Thursday, 16 April 2015

N is for the Neolithic era, stone tools and stones …



Now the Need to show you some New Stone Age (Neolithic) sites, Standing Stones, Stone Circles and Quoits which will fall under N …

Chapel Carn Brea, near Penzance

So for your dose of Neolithic Cornwall here goes …... the Neolithic period dates from around 4,500 BC to 2,100 BC, when the Bronze Age came in …



10,000 years ago the ice sheets were receding with England once again being re-occupied … Paleolithic Era (Old Stone Age) finds have been evidenced, while Mesolithic sites (Middle Stone Age) have been identified at Dozmary Pool on Bodmin Moor and along parts of the North Cornish Coast.



Dozmary Pool
The New Stone Age (Neolithic) peoples were beginning to settle, had a knowledge of agriculture and built some permanent settlements.  They are known as Tor enclosures … with the best one being at Chapel Carn Brea, St Just (near the Botallack mines).




Lanyon Quoit, near Penzance
Quoits, Stone Circles, Standing Stones and Stone Alignments all appear in the Neolithic era … burial chambers, known as quoits in Cornwall, are called Dolmen, Cromlechs, Portal tombs or graves … these usually have one chamber covered with a capstone, supported by two or more upright stones …



Men An Tol on the Land's End peninsula
(c2,000 BC) .  Many people believe that
passing through the stone will cure ills
and infertility
Monuments such as the Merry Maidens stone circle near Penzance, Men An Tol (Cornish for head stone) on the Land’s End peninsula are examples … the Merry Maidens had pipers piping their dance … but as in my H forHurlers post … they were turned to stone trying to get back in time without breaking the Sabbath …



Wheal Buller, near Redruth
Menhirs (French, from Middle Breton: men, “stone” and hir, “long”) large upright standing stones – these can be singly or as part of a group … and their size varies …


There are plenty of these “megalithic” (big stone) monuments across Cornwall … the quoits probably being used for communal and dynastic burials … the acidic moorland soils tend to destroy organic remains … so finds, which might portray their life style, are not available to us …



Ballowall Barrow, near St Just


Scillonian chamber tombs or entrance graves are another type … but brought over during the late Neolithic period and are only found in West Penwith, west Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.  These tombs have a chamber to which a stone-lined passage leads from the outside. 




Neolithic finds (and possibly some from the Mesolithic era circa 8,000 – 3,500 BC) have been found at St Michael’s Mount, a tidal island accessible by causeway from Marazion, Penzance, Mounts Bay.
 
St Michael's Mount
                                                     

Its name in Cornish Karrek Loos yn Koos means “hoar rock in woodland”.   From radiocarbon dating of hazel wood found on the beach … it has been established the woods in the bay would have been submerged in about 1,700 BC.



Neolithic artefacts
Cornwall is a melting pot of peoples … Celtic, Breton, Welsh, Irish … who can be categorised under the Stone Age, Bronze Age and early Iron Age … the Phoenicians came in later in the Iron Age.




Chysauster from the air


There are Iron Age settlements too – Chysauster and Carn Euny, both near Penzance, being two good examples … but for Now …






That is N for Neolithic, their Needs, their Stone Age sites  …. from Aspects of British Cornish …


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

53 comments:

Zannie Shaman said...

so glad I came upon your A-Z blog by serendipity. I moved to cornwall in 2012 and this is fascinating...will bookmark your page for future delights

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

I want to come to Cornwall right now - I love these types of places. We visited one like Lanyon Quoit when were were in Wales.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

Nilanjana Bose said...

Such a huge sweep of history contained in a relatively small piece of land! Fascinating.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Merry Maidens! What a great name. These stones would have been a real challenge for these ancient people to have moved...

Jean Davis said...

Very interesting! So much history there.

Manzanita said...

A human life time is but a half a blink when compared to all the stages that formed our landscape as we know it today. When I try to think of the changes that slowly evolved with the ages, i have to stop. Time, also as we know it today, won't let my thoughts go there. But it appears that Cornwall recieved a large piece of the most delicious pie.

Eileen T said...

A fascinating theme for the A to Z. I love Cornwall and have bookmarked your blog so that I can pop back to read the rest of the posts when I have more time.

Chrys Fey said...

The New Stone Age was an interesting time. It's always neat to learn about it. Cornwall is so rich in history. Those sites are awesome! I would visit those. :)

Michael Williams said...

Wow! Lots of interesting content . . . almost makes me wish I'd lived in the Neolithic Age! Thanks for all the effort you put into this Hilary.

Jo said...

My two weeks in Cornwall really didn't give me any idea. I went to Land's End but certainly didn't see those stones or any others in Cornwall. I want to come back and do a tour. I don't suppose I ever will now though. Another fascinating post Hilary, thanks.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Wonderful research, as ever. Another period of history that I'd love to use. Closest I've been, so far, is the 700's, a long way to go :0)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Zannie – so pleased you came by .. and that you obviously love Cornwall and have moved there … that’s great you’ll be back to read some more …

@ Tasha – so do I!! I don’t know Wales that well .. but I imagine many similar places exist … especially the standing stones, granite crosses etc ..

@ Nila – yes there is .. and I was only covering the Neolithic era .. we’ve got the next 4,000+ years to come. It is mind boggling isn’t it ..

@ Elizabeth – the Merry Maidens is a great name .. and they’ve sort of worked out how they’d have moved them: the ones in Cornwall – probably not far .. but Stonehenge’s bluestones are believed to have been transported across land for 250 miles – how? Is anyone’s guess .. still it’s been estimated how it could be done by those engineering ‘nerds’ …

@ Jean – there is a lot of history isn’t there ..

@ Manzanita – a human life is as you say a blink in time – compared to so much of our planet. Cornwall does have a great deal to offer …

@ Eileen – so good to see you here .. and that will be wonderful to welcome you back for further visits …

@ Chrys – lots happening as life as we know it started to unfold in those distant days. Cornwall is exceedingly rich in its history .. and would welcome all visitors!!

@ Michael – I have to say I don’t wish I lived in the Neolithic Age way too many stones around!! Appreciate that you enjoy my postings … and I just like to give a decent amount if I’m doing a theme .. it’s long, but c’est la vie …

@ Jo – yes there’s so much down there and living in Penwith – the westerly region - many of these sites were there for us; I hope you can get over .. it’s a good dream!

@ Carole Anne – oh well lots of writing ahead of you before you can use the Neolithic period .. but it’s certainly a good thought isn’t it ..

Thanks to you all for visiting .. cheers Hilary

loverofwords said...

To get your head around the dates and how many years man has been on this earth makes one feel very small indeed. Another tantalizing bit of history, Hilary.

Out on the prairie said...

Amazing all of this has lasted.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

The stone circles and standing stones are quite amazing.

Stephen Tremp said...

Hilary, you have one of the best themes and posts for A to Z. I love taking these trips through time and learning much about history of not only Cornwell but the surrounding area. And I don;t even need to fire up my wormhole in the garage to do so.

mail4rosey said...

I would like to visit Cornwall. I find the placed deemed melting pots are often my favorite.

Lisa said...

I would love to visit all of these places. I wrote a series based on the stories of three Celtic Monarchs who reigned during the Roman invasion of the islands, much much later of course than this period, but while doing the research for those novels, the Neolithic history of the UK took me in and I fell in love! Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

Gwen Gardner said...

This is so cool, Hilary. I got to see a dolmen in Ireland. Back when you were able to close. Probably can't do that now, though. Fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

Untethered Realms

D.G. Hudson said...

This is another part of history that I find interesting, why all the stones, and how were they moved and arranged? I'm reading Gabaldon, who writes about Scotland mostly but her heroine travelled back in time via a circle of stones. . .The first book 'Outlander' is where it begins.
Superb information, Hilary!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

If could but scan down the ages and see the panorama of the ages in the very spot on which we stand, it would humble us and encourage us to seize the day, right? I love your photos for this post. :-)

Guilie Castillo said...

Early civilization has always fascinated me--huge fan of Clan of the Cave Bear (the first book... the others were crappy, except for the research). This was super interesting, Hilary, and added a few musts to that one-day-I'll trip to Cornwall ;)

Thanks for the visit over at Quiet Laughter earlier--so glad you enjoyed the nèchi post :)

Susan Scott said...

Lovely post Hilary thank you so much! My interest just grows and grows. I think you'd better warn Cornwall that the A-Zers will be along in droves, soon.

Sara C. Snider said...

I didn't know there were so many different names for burial chambers. "Portal tomb" sounds particularly interesting. ;)

So much wonderful history!

Joanne said...

so much history and great pics. I love the word quoits - perfect for scrabble. Nice post

Sunday Visitor said...

I <3 your choice of word for N, being a student of History, the Neolithic period has always fascinated me.

cleemckenzie said...

It just gives me the chills (in an exciting way) to see these ancient stones and think about the hands that set them in place. What a long human chain from past to present.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Another amazing blog. Chysauster from the air looks absolutely fascinating. You have so many places I never heard of...

Thanks so much for visiting my blog and for your lovely comments!

TexWisGirl said...

so very cool to have these ancient heritage sites!

Tara Tyler R said...

so going back and visiting previous letters...
I - Europeans are so lucky to have so many diverse cultures and scenic views in such close proximity! Would love to visit the Isles in the Med.
J - Jynjy? Love this word!
K - Funny how names originate - Kernow!
M - Museums! and sites - love the Merry Maidens, hope to see them some day!
And I never knew there was an actual Penzance! I thought it was just a musical =)
happy a to z-ing

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

So interesting to see how people came and went, moving with the weather and making homes in all kinds of places.

David P. King said...

I used to study stone tools for anthropology. Amazing what you can make with a few rocks. :)

Bob Scotney said...

You keep adding to my bucket list, Hilary.

Deborah Weber said...

This is simply fascinating and each of your posts reinforces my increasing desire to visit Cornwall for a very extended period.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What's really impressive is that some of the stones were also moved a great distance.

Suzanne Sapsed said...

Hi Hilary, really weird, but I know I commented on a couple of your other posts but they've vanished - bet I forgot to press submit LOL!

I have always had a fascination for stone circles, Glastonbury and Avebury are on my bucket list :) x

Sophie Duncan said...

I lived in Chippenham, which was not very far from Avebury where I enjoyed visiting and I made my family drive all the way up from North Yorkshire when we were on holiday to Penrith to go to the Castlerigg stone circle - I rather like stone circles and I must go visit the ones in Cornwall.
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
FB3X
Wittegen Press

Jeffrey Scott said...

Great information again.
That one stone kind of looks like the gateway from Star Trek.

Shine Kapoor said...

Wow, such a well researched piece. Enlightened.
Do drop by >> http://blog.shinekapoor.com/

Nick Wilford said...

Lifting those stones was no mean feat back then. Thousands of years later they're still standing. I remember going to St Michael's Mount on holiday as a kid, didn't realise it had been inhabited from so early.

samantha mozart said...

Absolutely fascinating, Hilary. Thank you for this edifying post and photos.

From what I've seen and read, Cornwall must be a beautiful place -- wild and romantic, to my imaginative mind. I can stand on the cliff and let the salty sea breeze blow through my hair.

I have connected with you via Susan Scott's Garden of Eden Blog. Nice to meet you on the A-Zs.

Samantha Mozart
http://thescheherazadechronicles.org

Julie Flanders said...

That picture of St. Michael's Mount is gorgeous and also a little eerie.
So amazing to think of all the time that has passed and how much the world has changed and those stones are still standing.

Maria said...

You're lucky these places are close to your home! I would like to see the Lanyon Quoit and the Merry Maidens.

KAT Writer said...

I'm amazed at all these sites that exist and all we ever hear about is Stonehenge.

Clarabelle Rant said...

I LOVE ancient history, so standing stones tickle my mystery fancy. The circle stone just blows my mind. How did they do that?

You can find me here:
ClarabelleRant

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nat – I know – the dates of yore always make one sit and up think .. I like to put them in – so we can all relate.

@ OOTP – granite lasts!

@ Teresa – yes I quite agree – amazing!

@ Stephen – many thanks – nope I’ll carry you along those ancient tracks with me … no garage wormholes needed here – but we have plenty of worms too ..

@ Rosey – I hope you can get over sometime .. there is a lot to see

@ Lisa – I hope next time you’re over .. perhaps you’ll get to Cornwall; your stories about the Celtic Monarchs reigning during the Roman times must have entailed lots of research .. as too going back further in time .. as here.

@ Gwen – yes there are dolmens around Europe, but I’m glad you got to visit one in Ireland. We can get quite close now .. it’s the popular sights – they block the public off (understandably) …

@ DG – we don’t know the “why the stones”, or the “how they were moved or arranged” .. they’ve guessed how the stones were moved from Wales to Stonehenge (250 miles) … but we just don’t know. I’ve looked up the Outlander series (the first one is CrossStitch here) … that will be for Christmas!

@ Roland – yes … sometimes just floating above our earth and seeing what’s happened in the past would be fascinating and a great talent (?!) to have … seize the day = too right. So pleased the photos fit ..

@ Guilie – those very early days are to interesting to think about and work out … I haven’t heard of Clan of the Cave Bear – but I’ll check it out. I hope you can get over and see our Cornish lands ..

@ Susan – that’s wonderful and I’m so looking forward to hearing your itinerary etc !! Well it’s good Cornwall will have more visitors .. especially in September!

@ Sara – the names are acquired over the centuries, as they are found and investigated … “Portal Tomb” does sound fascinating .. but I suspect it’s a simple tomb … and yes lots of history ..

@ Joanne – glad you picked up the Quoits .. more on those anon …

@ Sunday Visitor – delighted to see you .. and am so pleased you enjoyed the post and history …

@ Lee – yes your description is such a good one …hands through the eras … and who was there, what did they do exactly etc … what did they think …

@ Monti – it’s a pleasure to visit and see your art works .. Chysauster is a great iron age fort … Cornwall in many ways if off the beaten track, yet was so much the centre for marauders ..

@ Theresa – we are lucky with our history ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Tara – thanks for going back … you’re right the Continent makes a huge difference to us and we can get to see other areas with different cultures. Jynjy – is a fun word isn’t it; Kernow too … Museums – plenty of those …

… and yes my mother lived in Penzance for 40 years or so … her family came from St Ives …

@ Susan – there’s a surprising amount of movement –which as you say until we stop and think … we forget how far our ancestors travelled.

@ David – what a fascinating subject to have studied … and yes I’ve been to a couple of lectures on stone tools and see how they did things …

@ Bob – sorry … but hope the bucket still has space for more?

@ Deborah – good to see you .. and I do hope you can get to Cornwall at some stage for a good long visit …

@ Alex – I’m not sure the Cornish ones were … but the Stonehenge ones in Wiltshire came from Wales … which is only a mere 250 miles!!

@ Suzanne – oh I’m sorry about the lost comments – and yes it’s usually the little things where the mistakes are made! I do it too sometimes and get so frustrated …

I hope you can get down to Glastonbury and Avebury in the not too distant future .. I really need to go in that direction too ..

@ Sophie – yes Chippenham is near Avebury isn’t it. Crossing the country from Yorkshire to Cumbria is not an easy route, we used to do it the other way occasionally … I see the Castlerigg Ring is considered one of our better Stone Circles … I must read more about it: thanks for letting us know. That’s great if you visit Cornwall to see the stone circles …

@ Jeffrey – thanks … and the reference to Star Trek is a fun one …

@ Shine Kapoor – good to meet you .. and I’m glad you enjoyed the post …

@ Nick – I know putting the stones into place would be a mean feat, let alone moving them … even if only a short distance. I hadn’t realised they’d found those ancient remains on St Michael’s mount … the Bay would have had lots of life in it too – before the floods came …

@ Samantha – lovely to meet you and see you’ve come via Susan’s blog – thank you. Certainly there are plenty of hill tops to be windswept over … I’ve done that many a time …and the salty sea breeze does blow. So pleased you enjoyed this post …

@ Julie – yes I rather liked that photo of St Michael’s Mount for the reasons you’ve mentioned … eerie, as well as gorgeous. Cornwall is off the beaten track to a point (well was!) …

@ Maria – we are lucky with our history … as it is fascinating and has been well researched over time … Lanyon Quoit is one of our favourites and we go past the Merry Maidens quite often too ..

@ Kat – there’s a few well known sites apart from Stonehenge – Avebury … while the Scottish Stones have had a resurgence in recent years … check out the visit Scotland standing-stone site.

@ Clarabelle – that’s fantastic you’re enjoying this ancient history .. and reading that the standing stones send your mind off into mysterious story land!

I don’t know about the circle – the logical conclusion that I can draw …. Is that the centre piece of the stone was another type of geology – a softer rock that over time wore away … there is another holed stone, but it’s in private hands in a garden …

Cheers everyone and thanks so much .. I wondered if Neolithic would interest you .. and obviously it does! Delighted to see that … such a pleasure to see you all and meet new friends - Hilary

J Hanna said...

It would be fun to visit all of these ancient sites. What a great history lesson that would be for kids who live near these places.

Empty Nest Insider said...

It is amazing how they were able to lift some of these stones. Hilary, The Merry Maidens story was the ultimate punishment.

Julie

J Lenni Dorner said...

I am loving the stones!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ JH - well I hope you can get over and visit some of these sites and places. Thank you - at least it opens the door for them to find out more .. and there is lots more to be told ...

@ Julie - no-one's really worked out how they moved the stones ... they did test moving Stonehenge's stones from Wales to their Wiltshire site - so it was possible using the tools they would have had available ...

... and isn't the Merry Maidens story the ultimate punishment - I think you got it right there!

@ J - glad you're happy reading about the Stones ...

Thanks so much - cheers Hilary

Michelle Wallace said...

Hi Hilary
I'm here on my 'lurking expedition'
So much history... and I love the stones and their fascinating stories.
Think about it: time passes... the world changes but those stones are still there... faithful & upright.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Michelle - thanks so much for lurking often! And commenting ... yes I know much does change, but some things just stick around - thank goodness for the earth and all our planet offers us ... cheers Hilary