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Television Media Science

Excavations at Stonehenge May Answer Questions 160

Posted by Zonk
from the not-the-most-up-beat-tourist-attraction dept.
Smivs writes "The BBC are getting set to fund a dig at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. The two-week dig will try to establish, once and for all, some precise dating for the creation of the monument. An article from the BBC news website explains how the dig will investigate the significance of the smaller bluestones that stand inside the giant sarsen pillars. 'Researchers believe these rocks, brought all the way from Wales, hold the secret to the real purpose of Stonehenge as a place of healing. The researchers leading the project are two of the UK's leading Stonehenge experts — Professor Tim Darvill, of the University of Bournemouth, and Professor Geoff Wainwright, of the Society of Antiquaries. They are convinced that the dominating feature on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire was akin to a "Neolithic Lourdes" — a place where people went on a pilgrimage to get cured. Modern techniques have established that many of these people had clearly traveled huge distances to get to south-west England, suggesting they were seeking supernatural help for their ills.'"
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Excavations at Stonehenge May Answer Questions

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  • by jd (1658) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday March 31, 2008 @11:38PM (#22927766) Homepage Journal
    I know, it's the evil site [kuro5hin.org], but you'll find every link I could find from the Timewatch team and the BBC. The Timewatch website gets daily podcats from the dig and hourly news bulletins, so this is no minor event.
  • by jd (1658) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday March 31, 2008 @11:46PM (#22927816) Homepage Journal
    The injuries were inconsistant with Stonehenge-type construction, mostly very standard Neolithic injuries. The skull modifications are known from elsewhere as very primitive surgery with an amazingly high survival rate. They've found evidence of healing from the cranial modifications and they've found the tools used - superior to anything less than modern surgical steel. They also have the settlement where the workforce lived and are able to show that the workers were not the ones buried. Also, the Neolithic people were bigger on stealing magic for their own use than destroying it. This is backed up by the fact that those blue stones were deliberately quarried for Stonehenge (they found the quarry). You don't make an enemy something they can use so that you can destroy it... unless you're from Fox News or SCO. In short, the bloodthirsty theory doesn't hold with the available data.
  • by rts008 (812749) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @12:28AM (#22928042) Journal
    I think he was trying to refer to this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trephining [wikipedia.org].

    Advanced medical procedures do not = advanced knowledge.
    Maybe they drilled the holes to let out the evil spirits affecting the patient...who really knows for sure?
  • by malsdavis (542216) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @07:00AM (#22929338)
    'Average life span' can be extremely misleading due to the high levels of infant mortality which really hit average life span figures hard.

    Even in ancient times there are records of people living to 100 and it wasn't that uncommon for many to live into their 50's, 60's and even 70's. It's just that for everyone who lived to 70, several would also die at an age of only 6 months or so.
  • by electrictroy (912290) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @09:03AM (#22929936)
    The people that settled Europe were likely black or brown, and over time lack-of-exposure to the sun caused their skin to fade to white or pink.

    (Dark-skinned humans would have suffered vitamin C deficits in colder, darker europe, leading to an evolutionary pressure in favor of light-skinned persons who absorbed more light through their skin & survived longer.)

  • by Vellmont (569020) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @10:13AM (#22930406)

    Dark-skinned humans would have suffered vitamin C deficits in colder, darker europe

    It's actually Vitamin D, (the body can't make vitamin C), but otherwise you're completely correct.
  • Re:Just saw... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Random_Goblin (781985) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @10:38AM (#22930590)
    the guardian newspaper has a long and noble tradition of publishing typos

    as such it is refered to by the private eye [private-eye.co.uk] rather amusingly as "the Grauniad".

    In case you are unfamilar with the eye, it is a satirical magazine, at one time owned by Peter Cook, that is best known in the UK for being sued for libel when printing things that later turn out to be completely true about certain politicians
  • Re:It's even worse (Score:3, Informative)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @10:44AM (#22930638)

    And in the USSR, probably half of them were due to Stalin's catastrophic leadership, so they could have been avoided
    No, most of losses in USSR were civilian losses on occupied territories. Military losses don't even come close.

    It's a "little known" fact, but nazis wanted to exterminate Slavic people along with the Jews. For example, in Belarus alone about 3 million people were killed by nazis.

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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