Σάββατο, 2 Ιανουαρίου 2016

Prehistoric greek megalithic monuments across the globe

Cyclopean masonry is a type of stonework found in Mycenaean architecture, built with massive limestone boulders, roughly fitted together with minimal clearance between adjacent stones and no use of mortar. The boulders typically seem unworked, but some may have been worked roughly with a hammer and the gaps between boulders filled in with smaller chunks of limestone. The most famous examples of Cyclopean masonry are found in the walls of Mycenae and Tiryns, and the style is characteristic of Mycenaean fortifications. Similar styles of stonework are found in other cultures and the term has come to be used to describe typical stonework of this sort. The term comes from the belief of classical Greeks that only the mythical Cyclopes had the strength to move the enormous boulders that made up the walls of Mycenae and Tiryns. Pliny'sNatural History reported the tradition attributed to Aristotle, that the Cyclopes were the inventors of masonry towers, giving rise to the designation Cyclopean. The walls are usually founded in extremely shallow beddings carved out of the bedrock. 'Cyclopean', the term normally applied to the masonry style characteristic of Mycenaean fortification systems, describes walls built of huge, unworked limestone boulders which are roughly fitted together. Between these boulders, smaller hunks of limestone fill the interstices. The exterior faces of the large boulders may be roughly hammer-dressed, but the boulders themselves are never carefully cut blocks. Very large boulders are typical of the Mycenaean walls at Mycenae, Tiryns, Argos, Krisa (in Phocis), and the Athenian Acropolis. Somewhat smaller boulders occur in the walls of Midea, whereas large limestone slabs are characteristic of the walls at Gla. Cut stone masonry is used only in and around gateways, conglomerate at Mycenae and Tiryns and perhaps both conglomerate and limestone at Argos.
A megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. The word "megalithic" describes structures made of such large stones, utilizing an interlocking system without the use of mortar or concrete, as well as representing periods of prehistory characterised by such constructions. For later periods the term monolith, with an overlapping meaning, is more likely to be used. The word "megalith" comes from the Ancient Greek "μέγας" (transl. megas meaning "great") and "λίθος" (lithos meaning "stone"). Megalith also denotes an item consisting of rock(s) hewn in definite shapes for special purposes.t has been used to describe buildings built by people from many parts of the world living in many different periods. A variety of large stones are seen as megaliths, with the most widely known megaliths not being sepulchral. The construction of these structures took place mainly in the Neolithic (though earlier Mesolithic examples are known) and continued into the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age. At a number of sites in eastern Turkey, large ceremonial complexes from the 9th millennium BC have been discovered. They belong to the incipient phases of agriculture and animal husbandry. Large circular structures involving carved megalithic orthostats are a typical feature; e.g. at Nevalı Çori and Göbekli Tepe. Although these structures are the most ancient megalithic structures known so far, it is not clear that any of the European Megalithic traditions (see below) are actually derived from them. At Göbekli Tepe, four stone circles have been excavated from an estimated 20. Some measure up to 30 metres across. As well as human figures, the stones carry a variety of carved reliefs depicting boars, foxes, lions, birds, snakes and scorpions. Dolmens and standing stones have been found in large areas of the Middle East starting at the Turkish border in the north of Syria close to Aleppo, southwards down to Yemen. They can be encountered in Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The largest concentration can be found in southern Syria and along the Jordan Rift Valley, however they are being threatened with destruction. They date from the late Chalcolithic/Early Bronze Age. Megaliths have also been found on Kharg Island in Iran and at Barda Balka in Iraq. Megalithic burials are found in Northeast and Southeast Asia. They are found mainly in the Korean Peninsula. They are also found in the Liaoning, Shandong, and Zhejiang in China, the East Coast of Taiwan , Kyūshū and Shikoku in Japan, Đồng Nai Province in Vietnam and parts of Pakistan and India. Some living megalithic traditions are found on the island of Sumba and Niasin Indonesia. The greatest concentration of megalithic burials is in Korea. Archaeologists estimate that there are 15,000 to 100,000 southern megaliths in the Korean Peninsula. Typical estimates hover around the 30,000 mark for the entire peninsula, which in itself constitutes some 40% of all dolmens worldwide (Dolmen). The Indonesian archipelago is the host of Austronesian megalith cultures both past and present. Living megalith cultures can be found on Nias, an isolated island off the western coast of North Sumatra, the Batak people in the interior of North Sumatra, on Sumba island in East Nusa Tenggara and also Toraja people from the interior of South Sulawesi. These megalith cultures remained preserved, isolated and undisturbed well into the late 19th century. Megaliths occur in many parts of Melanesia, mainly in Milne Bay Province, Fiji and Vanuatu. Few excavations has been made and little is known about the structures. The megalith tomb Otuyam at Kiriwina has been dated to be approximately 2000 years old which indicates that megaliths are an old custom in Melanesia. The megalithic structures of Malta are believed to be the oldest in Europe, in particular Skorba Temple. Though generally known as dolmens, the correct term accepted by archaeologists is portal tomb. However many local names exist, such as anta in Galicia and Portugal, stazzone in Sardinia, hunebed in the Netherlands, Hünengrab in Germany , dysse in Denmark, and cromlech in Wales. It is assumed that most portal tombs were originally covered by earthen mounds. The second-most-common tomb type is the passage grave. It normally consists of a square, circular, or cruciform chamber with a slabbed or corbelled roof, accessed by a long, straight passageway, with the whole structure covered by a circular mound of earth. Sometimes it is also surrounded by an external stone kerb. Prominent examples include the sites of Brú na Bóinne and Carrowmore in Ireland, Maes Howe in Orkney, and Gavrinis in France.
An assembly of huge stone slabs found in Egypt's Sahara Desert that date from about 6,500 years to 6,000 years ago has been confirmed by scientists to be the oldest known astronomical alignment of megaliths in the world. Known as Nabta, the site consists of a stone circle, a series of flat, tomb-like stone structures and five lines of standing and toppled megaliths. Located west of the Nile River in southern Egypt, Nabta predates Stonehenge and similar prehistoric sites around the world by about 1,000 years, said University of Colorado at Boulder astronomy Professor J. McKim Malville. The ruins lie on the shoreline of an ancient lake that began filling with water about 11,000 years ago when the African summer monsoon shifted north. It was used by nomads until about 4,800 years ago, when the monsoon moved southwest and the area again became "hyperarid and uninhabitable." Neolithic herders that began coming to Nabta about 10,000 years ago used cattle in their rituals just as the African Massai do today, he said. No human remains have yet been found at Nabta. Although some believe the "high culture" of subsequent Egyptian dynasties was borrowed from Mesopotamia and Syria, Malville and others believe the complex and symbolic Nabta culture may have stimulated the growth of the society that eventually constructed the first pyramids along the Nile about 4,500 years ago. Mysterious ruins in Zimbabwe, nearly brushed this week by the shadow of a total solar eclipse, once served as an astronomical observatory to track eclipses, solstices and an elusive exploding star, a South African scientist said. The Great Enclosure in the archaeological site of Great Zimbabwe, a crumbling ring of stone walls and platforms about 250 meters in circumference, was thought to have been a palace complex for regional rulers some 800 years ago. But Richard Wade of the Nkwe Ridge Observatory thinks that the enclosure was used in a similar capacity as the much older Stonehenge in Great Britain. The arrangement of the walls, the complicated symbols on stone monoliths and the position of a tall tower suggest that medieval Zimbabweans used the complex to track the moon, sun, planets and stars for centuries. "The importance of Great Zimbabwe is that it was the capital of the only known sub-Saharan African Empire that lasted almost 1,000 years. Everyone in southern Africa somehow relates to this nucleus cultural complex," Wade said. Several of the stone monoliths, for example, line up with certain bright stars in the constellation Orion as they rise on the morning of the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice. Another contains markings that coincide with orbital patterns of Earth and Venus, which could be used to forecast eclipses, Wade said. In his most controversial position, Wade suggests that a tower at the complex, whose purpose has baffled historians, was probably built to observe an exploding star in roughly 1300 AD. "This large conical tower in the great enclosure stands directly in line with the rising supernova remnant when seen from the observation platform and court area of the time," Wade wrote in a paper to be submitted to the journals Science and Scientific American. "They requested that I send the work on completion," he said. "I have been peer reviewed now for almost four years and only recently have I received a nod from the South African science community." Modern telescope observations indicate that a supernova lit up the sky at approximately the same time. Historic records make no mention of it, an omission that does not surprise Wade since the dying star appeared over the Southern Hemisphere, which at the time had virtually no literate cultures. But oral legends in the region lend credence to the supernova idea, Wade said. The Sena people of Zimbabwe hold that their ancestors migrated from the north by following an unusually bright star in the southern skies. Wassu Stone Circles Senegal. Between Wassau and Kau-Ur lay the mysterious Stone Circles. These circles to this day remain an anthropological and archeologically puzzle. Experts think that the stone circles are the only remaining evidence of an old unknown African civilisation. The circles remind us a bit of Stonehenge in Scotland, but it is not certain if these circles are in line with the solar circulation. No archaeological excavations have been made because the Village Chiefs think a curse will descent on everybody if the holy circles are disturbed.
Πηγή: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclopean_masonry

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