspires a sort of awe,” Dr. Bradley said.

    That a bone recovered from this spot produced such a genomic shocker seemed beyond coincidence. This had to be a prominent person, the researchers reasoned. He wasn’t placed there by accident, and his parentage was unlikely to be an accident. “Whole chunks of the genome, that he inherited from his mother and father, whole chunks of those were just identical,” Dr. Bradley said. The conclusion was unavoidable: “It’s a pharaoh, I said, it’s an Irish pharaoh.”

    He and his colleagues had not gone looking for children of incest. They were analyzing ancient bones to sequence 42 genomes of Neolithic Irish farmers as part of a project to reconstruct the entire genetic history of Ireland.

    The researchers sampled DNA from human remains from the four kinds of burial in Ireland, from the simplest to the most elaborate. They used techniques similar to those that for-profit companies now use to help people discover unknown relatives and ancestral connections. This involves looking for extended chunks of DNA that are common to different samples, rather than comparing the average differences in individual genes. “It’s like looking at the sentences rather than the letters,” Dr. Bradley said.

    The researchers sequenced four full genomes. The others, as is common in this kind of research, were partial.

    David Reich of Harvard University, one of the ancient DNA specialists who has tracked the grand sweep of prehistoric human migration around the globe, and was not involved in the research, called the journal article “amazing.”

    “I think it’s part of the wave of the future about how ancient DNA will shed light on social structure, which is really one of its most exciting promises,” he said, although he had some reservations about evidence that the elite was genetically separate from the common people, a kind of royal family.

    Bettina Schulz Paulsson, a prehistoric archaeologist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, said the researchers’ finding that suggested a religious hierarchy was a “very attractive hypothesis.” Last year, Dr. Schulz Paulsson proposed that megalithic technology, which first appeared in Europe about 6,500 years ago, originated in Brittany, and spread by maritime means, along the coasts of the Atlantic and thus to England and Ireland. About 35,000 of these monuments are known, and the most famous draw crowds, sometimes for the history and archaeology, and sometimes for the spiritual power attributed to them.

    Dr. Schulz Paulsson said that essentially nothing was known about the structure of the societies that built the early megaliths. But the technology and the societies that used it developed over time.

    Newgrange dates to about 5,500 years ago, 1,500 years after the first European megaliths appeared. The creation of these monuments occurred after agriculture appeared in Europe, brought by a vast migration of Anatolian farmers, starting about 9,000 years ago. Dr. Reich is one of the researchers who has documented how these farmers, whose genetic profile is distinct from European hunter-gatherers, gradually settled Europe.

    What exactly happened between them and indigenous hunter-gatherers is not known, but gradually, judged by modern and ancient DNA, those hunter-gatherers disappeared. Today, after many waves of subsequent migration, their DNA is found only as a faint remnant in modern populations.

    The Irish genomes show that the people in these tombs were descendants of Anatolian farmers. The researchers found a trace of the indigenous population of Ireland in two individuals, Dr. Bradley said. Though this is a small amount, it does show, Dr. Bradley said, that there was some interaction between the farmers and hunter-gatherers.

    The paper is rich with other detail, including the discovery that an infant had Down syndrome. The authors believe this is the oldest record of Down syndrome. Chemical tests of the bone also showed that the infant had been breast fed, and that he was placed in an important tomb. Both of those facts suggest that he was well cared for, in keeping with numerous other archaeological finds of children and adults with illnesses or disabilities who were supported by their cultures.

    Dr. Cassidy said that they also found DNA in other remains that indicated relatives of the man who was a child of royal incest were placed in other significant tombs. “This man seemed to form a distinct genetic cluster with other individuals from passage tombs across the island,” she said.

    She said “we also found a few direct kinship links,” ancient genomes of individuals who were distant cousins. That contributed to the idea that there was an elite who directed the building of the mounds. In that context, it made sense that the incest was intentional. That’s not something that can be proved, of course, but other societies have encouraged brother/sister incest, and not only the Egyptians. Brothers married sisters in ancient Hawaii, and in Peru among the Incas.

    “The few examples where it is socially accepted,” she said, are “extremely stratified societies with an elite class who are able to break rules.”

    Dr. Reich said that the research had implications beyond the specific findings. He said it marked a new direction in ancient DNA studies, moving beyond discoveries of broad patterns of prehistoric human migration. Now, genetic data may help delineate social structures of specific communities, like that in Ireland, so lost in deep time that they have been almost impossible to decipher.

    Dr. Reich said he had reservations about one of the paper’s conclusions. The researchers reported that members of the elite, those found in the most elaborate tombs, were closer to one another genetically than they were to people found in other, simpler burials. But, Dr. Reich said, the simpler burials and the higher status burials were separated by hundreds of years, so the comparison wasn’t contemporaneous. Perhaps the genetic makeup of the society, which was small in number, changed over a few centuries. Dr. Bradley acknowledged that this was an alternative explanation.

    The final piece of the puzzle that the researchers reported was neither archaeological nor genetic, but folkloric. An account of Irish place names written around 1100, the authors write, tells a tale of a King Bressal, who slept with his sister. The result was that Dowth, the burial mound next to Newgrange, was called Fertae Chuile, or the Mound of Sin.

    The idea that a folk memory could preserve history 4,000 years old may seem preposterous, but there were also folk tales that gods built the passage tombs to affect the solar cycle. And yet Newgrange, with its solar alignment, was covered by earth during the Middle Ages. It was excavated, and the orientation to the winter solstice discovered at the beginning of the 20th century.

    The myths may be muddled, but the tale of the solar cycle had some basis in fact, as it turned out, and so, it may be, did the story of royal incest.



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