Going Round in Circles

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Going Round in Circles

Postby Malmaison » 9:59 am

Why is it that we can't navigate like animals do, apparently with the aid of magnetic forces? People can't even walk in a straight line for a short distance even when 'stone-cold' sober. How many of us have literally gone round in a circle thinking we were headed in a completely different direction...

I wonder what cup and ring markings on standing stones are all about. They may be navigational aids even though they don't seem terribly helpful to modern eyes. They may be symbols of some higher truth but in line with Megalithia generally it's more likely they represent something quite mundane but presumably very useful.
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Re: Going Round in Circles

Postby Jools » 10:02 am

There was a programme the other night on TV which was supposed to shed light on the Dark Ages. The presenter showed a dice discovered in some Roman ruins and I noticed it was engraved with concentric circles that looked like cup and ring markings.

So I am wondering if the Roman dice is nothing of the sort or if cup and ring markings are proof that Monopoly has been played for a very long time. Could bored Megalithic drovers have used waymarkers as a convenient surface for game-playing?
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Re: Going Round in Circles

Postby Penny » 10:33 am

That's an interesting idea! Hermes is the god of gambling and dice as well as of roads and trade.
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Re: Going Round in Circles

Postby Donna » 5:26 pm

As far as I know cup(-and-ring) marks are only in Ireland and the northern half of Britain, none have been found in the south.

At Drombeg, the only known cup-marks are on the “ley-line”, i.e., on the upper surface of the recumbent sighting-stone. Craig Morag is similar: all known cup-marks are on a single recumbent stone in the circle itself. At Boheh in Mayo, cup-and-ring marks and mazes jostle indiscriminately on the same 3-metre stretch of rock.

A slab at Westwood Moor in Northumberland has a very fine labyrinth in the middle of a “maze” of cup-and-ring marks. A potential labyrinth, actually made of a deeply-incised cup surrounded by partially-overlapping rings with an “entrance path”, is found among cup-and-ring marks at Laxe das Rodas in Galicia. On a large boulder at Gardom’s Edge in Derbyshire, a small spiral labyrinth shares space with a series of cup-and-ring marks. A possible maze and cup-marks occur together on the same slab-face at Guisecliff in North Yorkshire.

However, most of the British and Irish labyrinths are dubious. Some may be eroded cup-and-ring marks with multiple rings. Others are believed to be modern.
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Re: Going Round in Circles

Postby Boreades » 11:36 pm

I wonder if these were part of some megalithic manufacturing process? Perhaps something that wore grooves in the rock?
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Re: Going Round in Circles

Postby Jacqui » 12:21 am

Boreades wrote:I wonder if these were part of some megalithic manufacturing process? Perhaps something that wore grooves in the rock?

That's an interesting thought, Boreades. The cup-and-ring marks tend to be in the 'industrial north' after all!

In folklore people are supposed to have drunk or collected rainwater from the marks which seems daft considering how small the cups are. In some places people are said to have filled them with milk at Beltane, some kind of fertility thing, which brings to mind drovers. Certainly in quite recent times cattle as well as other trade goods were left at particular standing stones and live animals would have had to be tethered so a peg with a rope might have been used. But I've probably watched too many westerns.

P.S. I watched the Dark Ages programme too, and thought the art was pretty bad in spite of all the gold glittering.
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Re: Going Round in Circles

Postby Boreades » 12:29 am

Knowing as we do that Romans were adept at grabbing any technology of worth from megalithic regions and calling it their own, I wonder what you make of this?

"Roman" gold mining in Wales, but in particular: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolaucothi#Carreg_Pumsaint

"Such a water-powered hammer would have been moved regularly as each hollow became too deep, so producing the series of overlapping oval hollows in its surfaces."
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Re: Going Round in Circles

Postby hvered » 9:17 am

Boreades wrote:Knowing as we do that Romans were adept at grabbing any technology of worth from megalithic regions and calling it their own, I wonder what you make of this?

"Such a water-powered hammer would have been moved regularly as each hollow became too deep, so producing the series of overlapping oval hollows in its surfaces."

Someone, probably on the applied epistemology site, mentioned that mines are found in mountains but never followed it up. The higher up the more water power and judging by the Welsh mines water power was exploited as a matter of course...

The hammer head must have been of substantial size judging by the width of the hollows shown in the drawing. The stone is the only example so far discovered at the site, but is not unique, and Burnham refers to others of similar shape from Spain. As one side of the stone became worn, it was simply turned to reveal another side, so the block could be re-used several times. When found years after the Romans had left, in the Dark Ages, it gave rise to the legend of the five saints, who left the impression of their heads in the stone after being found asleep by the devil.

It's not clear how far the Romans' engineering projects were a continuation of their predecessors' work, but more likely they took over existing mines rather than set up new ones. Cornwall and west Devon had been inhabited by Basques, Iberians and Judeans as well as Celts [Judeans would appear to have been the production managers, since the remains of their blowing houses (smelting chambers) are still marked on maps as Jews' houses]. Interesting though about the saints' heads which seems to have flowed from the more common legends of holy wells and springs being established by saints founding monasteries and churches i.e. taking over the local water resources.

The article says evidence of deep mining exists on sites that are still being worked today, e.g. Rio Tinto.

They followed the veins with shafts and tunnels underground, some of which still exist on the site. The remains of Roman dewatering machines were found during the 1880s and the 1920s when the Rio Tinto mines in Spain were being mined by opencast methods.

Huelva on the coast where the borders of southern Spain and Portugal meet is reminiscent of Plymouth on the coast of southern Britain; both towns were known to the Phoenicians and their harbours consist of offshore islands. Some of these islands have become resorts and as in Britain are no longer islands, such as Isla Cristina:
Once a distinct island, it is now linked to the mainland and is surrounded by tidal estuaries.
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Re: Going Round in Circles

Postby hvered » 10:02 am

Boreades wrote:I wonder if these were part of some megalithic manufacturing process? Perhaps something that wore grooves in the rock?

Bingo! BZ, Boreades. Spirals were discussed on the applied epistemology site where people were divided into two camps, one lot insisting they were graffiti and the other was equally insistent they had 'ritual significance'. Someone then noted that chiselling such marks on rock took a lot of effort and some skill so they couldn't have simply been 'doodles' but it was an inconclusive argument and the thread ran out quite quickly.

The most interesting thing, which again wasn't followed up, is the geographical aspect, from Malta to Ireland as the original poster had pointed out. I don't think Jacqui's drovers are relevant as they were droving in the south as well (and stakes would have been driven into the ground, not into a granite stone!) but tinkers and itinerant metal-workers may be in the frame. The stones could have served as wayside work-surfaces or anvils, quite a large number of cup and ring stones are indeed lying flat, whether they were originally upright is not clear.

[There's no particular reason to think these quite out of the way stones were 'sacred' objects used for astronomical purposes or whatever the latest theory is. Thinking of today's sign-posts, the ones on main routes (including the Ridgeway) are well maintained but off the beaten tracks signs get broken or so dirty as to be unreadable and in some places routinely vandalised].
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Re: Going Round in Circles

Postby Iona » 10:45 am

The stones were thought to possess medicinal properties just as certain springs and wells were considered to have healing powers, at least according to Geoffrey of Monmouth:

"whenever they [the Irish] felt ill, baths should be prepared at the foot of the stones; for they used to pour water over them and to run this water into baths in which their sick were cured. What is more, they mixed the water with herbal concoctions and so healed their wounds. There is not a single stone among them which hasn't some medicinal virtue."

The sense of 'magick' is reminiscent of the aura or awe surrounding metal-working and smithery. Could "water" here be quicksilver or mercury, which for some reason was used for an inordinately long period to treat quite perplexing conditions such as syphilis?
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