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prehistoric fun


I’m still officially on holiday (back to work tomorrow and an hour short on sleep, hurrah) but here’s something fun for you to play with: it’s a map of prehistoric sites in Britain.

We’re in the Southeasternmost whole square, a territory we share with London (stupid London always bigfoots all over our local news headlines) and, from the top map, it looks like there’s nothing here. But those black dots are just megaliths. If you click our map square, we have plenty of forts, sacred wells, barrows and tombs.

It is all, needless to say, impossibly cool. And makes all the housing construction in this area — mostly to accommodate immigration — doubly tragic.

Oh, dammit, I went there and sucked the fun out of it.


Comment from Ric Fan
Time: March 28, 2016, 9:00 pm

I’ve been watching those archaeology shows for decades. My favorite was the late great Robin Bush and his sacred pools.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: March 28, 2016, 10:12 pm

Ran across this yesterday.

While it is not in Britain, it is in Northern Europe. They have found grisly evidence of a previously unknown large civilization that fought a battle near the Baltic. The implications of the size of the army, and how it was equipped, and the fact that it apparently was NOT locals based on nitrogen isotope analysis and the first DNA results means there was a lot of history in the midst of what we had considered pre-history.


One or more civilizations that big had to have had some sort of influence on ancient Britain.

Comment from Nina
Time: March 29, 2016, 1:28 am

This is why I want to go back, and back, and back!

Comment from Nina
Time: March 29, 2016, 1:59 am

Subo, that’s a great link, thanks! Shared on the book of faces.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: March 29, 2016, 1:02 pm

I know the British have had a long time to compile the information about these historical sites, but I am still in awe by the amount of work it took.

Comment from Clifford Skridlow
Time: March 29, 2016, 2:53 pm

Congrats, Stoatie, on being selected as quote of the day yesterday at Ace of Spades!

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: March 29, 2016, 3:49 pm

Ancient History taught back in the day told you about the Romans, and not much else. Ok, maybe the Greeks and the Egyptians. Ok, Persians, Huns and Franks. Celts, Mongols, Indians, Chinese, Kardashians, no sorry might be Cartageagainnians. so it gradually dawns on you that there were a lot more people in a lot more places than just what you read about in Ancient History.

I’m still not clear on this, are Macedonians Greek or not?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 29, 2016, 5:01 pm

Holy cow, Clifford Sridlow! And first quote of the day, at that!

I have a real thing about that, Skandia. I have serious Roman fatigue. I resent the way classical scholarship so dominated academia, right up into the 20th C, that the ancient Britons were hardy studied at all. They were like figures of embarrassment.

Part of that is because they sadly didn’t leave written records, so we know almost nothing about them that we don’t pick out of baffling archaeological clues.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: March 29, 2016, 5:31 pm

mosaic floors vs post hole stains in dirt — no contest. Plus, ancient Brits wore plaid pants!

Comment from mojo
Time: March 29, 2016, 5:56 pm

“Of the travails suffered by the proto-Vikings that later became ‘Rus’, history speaks not.”

Comment from mojo
Time: March 29, 2016, 5:58 pm

Sorry about the Germanic construction, been reading Tolkien again.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: March 29, 2016, 8:39 pm

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: March 29, 2016, 3:49 pm

Pretty sure that then and now they don’t consider Macedonians to be Greeks. They adopted Greek culture, but were separate.

The interactions between ancient peoples are still affecting us now. Mojo mentioned the Rus. They were the Varangian Rus, basically Vikings. They settled in Kiev, conquering the locals and creating what was the first dominant “Russian” entity. They evolved, eventually became Orthodox Christian, and had the beginnings of democracy. The Veche or council had the power to order the Prince of Kiev out of Kievan territory by sundown. And used it a few times.

The evolution changed when my namesake, Subotai, and the Mongol Khan’s son Juche arrived. Mongol doctrine was that if a city surrendered, it was basically left alone, with pretty much the same people in charge and culture left alone. If it resisted, it was destroyed and enslaved. Kievan sticks, stones, and icons were no match for Mongol Cavalry.

After the conquest of Russia, the way the Mongols ran things in the West was every decade or so calling the princes of the various cities to Sarai. There they had a competition, basically to promise to do the best job of oppressing all Russians for the benefit of the Khan. And the named overlord ran things for the Mongols. The Princes of Muscovy were the best at oppressing their own people for the benefit of foreign oppressors. And became pre-eminent in Russia, and downright autocratic. And all the modern historical interaction with Russia is based on their culture evolving that way.

History goes back a long way, and most is not known in the West. I collect Chinese coins. My oldest coin is from the State of Lu at the time of Confucius. This was one of the states before China was first unified. A lot of history, totally unknown to the West.

History is the story of how we became what we are, with influences from everywhere. The newly discovered culture in Northern Europe, at one remove or another, has to have affected Britain, to one extent or another.

Comment from Gnusman
Time: March 29, 2016, 11:06 pm

Yer Stoatliness,
You might appreciate Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Tales. The author has done his research, and where he strays from history he tells you where, and why, and how. The main character, Uhtred of Bebbanburgh existed and is a far-distant relative of Mr. Cornwell.

Lots of blood and gore. Not for the faint of heart, and if the depiction of life in the late 800s is close to the reality, I’ll just stay a thoroughly modern man, thank you very much.

If not your cup of tea, Uncle badger might like the books.

Almost forgot – Cornwell is the author of the Sharpe’s Rifles series of books.

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