Atlantis Online
July 10, 2020, 01:41:29 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Secrets of ocean birth laid bare 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5191384.stm#graphic
 
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

Staggering ancient structure speaks to us down the ages

Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Staggering ancient structure speaks to us down the ages  (Read 90 times)
Balderas
Full Member
***
Posts: 4



« on: August 25, 2009, 11:01:48 pm »



Staggering ancient structure speaks to us down the ages

By Ron Ferguson

Published: 25/08/2009

AND so it goes on – yet another spectacular archaeological find in Orkney, but this one is a real “biggie”, an astonishing discovery which is really exciting archaeologists. VisitScotland is also pretty chuffed, especially as tourism is expected to take a bit of a knock in the aftermath of the al Megrahi business.

So, what's it all about? Experts have unearthed a Neolithic “cathedral” – a massive building of a kind never before seen in Britain. It has left archaeologists stunned.

This is not like finding a couple of bits of broken pottery. This is literally groundbreaking.

At 82ft long and 65ft wide, it is placed between two of Orkney's most famous Neolithic landmarks, the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness.

You may remember that, in one of his TV series, Billy Connolly cavorted naked around the Ring of Brodgar. Nothing quite like one ancient relic dancing around a whole lot of others.

Now the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness are very impressive big monuments, but even these would have seemed quite small in the presence of the cathedral-type building which would have stood on the spot that has now been excavated.
Report Spam   Logged

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Balderas
Full Member
***
Posts: 4



« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2009, 11:02:40 pm »

The sites we are talking about go back nearly 5,000 years. In other words, the buildings there predate the Egyptian pyramids. That is what I call seriously old.

My grandchildren sometimes ask me what it was like in the olden days. Well, 5,000 years is definitely the olden days, and I’m pretty sure I wasn't writing columns for the P&J at that time.

Nick Card, from the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology, who is leading the dig, said the building was effectively a cathedral for the north of Scotland.

“It's spectacular,” he said. “There were hints at the end of last season that we had an enormous building here and now we are able to define it more.”

What is interesting is that the shape and size of the building are visible, with the walls still standing to a height of more than three feet. They are 16 feet thick and surround a cross-shaped inner sanctum where the excavation team have found examples of art and furniture created from stone.

Furniture created from stone? I’ve known some church pews that felt like that. Not so good for the haemorrhoids, really.

It seems that the building was surrounded by a paved outer passage. This could have formed a labyrinth that would have led people through darkness to the chamber at the heart of the building.

This doesn’t sound very Church of Scotlandy to me. Presbyterians don't really go in for walking through labyrinths in the darkness. They don't go much in for candles, either.

Mind you, this great northern cathedral was built long before Presbyterianism was ever thought of. In fact, it was built before Christianity was even heard of.
Report Spam   Logged
Balderas
Full Member
***
Posts: 4



« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2009, 11:03:00 pm »

Mr Card said: “This is architecture on a monumental scale and the result is the largest structure of its kind anywhere in the north of Britain. It's one of those finds of a lifetime.”

The building probably served as some kind of temple, maybe for remembering the dead. For all we know, it may have been a place where sacrifices, even human sacrifices, were offered up.

Other buildings, over 50ft long and 30ft wide, have also been discovered. This is major, major stuff.

Dr Colin Richards, a leading expert on the period, said the building would have stood at the heart of Neolithic Orkney. “A structure of this nature would have been renowned right across the north of Scotland – and is unprecedented anywhere in Britain.”

It’s clear that those big buildings were designed to create a sense of awe in the punters. They were intended to drive people to their knees.

The instinct for worship has been with humankind for a long, long time. There seems to have always been an urge among people to worship a god or gods. The very existence of the world itself creates a sense of wonder.

Of course, the earliest human beings might have simply been superstitious. They would tend to see the presence of God in a big mysterious mountain, or even in cloud formations. It's easy to see how people would interpret thunder and lightning as evidence of the displeasure of a god.

Of course, we now know so much more about natural phenomena. We tend not to see gods in mountains and rivers and fields. Science has explained so many things for us.

But there are so many things that science can't explain: such as why is there something rather than nothing? There are mysteries which the human mind may never be able to explain.
Report Spam   Logged
Balderas
Full Member
***
Posts: 4



« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2009, 11:03:51 pm »

There is still a human instinct to express gratitude for food, or for the birth of a child. Religious ceremonies to do with birth, marriage and death are still popular, even in this secular age.

This was supposed to be the era when religion would disappear, laughed out of sight, drowned under the weight of its own absurdity. It would be exposed as a sham, a con-trick; it would also be shown to be responsible for most of the evils of the world.

But far from lying still in its grave, the corpse is walking around, creating mayhem and misery while also bringing consolation and delight.

Institutional religion may be faltering in western Europe, but it is flourishing in many other parts of the world.

Religion has many, many faces. Some of its masks are deeply repellent, others are profoundly attractive.

In the Year of Our Lord 2009, whatever is happening to religion, it is not dying. Indeed, it is headline news and – as the P&J letters page so often shows – a constant topic of conversation. As someone who has been involved in the rough old trades of both religion and journalism, I believe that religion’s persistence – resurgence, even – will continue to confound all critics.

Religion deals – sometimes well, sometimes badly – with age-old human concerns. The northern Neolithic cathedral in Orkney speaks eloquently to a new, and needy, generation.

http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/1366015?UserKey=
Report Spam   Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy