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6000-Year-Old Tomb Complex Discovered

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the nobody-knows-who-they-were-or-what-they-were-doing dept.

Science 83

duh P3rf3ss3r writes "National Geographic reports that a 6000-year-old tomb complex on 200 hectares (500 acres) has been discovered on the Salisbury Plain just 24 km (15 miles) from Stonehenge. The site has come as a surprise to the archaeologists who had thought that the area had been studied in such depth that few discoveries of such magnitude remained. The site, fully 1000 years older than Stonehenge, has been called 'Britain's oldest architecture.'"

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crop mark != crop circle (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369377)

Given away by strange, crop circle-like formations seen from the air, a huge prehistoric ceremonial complex discovered in southern England has taken archaeologists by surprise.

Umm.. Crop marks [wikipedia.org] , not crop circles [wikipedia.org] .

Re:crop mark != crop circle (3, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369405)

Umm.. Crop marks, not crop circles.

Oh come on, we all know it's discovery is actually due to all those cameras the UK government has installed on every street corner and in every crop field. Where's my tin foil hat? I need to have it upgraded to platinum to keep out the camera rays and ward off 6000 year old British zombies.

Re:crop mark != crop circle (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370161)

There's two reasons now to fear the British government!

Re:crop mark != crop circle (2, Funny)

The_REAL_DZA (731082) | more than 5 years ago | (#28374105)

There's two reasons now to fear the British government!

Quite right! Two reasons to fear the British government:

  1. Fear
  2. Surprise
  3. A ruthless efficiency!

Re:crop mark != crop circle (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28378417)

You forgot Henry VIII's almost fanatical devotion to Anne Boleyn.

Re:crop mark != crop circle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28374457)

and a third - this being Britain they are probally still waiting for planning permission.

Re:crop mark != crop circle (4, Funny)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370303)

...and ward off 6000 year old British zombies.

Or you could just park in the marked bays and buy a ticket so they don't fine you. 6000 year old British zombies are lawful evil and can't write you an infraction unless you break a by-law.

Re:crop mark != crop circle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28373795)

6000 year old British zombies.

Isn't that most of your goverment? :)

Re:crop mark != crop circle (4, Informative)

Celeste R (1002377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369435)

Crop marks can indeed be shaped into looking like circles, but they're not the crop circles most people think of.

Yes, these are man-made, but they're certainly not attributed to UFO's, decorative burning, prank helicopter slash-and-burns, or hoaxes of the same sort.

Crop circle-like is an accurate way to describe it. They're not crop circles (per the popular definition), but they are similar. Accordingly, the article is more accurate than it could be if it said "crop circle formations", even if the terminology can be further improved.

Re:crop mark != crop circle (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28369627)

... they're certainly not attributed to UFO's

Good boy! You just keep believing that and let us take care of everything.

Re:crop mark != crop circle (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 5 years ago | (#28373241)

Given away by strange, crop circle-like formations seen from the air, a huge prehistoric ceremonial complex discovered in southern England has taken archaeologists by surprise.

Umm.. Crop marks [wikipedia.org] , not crop circles [wikipedia.org] .

Amusingly, somebody had already added the Stonehenge discovery as an example on the Wikipedia Crop CIRCLE page. I undid that edit, so you owe me (since I saved you from the embarrassment of linking to sources that contradict your own point of course!) ;)

Re:crop mark != crop circle (4, Funny)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 5 years ago | (#28375353)

We have this cool feature of the English language call the simile. With this simile, we can describe the features of an object by comparing it to another, unrelated object.

Example:

Joe is so strong, he is like an ox.

In this example, Joe clearly has no actual relation to an ox (we hope), however comparing him to an ox relates a charactaristic of Joe's, his strength, with a charactaristic easily noted when one looks at an ox - oxen are very strong compared to humans. This simile does not even imply that Joe's strength is equal to that of an ox, in this example hyperbole (more on that in another lesson) or exageration is used to highlight the quality of Joe that is being described.

In the example of the summary, they use simile by saying "crop circle-like" to describe what the formations look like. This does not imply that these formations ARE crop circle markings, in fact, the use of simile could actually imply that they are NOT the same thing. Had they simply said "crop circle", they would have either been incredibly inacturate or really, really bad at using metaphore (similar to simile, but not covered in this lesson).

In other words, you're an idiot.

Re:crop mark != crop circle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28378447)

Superb!

Surprised? (3, Insightful)

Sardak (773761) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369439)

The site has come as a surprise to the archaeologists who had thought that the area had been studied in such depth that few discoveries of such magnitude remained.

If they believed a few remained, why are they so surprised to find one of them?

Re:Surprised? (1, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369467)

Oh the subtleties of the english language.

Well said sir!

Re:Surprised? (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369469)

You and your obvious political ploys with your fancy logical analysis and your brainy smarts! Begone from here!

Re:Surprised? (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370111)

Yep, they should have said very few.

Re:Surprised? (1)

markimusk (669429) | more than 5 years ago | (#28374273)

and one fewer now...

Re:Surprised? (1)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370223)

If they believed a few remained, why are they so surprised to find one of them?

It's a figure of speech. If lots of them remained, they would not have been surprised. But few remained, therefore they were surprised. Seriously, how hard was that?

Re:Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28370389)

whoosh...

seriously, how hard was it to see that was funny...

Re:Surprised? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28372323)

Only for certain small values of funny.

Re:Surprised? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28371635)

"If they believed a few remained, why are they so surprised to find one of them?"

BECAUSE only a few remain. D'oh!

If there are only a few lottery tickets with a top prize, and you drew one, would you describe your condition as 'surprised'? Or would you say that statistically it had to be drawn so this is not an unusual event....

Re:Surprised? (2, Informative)

consonant (896763) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372755)

They didn't believe that "a few" remained - the prevailing belief was that "few" were left to be discovered, which translates to "practically nothing".

Linky [diffen.com] .

Re:Surprised? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372857)

The surprise was that Jim found it. Jim is, by account of all the other grad students, an idiot. Imagine if Gilligan were the one to find a way off the island. That would be pretty surprising, no?

Re:Surprised? (2, Funny)

M-RES (653754) | more than 5 years ago | (#28373101)

I don't know what you're talking about - I don't watch Lost! ;p

Re:Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28374973)

BAH! I scoff at that one. Jim just told you that so he could sound all big and important. Steve is the one. He found it

Re:Surprised? (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 5 years ago | (#28378331)

A large amount of excavation, study, exposure and seismic investigation into the greater Stonehenge area, has occurred for hundreds of years. In the 80's some groups were taking readings all over the place looking for the source of the stone that may have been long-buried, IIRC. Finding a previously undiscovered, massively large, underground structure, so close to Stonehenge now, is surprising.

Hello Cleveland! (4, Funny)

FrankDrebin (238464) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369451)

'Britain's oldest architecture'

Performed By Britian's Loudest Band

Re:Hello Cleveland! (3, Funny)

laejoh (648921) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370227)

In ancient times...

Hundreds of years before the dawn of history

Lived a strange race of people... the Druids

No one knows who they were or what they were doing

But their legacy remains

Re:Hello Cleveland! (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372989)

If I could mod you +11 funny, I would.

Re:Hello Cleveland! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28375313)

It can't be a coincidence that Spinal Tap is having their One Night Only "World" Tour [spinaltap.com] at Wembley Stadium on June 30. Hmmm... though it looks like they've added a second date now.

Maybe this is rubble from their last performance at Stonehenge?

Surprise? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28369459)

6000 year old tomb complex... has come as a surprise to the archaeologists

And even more of a surprise to the young-earth creationists. WE'VE FOUND THE TOMBS OF ADAM AND EVE, EVERYONE!!!!11!!122!

Re:Surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28369991)

Finally, Eurocentrism proved and justified! Huzzah!

Re:Surprise? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372489)

Nah only Cane and Able.

Wow. (0, Offtopic)

DarrenBaker (322210) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369473)

This is Spinal Tap is on IFC Canada RIGHT. NOW.

If that's not a sign, I don't know what is.

British histroy is now complete. (4, Funny)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369479)

Well that about wraps it up for all the archaeology in Britain. After all once you reach back 6000 years there is no more to find.

Re:British histroy is now complete. (1)

Starlon (1492461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369745)

Till they find the 10,000 year old lemur monkey population, complete with its Queen and Monty Python.

Re:British histroy is now complete. (1)

MontyThePython (1393959) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370905)

Hey, I resemble that comment!

Re:British histroy is now complete. (1)

krenshala (178676) | more than 5 years ago | (#28371139)

Careful, or someone will fetch the Comfy Chair!

Always look on hte bright side of ... (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | more than 5 years ago | (#28379231)

./

Re:British histroy is now complete. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28371649)

Don't worry, the Creationists/IDers still have the reach around!

Re:British histroy is now complete. (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#28413581)

That's more true than you think, for contemporary archaeologists.

Ever wonder why anything they find is a "tomb", "ritual site" or "burial site" if it demonstrates even the least bit of architectural complexity and it's older than (say) 3,000 years old? IE, it couldn't possibly have served a functionality beyond some primitive goal, because people back then couldn't possibly have been technologically/intellectually advanced to achieve such a goal! The Giza pyramid is a perfect example of this: despite having had multiple groups attempt to rebuild the pyramids to scale using the supposed tools used by the pyramid builders, nobody has been able to do so; and the Giza pyramid, despite having no overt indication of being a tomb or religious site, still gets categorized as such.

Let's think about this: if you were a privative people, why would you build tombs as your "most advanced architecture"? You wouldn't. You'd make dwelling places and utilitarian buildings. Sure, they may have been made from something else - which doesn't last as long, such as wood - but tombs. Or maybe they were primarily tombs - made by a later people who used the homes of a lost people to bury their dead.

Archeology would be well suited to ditch the millstone of evolutionary theory and start basing their theories on their own discoveries and the evidence manifest. Even as a "soft science" they should be asking "what does this evidence support?" not "how does this evidence fit our theory?"

google maps link (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28369483)

Here it is on Google Maps... you can see a faint circle where the mound is located.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=damerham&sll=38.892091,-77.024055&sspn=0.487938,1.045761&ie=UTF8&ll=50.937232,-1.873689&spn=0.003086,0.00817&t=h&z=18

Re:google maps link (2, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369993)

And here it is on Bing - with the circles just barely visible: http://www.bing.com/maps/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCP&cp=50.937445~-1.874886&style=h&lvl=18&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&where1=50.937232%2C-1.873689&encType=1 [bing.com] . (You'll have to zoom in.)
 
Which shows how hard these things are to discover - different light angles and ages and types of crops change the visibility greatly.
 
I know there are some UK [aerial photography] sites as well - any links from them?

I see no circles (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370519)

The web browser on this computer and the Maps site may not work well together.
 
To continue, install a browser that is more compatible with this site. Or, continue to use your current browser, keeping in mind that some features may not work correctly.
 
    * Install Internet Explorer
    * Install Firefox
    * Go to the map using this browser

Posted from Firefox 3.5 beta 4

Bing! wins again...

Re:I see no circles (1)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370597)

It works with Firefox 3.5 (I got an update yesterday).

Re:I see no circles (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28371541)

Link works for me, with Firefox 3.5RC1 (released yesterday).

Try Help -> Check for Updates in Firefox, try again, and post your findings.

Pretty please.

Re:I see no circles (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#28371835)

It also works with Firefox 2.0.0.20.

Re:I see no circles (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372449)

2.0.0.17 also. Why upgrade when the old one works fine?

Re:I see no circles (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28371947)

Heh,

I'm using 3.5b4 as packaged in Fedora 11. Guess what? Are you ready for this? The "Check for updates" menu item is grayed out.

If I hadn't seen it myself I'm not sure I would have believed it but there it is.

Re:I see no circles (1)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372255)

It is because Firefox was installed as by yum. You are most probably running Firefox as a normal user, so you don't have permissions to overwrite installation directory - hence the grayed out option.

Re:I see no circles (1)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372265)

It is because Firefox was installed as root by yum. You are most probably running it as a normal user, so you don't have permissions to overwrite installation directory - hence the grayed out option.

Re:I see no circles (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372747)

Sounds like your version of Firefox is broken, as mine works just fine.

Re:I see no circles (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 5 years ago | (#28374383)

So,

When a website works for everyone else, obviously it's the website that is broken when your browser can't display it correctly.

I think there is a flaw in the logic there, but I'm not sure where...

Re:google maps link (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28370063)

Here it is on Google Maps... you can see a faint circle where the mound is located.

Aaaaah, clearly what this guy [google.com.au] is looking for.

(posting anon as I am ashamed of my puerile sense of humour).

Re:google maps link (1)

krenshala (178676) | more than 5 years ago | (#28371145)

My first though when I pulled up the picture: looks like a water ring from a can left on the picture. ;)

Re:google maps link (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 5 years ago | (#28371517)

I wonder if it's connected with Binger, in Caddo County, Oklahoma.

stay out of my grave lest I come back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28369625)

I mean it. You don't want to piss me off (your nukes won't help you).

-- Ghost Gilbinglober Ingltain

I tried (4, Funny)

peipas (809350) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369899)

I tried to RTFA but when it came time to click on to page two I got distracted by the "Jackass Penguins Freed After Rehab" link. Oh well.

There He goes Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28369923)

his holy noddleness screwing with the carbon dating. every one KNOWS that the earth is only 5,000 years old.

Thoughts.. (1)

terbo (307578) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369947)

"The site has come as a surprise to the archaeologists who had thought that the area had been studied in such depth that few discoveries of such magnitude remained."

Maybe their thoughts are limiting them ...

Re:Thoughts..for instance (1)

terbo (307578) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369977)

"two massive, 6,000-year-old tombs that are among "Britain's first architecture,"

It must be God's house (-1, Troll)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369975)

Either that, or where Adam and Eve sheltered from the dinosaurs. After all, the world is only 6,000 years old.

More Giant Circles (3, Interesting)

mrdbeaton (767108) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370259)

I just emailed this to National Geographic:
We'll see what happens...

"I believe I have discovered circles similar to the ones referenced in your article 'Huge Pre-Stonehenge Complex Found via "Crop Circles"'.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090615-stonehenge-tombs-crop-circles_2.html [nationalgeographic.com]

There are two 380-foot diameter circles located at Longitude/Latitude 50.977866,-1.963204
These may be seen at Google maps: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=50.977866,-1.963204&sll=50.977866,-1.963204&sspn=177.15044,360&ie=UTF8&ll=50.977872,-1.963205&spn=0.01016,0.021865&t=h&z=16&iwloc=A [google.com]
There are variations in the color of vegetation at this site that indicate that there may be other circles as well, of similar size.
There is also a serpentine color variation about 750 feet long and 60 feet wide.

Please forward this to the appropriate researcher."

Re:More Giant Circles (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370431)

Re:More Giant Circles (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372043)

Here are more strange markings [google.com] . Clearly these ancient marks were made by sun worshipers - note how the lines radiate out from a central 'bright' area. Also note how there are 20 segments - clearly a nod to the ancient Mesopotamians who were enamored with the number 60 (and sub-multiples thereof).
Notice how animals are attracted to the 'tombs' - perhaps they are the descendants of ancient sacrificial animals bred specifically for that purpose and somehow retain a genetic memory of their fate.

Oh, and in case you didn't notice, <sarcasm>

Re:More Giant Circles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28379677)

They look like silage pits to me. Mound it up and cover it if its wet process. If its for dry hay then put a rope and pole in the middle and walk a horse round the edge with a rake to turn it. It changes the composition of the soil after a while, and the grass looks different or nitrogen poisoned though that looks more blueish than in those photos. those are probably over 100 years old as they have not done it that way for a long time!

Used to ensilage with trenches in the same way. About four feet deep and up to a hundred yards long. a layer of turf on top. Pollution of a sort. It's history but perhaps not all that old.

Hyperbole (4, Interesting)

thegoldenear (323630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370639)

This is hyperbole from National Geographic. Calling the structures 'tombs' in the title implies it's an underground complex, which it wasn't. This is the remains of Neolithic barrows, which the countryside around Stonehenge is completely covered in. These barrows that have just been discovered are only the remains too, where-as there are innumerable surviving barrows all over that area of countryside, and in many many places all over Britain.

Pete Boyd

Re:Hyperbole (2, Insightful)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#28371867)

"A tomb is a repository for the remains of the dead. The term generally refers to any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes. The word is used in a broad sense to encompass a number of such types of places of interment or, occasionally, burial ..." Link [wikipedia.org]

Anyway, the bodies ARE buried under ground. The ground is piled up over the tombs. Or does grass grow in the air ?

This is the remains of Neolithic barrows

THESE ARE ...!

Re:Hyperbole (1)

thegoldenear (323630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372039)

I was saying that the 'tombs' aren't there any more, so they haven't _found_ tombs. They've found where tombs used to be.

I agree that I was wrong to read National Geographic's description as there being existing underground tombs.
But you're wrong to say the bodies are underground. Though you'd be right to say the bodies are under some ground, but that's not the meaning of the word 'underground' in English. The barrows are made of stone and in this case wood and the bodies placed within them, where there are passageways and inlets, thus creating a tomb.
Such remains still exist that you can crawl around inside. They're very much above ground.

By saying "THESE ARE...!", you're repeating what I said. I was saying just that, that this article is about Neolithic barrows. And only the vague remains of them at that. And that there are plenty of fully standing remains already around there. (I've explored many of them, all over Britain)

Pete Boyd

Re:Hyperbole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28373083)

i'm not the original poster - but quoting the article:-

And "even if the mounds are gone, you are still going to have primary burials [as opposed to those later added on top] which will have been dug into the chalk, so are going to survive," Pollard added.

The contents of the Stone Age long barrows should likewise have survived, he said. "I think there's good reason to assume you might have the main wooden mortuary chambers with burial deposits," he said.

-- that seems to imply that they think there could be wooden framed / wooden lined burial chambers cut into the chalk beneath surface level.

bah - dunno what's up with the formatting of this text - sorry!

Re:Hyperbole (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#28375699)

By saying "THESE ARE...!", you're repeating what I said.

No, I'm correcting what you said. Do you need me to spoon feed you the reason ?

Re:Hyperbole (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#28413653)

I'm curious why there's all this evidence of barrows (a type of tomb, in a sense) but none of the supposed living quarters of these people. Why is that, do you suppose? Maybe these were not "ceremonial buildings" but actual living quarters and they (like many a people group) buried their deceased nearby?

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28370741)

Hobbitses ?

Aquila (1)

improfane (855034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370759)

I wonder if they found the buried space ship [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Aquila (1)

RalphSleigh (899929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28371877)

Aw man, now you have me wikipediaing old childhood shows. I remember watching that.

Zombies (1)

Tim12s (209786) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370763)

Great... 28 days later...

Britain is Freaky (3, Funny)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372295)

They have these big mounds of dead people from thousands of years ago.... STILL SITTING AROUND!

In the U.S., we know how to handle an ancient burial ground properly: bulldoze it flat, then build a Wal-Mart on top of what's left.

Re:Britain is Freaky (3, Funny)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 5 years ago | (#28373289)

You think that's freaky?? Clearly you've never been in the basement at Wal-Mart.

Oh, word.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28377797)

I for one, welcome our new 6,000 year old zombie overlords.

Call in SG-1 (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 5 years ago | (#28378399)

I'm surprised there has not been a Stargate SG-1 reference to Merlin's tomb yet. Isn't that an eerie coincidence?

6000 ? how about 12.000 ? check this out (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28384251)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6bekli_Tepe [wikipedia.org]

this region was a religious center BEFORE mankind domesticated wheat. one of the stunning things about this place is, they think that wheat was very probably domesticated here, because nearby wild grain dna is the closest to the dna of the modern wheat we use. this is probably the place where farming started.

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