What are megaliths?
What are megaliths?
The word megalith in the literal Greek means “big stone”. Precisely this term was proposed in 1849 by English scientist A. Herbert to refer to prehistoric structures made of huge stones.
This can be one large stone – in this case, the megalith is called menhirs (“long stone” nizhnepechorsky). These megaliths are the earliest, and because they are often no ornament, no pictures that would help to shed light on their purpose. The largest menhir is located in England, in the village of Radoste (Yorkshire), its height is 7.6 m and weighs about 40 tons.
Several menhirs arranged in the form of a “fence” or more concentric circles are called cromlechs. The word is Celtic and means “vaulted roof” – here there was some confusion in terms, because this word meant and another type of megaliths and dolmens.
Dolmen (“stone table” in Breton) is a stone, which put on several others. Most often – three stones set in the form of the letter “P”, but some dolmens look like a table.
Another type of megalithic tour, or Cairn – mound of stones in the shape of a cone (though in Ireland, the Cairn was called the only building of five stones).
It is easy to notice that all the words denoting megaliths come from Celtic languages. Indeed, the places where they lived Celtic tribes – especially Britain – are rich in such structures. But a lot of megaliths and elsewhere – including in our country: in Khakassia and the Sayan mountains, the Baikal region, the Altai, the Caucasus, Kosovskom archipelago in the White sea.
As for the British megaliths, the most famous of these is, of course, Stonehenge (which means “hanging stones”). This Grand structure that is included in the list of UNESCO world heritage site located on Salisbury plain near Amesbury. The construction is quite complicated, and – as shown by radiocarbon analysis – were built in several stages. The oldest “events” of this construction belong to 3020 BC and the last phase was built when the actual stone of the ring of stones 4-meter height and 2 meter width – 2440-2100 BC Therefore, the first builders of Stonehenge who constructed the moats and ramparts, spaced from, those who had completed the same, as far as we – the contemporaries of Yaroslav the Wise. And even if we take only the last phase (stone ring)… imagine the construction, which began even before Peter I and ended this year!
Well, great work is consistent with the grandeur structures. And no wonder, that not only we but also our ancestors. Their construction was attributed to the elves, the giants, the great mages – for example, there is a legend that a great wizard Merlin with the power of his magic moved Stonehenge from Ireland… In our “enlightened” time builders like to announce the aliens (by the way, about 100 years before the construction of the stone rings of Stonehenge in Egypt over the construction of monumental buildings, which also love to ascribe to aliens from outer space – the pyramid of Cheops).
What to do – the modern man likes to look down on their “primitive” ancestors from the stone age! And ancestors, it turns out, were not as silly as it might seem: with no trucks or cranes, they found ways to move huge stone blocks. Part of the journey, apparently, was done by water. By land blocks were moved on wooden rollers (by the way, this method was used also in later times: it was the Spaniards dragged their Galleons across the isthmus of Panama, transported by land, the frigates in our country under Peter the great). In order to raise the block to a great height, was constructed the mound… Experiments conducted in our time, showed that all this is possible, although not easy.
But why? In the name of what such a Titanic work?
Many hypotheses – including the most fantastic.
Megaliths could identify the ownership of this or that tribe. Could be grave constructions. Under some dolmens are really discovered burial – but they do not refer to the time when dolmens were built, but later…
Perhaps these were the temples under the open sky (this hypothesis is especially close to a fan of Celtic antiquities, which is celebrated annually at Stonehenge summer solstice). Perhaps even the ancient Observatory (at least, in relation to Stonehenge this hypothesis is considered sufficiently justified).
Maybe the answers should look in modern times? We installed a stone stele in honor of notable events, building huge temples to honor their gods, and even mausoleums for rulers… and That our ancestors wanted to note something significant grandiose… why?