(This is a substantial revision of an earlier page, april 2016)
Our days are about ‘the global issue’, about ‘climate change’. All temporary human conflicts dwarf in comparison to the disasters we are about to bring upon ourselves and all generations to come. We are about to lose a paradise, because of our greed and folly, our short-term thinking and ignorance, we are creating a ‘paradise-lost’, forever, a living hell for posterity. We may look at human life as a murderous deal or as a great spiritual opportunity, whatever it is, we all agree on the beauty of Nature (without us). Life is a miracle, that is its entrenching beauty; we can’t get enough of it although or because we don’t understand it and we live most of the time as if we will never cease to exist; we haven’t got a clue.
To what extent we actually bother about the future of humankind is hard to say. At least we have no qualms about using all the natural resources within our grasp. We use the rarest materials and turn them into waste, we are prepared to risk immeasurable ecological disasters to squeeze the last drops of oil from the earth’s crust; our time will be loathed and cursed by future humankind, because we have wasted resources we did not even know the real value of. Platinum in exhaust pipes, tungsten in batteries, all rare metals and resources gone in the foreseeable future and no way to stop it.
This whole (economical) attitude of short term goals and reckless exploitation brings us the waste and pollution that will eventually suffocate us probably, as the oxygen production falters when the green lungs of the earth will turn into brown slime and the end of higher life must be nearing.
To what extent the global pollution is the major agent of the present climate change is under debate, which does not mean that it would not be a factor, it means there may be other natural factors that have an influence. For me it is a glimmer of hope that the present climate change may be exacerbated by accidental natural causes like planet alignments that cause gravitational friction within the liquid bodies of planets (tectonics, volcanism) and even the sun itself. I need this hope because otherwise I do not see how long-term effects of the present destruction can be avoided, since the point of no return may well have been reached already in that case.
Although we jolly well knew that there had been changes in climate most notably ‘remembered’ as ‘Ice Ages’, in our everyday life’s experience the climate was quite stable although the weather was a bit unpredictable in the short term but as it was, not much climate change was going on, it seemed and it was no issue. This is remarkable because the Little Ice Age, a recent 500 year long cold spell in Europe lasted well into the 19th century (1850) and was known to geo-scientists and art-historians (winter landscapes). Things are changing now, we are aware of the global climate, but not yet of its status embedded in the solar system, it seems to me.
Although there is still a strong and very powerful contingent of ‘climate change-deniers’ under scientists, politicians and business professionals, the wider public and media get more and more concerned especially so when indeed now extreme circumstances are occurring in many different places and being highlighted by the media. (Even the English now get seriously wet feet).
During my research concerning the recent Little Ice Age (1350-1850), I came across this graph where a similar glaciation and high wind circulation occurred during a period in the Neolithic. What especially intrigued me were the relative abrupt start and finish, this abruptness was accentuated by great temperature differences, from high to low in a short while, say, less than 50 years and at the end of ‘the age’ a similar sudden change again.
I am still hoping against hope that part of the climate change has to do with an incident of geometrical (gravitational) friction in the solar system orbits which would cause a heating of the Earth core which would result in an imperceptible rise in (infra-red) radiation through the crust, resulting in a warming of the atmosphere. Especially recent alignments of the planets may have caused stress to the Earth’s inner core (unexpected Mt. St Helens eruption), because, if a major alignment of the Moon can trigger as much as a 2% rise in the global high-tides (eclipse), then -given that all is vibration- such major alignments of planets and corresponding gravitational friction will have affected the ‘tides’ of the molten core of the planet as well and may have produced an excess in heat generation from the normal.
Major alignments seem to be quite common, but is this a period we are in now or over the complete cycle of all orbits in the solar system? And have all alignments the same character. We have to deal with different time-cycles then, but still they may have their underlying influences. Cycles of 26,000 and 100,000 years are identified and just now it is confirmed that volcanic activity has a major influence on climate change and correlates with greenhouse-icehouse changes over the longer term (720 million years)
I think it is important to view big issues over long periods of time in their proper perspective, we cannot deal with climate change properly when we have a rigid, short term view on the climate. There is no such thing as ‘a stable climate’, we very well know that, but what the leading causes for the big changes that occur are, we do not know at all, although now some strong indications are present.
Our everyday weather is a result of the inherent instability of the greater climate. There seems to be a theory which links the big climate changes of the past to the Sun’s activity. The so called sun spots, which have a recurrence cycle of about 11 years, would, in a bigger picture, be the causes of the ice ages.
I believe though that the general climate changes so far are expressions not of the activity of the Sun but of the frictions in the solar system’s gravity and inertial fields. Scientists still refuse to understand the one-ness of the totally integrated system. The so-called Bary-center of the solar system is its real centre of gravity, but this centre moves in and out of the body of the Sun, or maybe better to say: the Sun wobbles around this centre in a perpetual stress, sometimes more, sometimes less.
This measure of stress is depending on the planets and especially on Jupiter with its dominating mass of which the orbit coincides with the Sun spots every 11- something years. So this is my theory of hope, that the sudden warming of the atmosphere is partly due to temporary stresses in the solar system’s inertial deep-field.
[[It should be noted here that Jupiter is only 1/1000 the mass of the Sun, revolves in an orbit far, far away, but is still capable of causing sunspots that would cause changes on the Earth in the shape of ‘cold spells’, which we have named ‘Ice ages’. Jupiters influence is so great probably because it rotates so fast (imagine one rotation in 10 hours only, for such a huge body, as does Saturn btw), a spin which must have extra leverage in the equilibrium of the Sun that is very dependent on Jupiter’s orbital rotation, like the stability of the Earth roation depends predominantly on the orbit of the Moon. Although the stabilizing forces are enormous, they cannot be measured, let alone felt, only calculated.
It are these same hidden stresses that kneed the innards of the planets and the Sun. The inertial potential of a spinning object (gyroscope) is not fully understood by science it seems to me, it is most probably related to the so-called ‘dark matter’ enigma, as I explain elsewhere. It is all a complete misunderstanding of gravity still.]]
The Neolithic Ice Age (NIA; 3800-2900 BCE)
To understand the building activities of Stone Age Atlantic European people we do well to place them against a background of climate change as stated and to learn from them to look to our own future and future generations in that perspective and to build huge communal refuges also in times when there is no immediate need for them yet.
The megalithic chamber is seen as initially a communal refuge place, or bad weather hide-out (fishermen on small islands, Brittany!), later evolving into multipurpose spaces (cosmological, clinical, healing), where very seldom burials took place; this is the cornerstone of my theory.
Burial in a megalithic chamber has as little to do with its original function as burial in a church has with the function of the church. Besides that it is maintained here that the bones of people in the chambers are usually of those who died there and did not survive the cold spell they took refuge from. It is a totally different perspective from the archaeological paradigm of a Neolithic death-cult and it is probably with its wealth of better arguments closer to the truth.
The year 3800BC is on the record as the period that severe storms started to batter the Atlantic coast of Scotland. This date coincides with the start of a glaciation that is similar in character to the one that accompanied the recent cold spell in Europe from the 14th to 19th century, known as the Little Ice Age (LIA). The here proposed cold spell towards the end of the Neolithic I have coined the ‘Neolithic Ice Age’ (NIA), lasting from about 3800-2900BC. Like in the Little Ice Age this must have meant a severe worsening of weather conditions.
For what I gathered (over the years by now) I’ve become convinced that it were the harsh conditions along the Atlantic littoral, from Portugal to Sweden, that made people decide to build huge refuge places insulated by massive amounts of stone, the origination of the megalithic chamber, the shelter of rock over-ground, like a cave in the rock under-ground. With their sometimes long narrow entrance tunnels they resemble animal dens and with their corbelled domes they resemble igloos. There is at present no archaeologist who agrees with me, but that is mainly because it would be too embarrassing to have to admit a totally wrong interpretation on their behalf of these chambers as iconic buildings of the New Stone Age; archaeologists have never questioned the megalithic chambers had a primarily funeral function, whereas that ‘use’ was in fact an outflow of the tragic circumstances that would develop when people could not survive a cold spell one winter and died collectively in a chamber. It could very well also have been custom to leave the dead where they were when their remains were found by others during a next forced use of the chamber, this could be a generation later and by people who were no relatives at all. The treatment of bones in chambers is very diverse, from ordered to absolutely chaotic, and seldom interred.
Like in the Mesolithic people were probably used to keeping bones of the dead near them in their dwelling places or even take the dead into the house, as is still done in Guadeloupe today (for instance), and also very evidently happened at Skarabrae in Orkney at the time, where two graves were found under house-walls. Death and burial was probably much more a domestic issue than is suggested by the ‘cult of the dead’-paradigm that holds sway over archaeology today.
When we come to understand that the chambers were refuges then things seemingly ‘inexplicable’ become a ‘matter of course’. This is so convincingly the case with the long narrow tunnel-like entrances of many ‘passage’-chambers which provide a means to keep the cold out of the perfectly insulated chambers and cells (why insulate for the dead?). The mass of stone preserves the body heat generated by the people packed together in small cells for 6-12 people connected to a high hall. (HolmPapay, 14 cells, in 20m hall, over 3m high, narrow low entrance passage some 10m long)
The long uncomfortable entrance tunnel has no conceivable use in any funeral setting, this seems to me rather clear, but archaeologists won’t give in, I know, although they won’t come with a better explanation.
This whole idea of cold weather that I have argued, does not fit the received wisdom under archaeologists that it was warmer than today in that period and it’s just not true as we will see.
Below a graph of the ice core accentuated in colours by me
Greenland Ice Core Graph, Neolithic Ice Age (central dark blue block)
What particularly interests us here is the blue period of high circulation in the middle of the graph which is evidently related to a massive increase in glaciation shown in the grey and blue blocks below the peak period, this occurred roughly between 4000 – 3000 BCE, the fourth millennium. This then is the Neolithic Ice Age. This name is chosen because this period is similar (in glaciation!) to the recent Little Ice Age (1350-1850) in dark red on the graph (extreme left). And that is really not long ago.
‘Little’- and ‘Neolithic’- Ice Ages
The Neolithic warm?
The picture usually drawn of the late Stone Age is one of rather benign weather several degrees warmer than today even (mind you). This remarkable consensus seems to be based on some occasional finds of the bones of fish found in Orkney (Quanterness) that cannot survive in present day water temperatures ……. , they say. The sub-tropical species, corkwing wrasse,
though, is known to stray into the North Sea today and is remarkable for its tropical colours, so a precious and easy catch! This means its (rare) occurrence on the Orkney record is no argument at all for, overall, warmer weather.
The graph also shows that the climate is a changeable phenomenon and that the idea of a stable climate is a fiction, but this does not mean that human action has no influence for good or for bad. The point is we have to learn to live with sudden climate change as a real possibility. (One thing I’ve learned from my study of the megalithic stone age is that going underground is a perfect option). The graphs show that both starts of the recent Little Ice Age and of the Neolithic Ice Age were preceded by a sudden rise in temperature and then an extreme fall in a very short term.
This deterioration is comparable with, if not worse than, the Little Ice Age that ravaged Europe recently between 1350 and 1850 AD, (see the red block) of which especially the sudden extreme change at the beginning in the Middle Ages had a devastating effect on the resistance of the European people and hunger and epidemic plagues, Black Death, were rampant, decimating the population.
The graph shows clearly a new world wide advance of glaciation 6000-5000 years ago which cannot be explained other than in a drop of temperature, at least in those areas, as Orkney, closest to the major glaciations.
In the Little Ice Age, two centuries ago, the Greenland Inuit travelled to Orkney on icebergs, that is how cold it was.
The overall temperature seems not to drop as low as around 6200 BC, a notoriously cold snap in archaeology, but local conditions can differ considerably from the overall picture.
Around 2900 BC the weather was already above average again, which in fact meant the end of the use of the chambers as refuges and also the end of the megalithic Funnelbeaker culture in northern continental Europe, which may be causally connected.
It got eventually so hot in the Middle East that the Akkadian Empire collapsed, due to the drought around 2200 BC. You don’t see that in the graph. Local conditions and periods can be extreme for good and for bad.
It seems already around 4800 BC the weather deteriorated according to other graphs, then improved again, but around 3800 BC it is an established fact that the Atlantic Scottish coast got battered by severe storms; so how about Orkney?
This would not have been different for Orkney of course, close as it is to the Scottish coast ( some 20 Miles away in the south), but the Highlands had woods and sheltered valleys, whereas Orkney had only smooth hills, broad loughs and pioneer tree vegetation; by 3000 BC though, the end of the Neolithic Ice Age, Orkney had only some scrub left, all birch, hazel and willow that had dominated the landscape of the southern isles, before the high winds came, had gone, used for housing and for fuel most probably, or just perished in the salt winds, as still today hardly any trees grow in Orkney because of the high winds. Thus, Orkney was certainly no paradise for a substantial period in the Neolithic, although it probably would have been warmer than Scottish northern Caithness where some similar chambers were built.
A telling quote from the Orcadian, Orkney’s weekly newspaper of sept’14, in a story about Orcadian women, gives a grimm picture of the circumstances in Orkney during the Little Ice Age, in this case of around 1800 CE:
They used to guarantee snow, then… recalled a senior citizen: ‘From what old folk often said in my boyhood, it would appear that the winters of 120 or 130 years ago were infinitely more severe than they are now’ (1930).
Oral anecdote and discussion gave rise to a tradition which was maintained for generations.
Since the houses of c.1810 were much lower than those of his time, they presented more threats to stock and families.
For several weeks on end drifts as high as the roofs remained; it was not uncommon for sheep stumbling through and over them in search of food, to fall through the two feet square lum, ‘only a few inches above the ridges of the roof’, into the dwelling below.
There were occasions too on which occupants were snowbound, reliant on better placed neighbours to dig them out.
Nearer modern times (1870) ‘six weeks of continuous deep snow’ was the expectation and generally, experience of folk ‘some time before the New Year and always three or four weeks in March’ with obvious problems for those with animals to feed, for lying snow made attempts to get at the ground below almost invariably unsuccessful, at the same time as burns and lades were choked with snow, denying water access to the threshing mills it had to drive.
[Compare this with today, where hardly any snow falls on Orkney, except sometimes on the higher hills. Orkney bathes in the warm waters of the Atlantic Gulfstream, neither does the temperature ever fall much below zero in winter.]
A similar severe climatic period in the Neolithic brought about the challenge to improve living conditions to survive, which paid off in numerous innovations.
The Neolithic Ice Age conditions would have caused the widespread building of survival chambers where the coastal peoples of Europe could weather the gales from the Atlantic and North Sea when these ravaged their homes and the conditions became life-threatening especially for children, the elderly and pregnant women. The average age was about thirty; at that age the ratio of men to women was 3:1, at the age of twenty, it was already 2:1. The survival of the whole population may have been at stake for considerable periods, the demographic situation was alarming.
It is these demographic and climatic conditions that initiated the communal effort to building the sometimes huge chambers, not some kind of, by archaeologists invented, all pervading ‘cult of the dead’. The chambers were a symbol of survival, of intense communal experience and hardship, also of loss, and naturally of growing reverence for the ancestry who built them, and sometimes perished in them, they revered the chambers the older they got, no doubt.
Imbued with the auspicious spirit of the ancestry some people brought bones of their dead to the chambers, which they may usually have kept at home. It was very rare for a person to be interred in the floor of a chamber, may be even done ‘clandestinely’, but the chambers were in no way built for that purpose; churchyards and churches are the most obvious expression of the wish to be buried near or in an auspicious and ancestral place, where relatives and other dead people are gathered, as a preferred gateway to the other world.
Maeshowe, one of the most sophisticated megalithic chambers ever built, was probably not primarily built as a place of communal shelter and storage of food as earlier chambers, although it kept the possibility of serving as such, no, Maeshowe was built for scientific, clinical and healing purposes and for the ‘storage and immortalization’ of knowledge. Maeshowe may have been earlier than or contemporary with the Egyptian pyramids, it is anyhow a conceptual blueprint in terms of embodying the state of the cosmological/scientific knowledge of the culture of its day, solidified in stone, to be preserved for posterity. Most curious of all is that its mathematics and dimensions show striking similarities with Giza in Egypt. A full blown enigma. (see pages: On Maeshowe, the Measure of Maeshowe and Maeshowe as Science-friction).
This website is a continuing assemblage of evidence and arguments for the view that a sophisticated cosmological and scientific culture developed on the British Isles, moving its centre of gravity from the Boyne Valley in Ireland to the north via the Hebrides to Caithness and Orkney and to the south via Anglesey and the Preselis in Wales to Avebury and Stonehenge in Wessex as the apex of the Atlantic Megalithicum that may have started in southern Portugal (Evora).