Neolithic Britons travelled across country for regular mass national feasts 4,500 years ago, new research claims | The Independent

avebury-n071124-ed.jpg
Neolithic stone circle at Avebury, with the modern village built in as well as around it.

New scientific discoveries are set to dramatically transform our understanding of prehistoric Britain.

Source: Neolithic Britons travelled across country for regular mass national feasts 4,500 years ago, new research claims | The Independent

So, once again pop culture is discovering what some of us have realized for some time: that so-called “primitive” peoples were not as primitive as we often tend to believe!

A study of Stonehenge-era archaeological material from large-scale ceremonial feasts is revealing that neolithic Britain was, in key respects, much more interconnected and unified than previously thought.

“These gatherings could be seen as the first united cultural events of our island, with people from all corners of Britain descending on the areas around Stonehenge to feast on food that had been specially reared and transported from their homes” [said lead author Dr Madgwick].

The emergence of some sort of country-wide identity now appears to have been part of a package of new cultural and political developments that occurred at around the time the great stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury were built.

What is not known is whether this nascent “national,” or at least pan-tribal, cultural identity was a lasting feature of neolithic British society, or whether it only lasted as long as the reign of a particularly dominant king / chieftain (or perhaps dynasty). The evidence, in any case,

“strongly suggests that religious or political elites wanted and were able to gather together at a ‘national’ rather than purely local communal or tribal level.

“Given the religious and ritual nature of the venues, it is conceivable that at least some of the participants had societal roles that were ‘national’ in nature  – similar perhaps to the pan-tribal Druid religious elite in Iron Age Britain 2,000 years later.

“The emergence of some sort of country-wide identity now appears to have been part of a package of new cultural and political developments that occurred at around the time the great stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury were built.”

Read on for more!

Feasts were held at ritual sites, including Avebury
Feasts were held at ritual sites, including Avebury (English Heritage).
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Heat Wave Reveals Hidden Archaeological Sites Across England (Photos) | The Weather Channel

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/9f436efb25447d392762cecf1df2a9339dcf52ce/0_274_7360_4417/master/7360.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=434f684f1ebeac6d2fdd286f56363bac

Hot, dry conditions this summer in England have revealed mysterious Stone Age ceremonial monuments, Iron Age settlements, burial mounds and a Roman farm.

Source: Heat Wave Reveals Hidden Archaeological Sites Across England (Photos) | The Weather Channel

This is fascinating!

“A scorching heat wave that has left much of the English countryside dusty and brown has also uncovered parts of the country’s past that have been buried for millennia.

“Archaeologists have been flying over the parched landscape this summer looking for patterns in the fields. As the soil dried out , ‘mysterious Neolithic ceremonial monuments, Iron Age settlements, square barrows and a Roman farm’ have become visible, Historic England said in a news release this week.”

Follow the link for more information, and/or see this Guardian article.

Ancient Egyptians more closely related to Europeans than modern Egyptians, scientists claim | The Independent

Scientists who managed to obtain full genome sequences of Ancient Egyptians for the first time have concluded the people of the pharaohs were more closely related to modern Europeans and inhabitants of the Near East rather than present-day Egyptians.

Source: Ancient Egyptians more closely related to Europeans than modern Egyptians, scientists claim | The Independent

The researchers, writing in the journal Nature Communications, admitted their sample “may not be representative for all of ancient Egypt.” Nevertheless, they concluded the mummified people were “distinct from modern Egyptians, and closer towards Near Eastern and European samples”.

“Our analyses reveal that ancient Egyptians shared more ancestry with Near Easterners than present-day Egyptians,” they wrote. And they added: “We find that ancient Egyptians are most closely related to Neolithic and Bronze Age samples in the Levant, as well as to Neolithic Anatolian and European populations. 

“When comparing this pattern with modern Egyptians, we find that the ancient Egyptians are more closely related to all modern and ancient European populations that we tested, likely due to the additional African component in the modern population.”

Some of us would not find this particularly surprising. I don’t! But the dissenter they found for this article, this Professor Stephen Quirke, “an Egyptologist at University College London,” is “quirky” all right. Regarding his comment that “When we are discussing it, we have to be much more sensitive to how these kinds of statements are read outside where we are at the moment,” it’s not hard to read between the lines: a less careful and euphemistic way of stating that would be along the lines of, “we have to be careful not to offend those people who have bought into the Afro-centric narrative.”

In other words, preserving a Leftist narrative that privileges sub-Saharan Africans over people of European and Middle Eastern ancestry with respect to the high culture of Egypt – and the “multiculturalist” (read: anti-Western) agenda that entails – is the most important consideration, even if the science clearly demonstrates that that’s a load of bull-puckey. Once again, it’s ironic how the Left trumpets “science” when they think they can use it to discredit traditionalist ideas, but abandon it in a hurry when it supports traditional understandings, rather than their revisionist agenda!

At any rate, it seems fairly clear that the primary survivors of the “original” ancient Egyptians are the Copts, who survive as an often-persecuted minority of Christians in modern Egypt, having been converted by the missionary work of St. Mark the Apostle. It should not be forgotten that Egypt was host to a thriving Christian civilization – centered on Alexandria, one of the five ancient Patriarchates and a major center of Christian learning and devotion – prior to Egypt’s violent subjugation by Islam.

And it was with that shift that the genetic composition of Egyptians, which as this article points out had remained “genetically relatively unaffected by foreign conquest and rule” prior to the Islamic invasion, shifted as well.

On a lighter note: Time change – we think we’ve got it rough…!

Time change and henge stones
Another busy night at all the British henge sites as staff work all night to move the stones forward by an hour.

For many people, the time changed back from Daylight Saving to Standard Time overnight last night. And we think we’ve got it rough, trying to remember to set our clocks back…! 

Nota Bene: It has been pointed out that this meme must originally have been created in the Spring, as last night was time to “Fall back” an hour…

The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA reveals | Science | AAAS

Ever since the days of Homer, Greeks have long idealized their Mycenaean “ancestors” in epic poems and classic tragedies that glorify the exploits of Odysseus, King Agamemnon, and other heroes who went in and out of favor with the Greek gods.

Although these Mycenaeans were fictitious, scholars have debated whether today’s Greeks descend from the actual Mycenaeans, who created a famous civilization that dominated mainland Greece and the Aegean Sea from about 1600 B.C.E. to 1200 B.C.E., or whether the ancient Mycenaeans simply vanished from the region.

Now, ancient DNA suggests that living Greeks are indeed the descendants of Mycenaeans, with only a small proportion of DNA from later migrations to Greece…

Source: The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA reveals | Science | AAAS

The title of this piece is a touch misleading, in that it may seem to imply that the ancient Greeks really were descended from the gods, or at least their heroes were. But although the truth is somewhat more prosaic, it is no less interesting!

In addition to the usefulness to historians, archaeologists, mythologists, and students of literature of confirming that there was and is a Mycenaean – and indeed, Minoan – connection with modern Greeks, and a very significant one, this also is further evidence that ancient myths and legends, originally carried down through the oral traditions of a people and only later put to writing, may nonetheless have striking validity.

This is not news to many of us, of course; but it may be to others, who have bought into the popular misrepresentation of “myth” as a synonym for “fallacy.” Leaving aside the 19th centuries discoveries of such men as the highly controversial Heinrich Schliemann (Troy) and the brilliant but political Arthur Evans (Minoan Crete), it is remarkable how many biblical accounts have been either confirmed or at least rendered markedly more probable by archaeological discoveries.

Nowadays, it seems that genetics is following in those hallowed footsteps!

Beckery Chapel near Glastonbury ‘earliest known UK monastic life’ / OrthoChristian.Com

Skeletons found at a site, said in legend to have been visited by King Arthur, are the oldest example of monks found in the UK, archaeologists say.

Source: Beckery Chapel near Glastonbury ‘earliest known UK monastic life’ / OrthoChristian.Com

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

~ William Blake

This may not be the chapel which legend tells was founded by Joseph of Arimathea, when he brought the Holy Thorn (and perhaps, also, the Holy Grail) to Glastonbury — or, then again, it may be — but it is fascinating nonetheless. This ancient chapel near Glastonbury, linked to the Arthurian traditions, houses skeletons indicating the oldest example of a monastic community thus far found in Britain. That alone makes it pretty awesome!

Tomb Of The King – YouTube

One of the things which struck me with great force as I toured England and Scotland in 1985, and Ireland, England, and Wales in 1990, was the tremendous antiquity in which the very land was steeped. It was awe-inspiring enough to touch Roman brick (!), for person born and raised in a country that things 300 years is “old,” but the heritage of the British Isles goes so much further back than that… I was particularly taken by the barrow-mounds, to which I had been first introduced in fictional form through the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. To actually be face-to-face with true barrows, in all their reality (though without, so far as I know, barrow-wights), was a remarkable experience.

But familiarity breeds contempt, they say; and it was with great sadness that I learned, later in life, that not all in Britain share this American-of-British-ancestry’s passion, respect, and even reverence for a past which reaches back thousands of years, yet retains a strange and mystic continuity with the present. Just as Americans seem to think nothing turning areas of great natural beauty into strip malls or housing developments, it seems that there are interests in Britain that think nothing of driving roads through, or building car-parks on top of, ancient structures that have stood for millennia… including the tombs of prehistoric kings and chieftains.

In this haunting song, Damh the Bard sings of one such barrow. I do not know whether it is intended to be entirely representative, or whether he had a specific site in mind when he wrote it, but either way, he evokes the feelings of sadness and frustration I myself feel when I hear of antiquities — whether ancient Oaks or ancient Barrows — bulldozed for the sake of what we so glibly call “progress.” In hopes that we may someday, as humans, outgrow our childish lack of respect for those who came before, I give you Damh the Bard’s “The Tomb of the King.”