Tuesday 7 October 2014

Lost In The Mists Of Time.

You may have just gathered once or twice [ahem] that I am a keen amateur armchair archaeologist....I don't much fancy the hard work bit on your hands and knees digging through a sea of mud whilst the weather throws god knows what at you but I am fascinated by the results. When something hitherto unknown is excavated theories abound to the artifact's original purpose. Sometimes once these ideas are tested within the field of experimental archaeology answers are forthcoming. Other times we can only rely on conjecture and supposition. This is very much the case with these two examples of Neolithic wonder that I saw last week.

The first are the Folkton Drums.

They are made from chalk and are intricately carved with various motifs including faces. Discovered within a neolithic round barrow in North Yorks they were very carefully placed behind the hips and head of a child as part of the burial goods. 

Secondly these are three examples of carved stone balls.

Others are known to exist but all of them have been found in Scotland....perhaps they were the artwork of a specifc tribe. Once again it's the "why?" that the experts can't answer.

It's amazing though to find that this loss of knowledge can happen within a relatively short space of time- during a documentary about a recent dig at the WWI trenches items were being unearthed that weren't recognised. That wasn't down to extreme corrosion or other factors that would radically alter the appearance...it was simply that they hadn't been seen in our modern age. Presumably it's somewhat easier to hazard a guess to their likely use with some dedicated research and the possible survival of both visual, written and oral records but intriguing nevertheless!


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