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Weird Rock Carvings Puzzle Archaeologists
New Scientist ^ | 10-9-2003

Posted on 10/09/2003 11:44:15 AM PDT by blam

Weird rock carvings puzzle archaeologists

17:34 09 October 03

NewScientist.com news service

The concave spherical shapes, about 20cm across, may have been cut with metal tools (Image: North News and Pictures)

Mysterious rock carvings engraved into strange shapes are baffling UK archaeologists. One resembles a heart, another a human footprint.

Aron Mazel and Stan Beckensall, who stumbled across the unusual carvings close to England's border with Scotland, believe they are the first such designs to have been discovered in the UK.

"We have absolutely no idea what they are," says Mazel, an archaeologist at the University of Newcastle. "They are nothing like anything we, or anybody else we have talked to, have seen before." He believes the carvings were not created recently - in the last 15 to 20 years - and could be as ancient as 3000 years old.

This lichen-covered rock carving resembles a heart (Image: North News and Pictures)

The researchers were alerted to the etchings on an isolated boulder by a farm worker, while they were investigating the well-known "cup and ring" rock art in Northumberland. These prehistoric etchings have been found across the UK, and are particularly abundant in the county.

Stone pick axes

"The carvings we have found before - cup and ring - dated back to the Neolithic Bronze Age and were probably done by early farmers," Mazel told New Scientist. They were hacked into rock faces using stone pick axes.

But the new-found carvings are "very different", he says. "They are sharper on one hand, but also quite smooth." Metal tools are likely to have been required to make them.

"Also, the imagery reflected in the carvings are very different," Mazel says. "They are elliptical shapes, and something which looks like a footprint, and a heart."

Mazel and Beckensall are puzzled by their discovery and have consulted experts in the field such as English Heritage, but no one has been able to shed any light.

"We are keen to draw people's attention to them - seeing the pictures of the markings may prompt somebody to come forward with new information, perhaps relating to similar rock art samples they have viewed elsewhere," says Beckensall.

Shaoni Bhattacharya


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: archaeologists; carvings; godsgravesglyphs; puzzle; rock; toolmaking; tools; tooltime; weird

1 posted on 10/09/2003 11:44:16 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam
He believes the carvings were not created recently - in the last 15 to 20 years - and could be as ancient as 3000 years old.
**

I'm not impressed with his dating skills then!
2 posted on 10/09/2003 11:47:57 AM PDT by Bigg Red (Take only as directed.)
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To: blam
a heart? Looks more like an attempt at a deer footprint.
3 posted on 10/09/2003 11:48:19 AM PDT by SengirV
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To: All
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4 posted on 10/09/2003 11:48:46 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: Bigg Red
Re your screen name: Are you a craps shooter?
5 posted on 10/09/2003 11:50:21 AM PDT by eastsider
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To: blam
One of them looks like the Playboy bunny symbol to me.
6 posted on 10/09/2003 11:50:38 AM PDT by Blue Screen of Death (,/i)
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To: blam
Look! Here's another one.

Looks at least 3000 years old.

7 posted on 10/09/2003 11:50:53 AM PDT by CougarGA7 (Under penalty of law: Tag is to be removed only by consumer.)
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To: blam
The bottom one looks like a Playboy Bunny logo.
8 posted on 10/09/2003 11:51:22 AM PDT by KellyAdmirer
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To: blam
I would be looking for evidence of an old acidic spring myself.
9 posted on 10/09/2003 11:51:28 AM PDT by Old Professer (Spelling Police called back for emergency duty, again.)
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To: blam

10 posted on 10/09/2003 11:53:38 AM PDT by B Knotts (<== Just Another 'Right-Wing Crazy')
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To: blam
He believes the carvings were not created recently - in the last 15 to 20 years - and could be as ancient as 3000 years old.

Meanwhile, a blue police box was observed nearby....

11 posted on 10/09/2003 11:58:25 AM PDT by Jonah Hex (kittens are only dangerous if you're a 'Rat.)
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To: Blue Screen of Death
So did I
12 posted on 10/09/2003 11:59:58 AM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Rush agrees with me 98.5 % of the time.)
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To: blam
Could a thermite bomb do that?
13 posted on 10/09/2003 12:01:07 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: blam
Well if you ask me, it looks like a case where somebody used the boulder to sharpen a blade....
14 posted on 10/09/2003 12:01:31 PM PDT by r9etb
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To: blam
That second picture looks like the Playboy bunny to me.
15 posted on 10/09/2003 12:05:31 PM PDT by CaptRon
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To: RightWhale; Old_Professor
"Could a thermite bomb do that?"

Edges are too sharp. I like the old professor's suggestion of an acid etching. I expect it would require a mold though.

16 posted on 10/09/2003 12:06:28 PM PDT by blam
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To: All
Why do they INSIST that it is OLD. The rock is old. Who the hell knows how old the carvings are. Even if they were carved out with stone tools, it still proves nothing and remains only an opinion for getting MONEY for additional studies. Is the obsession CARVINGS or MONEY??
17 posted on 10/09/2003 12:08:58 PM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: PatrickHenry; VadeRetro; Piltdown_Woman; RadioAstronomer
Thought y'all might like an afternoon mystery...
18 posted on 10/09/2003 12:09:39 PM PDT by Junior (Killed a six pack ... just to watch it die.)
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Dislodged river rocks.
19 posted on 10/09/2003 12:11:31 PM PDT by Consort
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To: Jonah Hex
Heh heh, the TARDIS. Good one.
20 posted on 10/09/2003 12:15:56 PM PDT by akorahil
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To: blam
These are sacred places where prehistoric people with strange brain disorders
came to bang their heads against rock walls. Wearing these deep skull shaped
divots into the rock.

People with the same brain disorders today are known as Democrats.

CB^o

21 posted on 10/09/2003 12:17:09 PM PDT by Cyber Ninja (His legacy is a stain on the dress.)
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To: Consort
The concave spaces were used to mill rye flour.

People in rural areas are not connoisseurs of art nowadays, and in earlier, much hungrier times were probably not interested in creating masterpieces anymore than rural farmers from Kansas are today.

Some people milled with a two-handed method using vertical strokes, others used big pestles and rotated. The two handed method would explain the "heart shape" (right). 3000 years ago Socrates wasn't even born, and he was the smartest guy in the world up until then... even he thought that the liver was where our intelligence resided. But these starving rural farmers probably had it all figured out and were trying to communicate it to us...

But I'm not really sure. Perhaps you should all send me money so I could study this further... a million or two should do...

When I'm done with this, I'll study crop-circles.

22 posted on 10/09/2003 12:24:23 PM PDT by Bon mots
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To: blam
"The carvings we have found before - cup and ring - dated back to the Neolithic Bronze Age and were probably done by early farmers," Mazel told New Scientist. They were hacked into rock faces using stone pick axes.

Incorrect! The Neolithic Bronze Age carvings look more like this:


23 posted on 10/09/2003 12:36:38 PM PDT by SirChas
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To: Junior
Looks like a stone age brassiere.
24 posted on 10/09/2003 12:37:42 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (Everything good that I have done, I have done at the command of my voices.)
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To: blam
Similar in view to milling stones used by Natives in Northern California. The Indians used to use large granite stones to sharpen weapons, mill corn, and create tools. Some of these, large and small, vertical and horizontal, can be found readily in the protected areas along the American River near Coloma.
25 posted on 10/09/2003 12:44:33 PM PDT by BlueNgold (Feed the Tree .....)
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To: blam
Throughout the southwest there are similar indentations in the live rock.

The hemispherical one is used with a loose stone to grind grain.

The thinner ones are similar to straightening grooves for straightening shafts or making other tools, needles and awls.

The boulder has been turned on its side and formerly was upright.
26 posted on 10/09/2003 12:50:32 PM PDT by bert (Don't Panic!)
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To: bert
One can find matates and manos all over West Texas and New Mexico. Probably other places too.
27 posted on 10/09/2003 12:53:57 PM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: SengirV
I thought rabbit ears, myself. Also the edges of the carvings look too sharp to have undergone much weathering. That's a very northerly climate given to pretty severe weather. I don't know how long it would take lichen to grow on the surface of the indentations, but I'd venture to guess the carvings are not much older than that length of time.
28 posted on 10/09/2003 12:54:38 PM PDT by Wolfstar (NO SECURITY = NO ECONOMY)
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To: B Knotts
Gee, they look like bunny ears to me.
29 posted on 10/09/2003 12:57:13 PM PDT by mewzilla
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To: OnTheDress
People with the same brain disorders today are known as Democrats.

Thanks for the belly laugh. Now I can go to lunch with a goofy grin on my face. :-)

30 posted on 10/09/2003 12:57:34 PM PDT by Wolfstar (NO SECURITY = NO ECONOMY)
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To: Bon mots
The concave spaces were used to mill rye flour.

I don't know how you can be sure it was rye, but milling with stone pestles seems to me the most probable explanation. These stories always amuse me because they talk about "metal tools" being used and don't identify what kind of rock is involved. There are a few very soft types of rock that can be carved with metal but most stone is much harder than metal, especially any metals available long ago. Many people today think steel is harder than rock. Try a steel chisel on seriously hard rock like basalt or granite and get back to me with your report. And remember that steel is a relatively recent invention.

31 posted on 10/09/2003 12:57:39 PM PDT by Bernard Marx
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To: blam

32 posted on 10/09/2003 12:57:44 PM PDT by Spruce
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To: Sacajaweau
...and remains only an opinion for getting MONEY for additional studies.

Archaelogy 101: How to Shake the Money Tree.

33 posted on 10/09/2003 12:58:57 PM PDT by mewzilla
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To: Wolfstar
Thanks for the belly laugh. Now I can go to lunch with a goofy grin on my face. :-)

You’re welcome. Happy people digest their food better.

CB^))

34 posted on 10/09/2003 2:03:35 PM PDT by Cyber Ninja (His legacy is a stain on the dress.)
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To: blam
Here's a weird rock carving in danger of being crushed by a dwarf:

35 posted on 10/09/2003 2:14:14 PM PDT by DryFly
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To: Bon mots
"People in rural areas are not connoisseurs of art nowadays, and in earlier, much hungrier times were probably not interested in creating masterpieces anymore than rural farmers from Kansas are today."

Kansas Art

36 posted on 10/09/2003 2:23:07 PM PDT by blam
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To: eastsider
No, I know nothing about craps. Please explain the significance.
37 posted on 10/09/2003 8:19:44 PM PDT by Bigg Red (Take only as directed.)
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To: Bigg Red
Craps players, like baseball fans, are a superstitious lot. One of their superstitions is that it's bad luck to say the number "7" outloud at the table, especially during the point cycle, because it will cause the shooter to "7 Out" (not "Crap Out," contrary to popular belief).

Tied for the absolute worst bet in the casino is a bet called "Any Seven," with true odds of 5-1 but an actual payoff of 4-1, giving the house a whopping 16.67% vigorish! (As you can see from the accompanying craps layout, the casinos have a penchant for drawing the players' attention to sucker bets by printing them in red letters against a green-felt background -- I mention this because if you should ever find yourslef at a craps table and get suckered in, the very least you should know is that red means STOP!!!)

Anyway, when the whack jobs who choose to play the "Any Seven" call out their bet to the stickman, rather than shout out the dreaded "S" word, they call for a bet on "Big Red" instead.



Craps Layout

38 posted on 10/10/2003 7:04:04 AM PDT by eastsider
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To: Bon mots
"rural farmers from Kansas are today."

Is it true that most folks from Kansas believe that The Wizard of Oz is a documentary?

39 posted on 10/10/2003 7:10:24 AM PDT by truthandjustice1
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To: eastsider
Very interesting info. Thank you, friend. I'll take your advice should I ever find myself in the very unlikely situation of coming face-to-felt with a craps table.

Well, I guess being called a sucker bet is probably not as bad as some things I have been called in my life. :-)
40 posted on 10/10/2003 8:27:30 PM PDT by Bigg Red (Take only as directed.)
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To: blam

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Note: this topic is from 2003.

Blast from the Past.

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41 posted on 01/15/2009 4:37:28 PM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________ Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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