October 09, 2012

3D laser scan of Stonehenge reveals axehead graffiti

Stonehenge up close: digital laser scan reveals secrets of the past
The first complete 3D laser scan of the stone circle has also revealed tool marks made 4,500 years ago, scores of little axehead graffiti added when the enormous slabs were already 1,000 years old, and damage and graffiti contributed by Georgian and Victorian visitors. 

Long after the monument was built, when Bronze Age burial mounds rich in grave goods began to be scattered across the plain around Stonehenge, and the archaeological evidence suggests those who could make or trade in metal goods had an almost shamanic status, people carved little images of daggers and axes, many now invisible to the naked eye, into the stones. Scores more have been revealed by the scan, including 71 new axe heads, bringing the total to 115 – doubling the number ever recorded in Britain.

"It is wonderful to have discovered so many more, but what is fascinating is that they are carved without regard to the importance or the siting of the stones – almost as if the people who carved them could no longer quite remember the significance of the monument and how it worked," Greaney said.
They probably could no longer remember, because they were Indo-European newcomers, and not the same people as the Megalithic folk who built Stonehenge.

A little history:

Craniologists of the time used a ratio based on length and width measurements, known as the cranial index, to divide skulls into two basic types: 'dolichocephalic', long and narrow in shape, and 'brachycephalic', broad and round in shape. Based on his observations at sites like Belas Knap, Thurnam established his famous axiom, 'long barrows, long skulls; round barrows, round skulls'. The long skulls were found in long barrows and never in association with metallic artefacts, while round skulls were found in round barrows sometimes with metalwork. 
Thurnam's and Rolleston's theories gained considerable credibility in the late Victorian period and survived well into the earlier 20th century. Such racist theories failed to stand up, however, in the face of Gordon Childe's arguments for the definition of an archaeological culture based on shared social characteristics and material culture rather than race or biological type. In addition, the considerable moral repugnance felt towards Victorian anthropology and its role in the rise of fascist ideology in the 1930s caused the argument over long and round skulls to be sidelined and eventually dismissed. The identification of the Bronze Age incomers based on their material culture, including metalwork and Beaker pottery vessels, remained a more acceptable alternative.
In the 1990s, however, the archaeologist Neil Brodie took a fresh look at the craniological evidence and concluded that there was undeniably a difference between the shape of skulls from Neolithic long barrows and Bronze Age round barrows. A trend from long to round skull shape was clearly shown. 

The differences, he argued, could be caused by cultural practices, such as the binding of infants' heads, as well as by diet and a range of climatic or environmental factors. Looking at the totality of human history, he showed that head shape fluctuates in populations over long periods of time, and that extremes of head types occur in successive prehistoric populations as a matter of historical chance.
We don't have DNA evidence from British round barrows yet, but Beaker burials from Germany show the first R1b ever found, while Neolithic Western Europe shows a mix of I2a and G2a. Difference in material culture? check. Difference in physical anthropology? check. Difference in time of appearance? check. Difference in genetics? preliminary check.

So, it seems like a good bet that the people who carved axehead graffiti on Stonehenge were simply invaders who took over the site from the previous inhabitants, and, as is so often the case, used it for their own purposes.


apostateimpressions said...

I dont see the axe head carvings as graffiti but as an important historical record. The megaliths also are record. The IE could have expressed their dominance by shoving them over but they didnt, they left them as record to which they added. And they had every right to add to the record as a sign of racial and cultural change of historical proportions. Likely the IE decorated the stones with their own symbols to express their permanent supremacy over what went before.

Interesting too that the Victorians and Georgians engraved the stones precisely at that time when, after thousands of years, the British (and others) had gained an understanding of the axe people as Indo-European invaders. And then racial anthropology is fenced off after WWII much like the stones. A modern technological, globalised cilivilization like ours is not one that will survive if it bases itself on false principles, on deliberate ignorance and falsehood. I am reminded of the words of the Silver Surfer in the film the other day, "all that you know is coming to an end." Interesting also that the A344 is to be closed to allow visitors to see the stones according to their proper alignment just at the time that genetics provides the possibility of renewed anthropological understanding and just as peak oil (the closing of the roads) may cause a sudden collapse to halt the protracted decline and maybe give us a second chance to use our anthropological knowledge to salvage our civilization.

The stones seem laced with the symbolism of historical narrative right up to the present and beyond as if there were something about them as magalith that attracts it, a symbolism of civilizational proportions.

mooreisbetter said...

I have always thought it to be amazing that to this day, there are men bearing 12a-M26 in every single Western European locale where a stone megalith has been found. I first heard about it on a thread on another site, and there is only one rather lame, outdated website with info: http://i-m26.blogspot.com/

But, it really is too extraordinary to attribute to coincidence.

I've oft wondered if it could be as simple as this:

Megalithic culture was mostly I-M26

First European agriculturalists (or perhaps metalworkers) were mostly G2

Indo-European dialect had spread to a small Western European area, where lactose tolerance originated, and Bell Beaker expansion coincides with their expansion and the spread of Western European languages and R1b

I think this is plausible.

Sometimes, in a fit of Dumezilian analysis, I wonder if the triune society in Indo-Europeanized ancient cultures (of which Dumezil wrote so much), was a relic, a memory of the original partition:

There were the warrior class (R1b), the producers/agriculturalists (G2), and the priests/druids (I2a-M26).

It is fascinating to me that centers of presumed Druidic activity and religious significance are the places where M26 persists to this day.

Now, of course, a hybrid of this theory could be equally true. It could be as simple as: Ancient Europe had many different clines, in roughly equal proportions. The metalworkers and megalithic culture spread along the Western Atlantic/Med seaboard, as Cunliffe postulated. The R1b population eventually simply outbred them.

But it seems relatively clear that metalworking, obsidian trading, and megalithic religion, were all tied to the older G2/I2b stock. Up until historical times, the Greek adventurers into Western Italy, and the Etruscans, prized Sardinians of La Barbagia (40% I-M26, 20% G2) as carrying on a tradition as the best metalworkers in the known world.

Unknown said...

There are places in my fathers home town where their are mysterious large lumps of concrete buried under vines in the local park. My father remembers the anti-aircraft guns that used to fire from that spot 70 years ago. He was able to paint a vivid picture of it once was like. Otherwise I would not know. My children wont know. Maybe there are also written records, maybe not.

1000 years is a long time for a society based on oral history.

Graffiti however appears to be eternal.

Katharós said...

I think it is true that the ruling class in most cases don’t represent the masses they rule in certain aspects. This would apply to recent figures like Napoleon,Stalin,Hitler or old dynasties like the House of Bourbon"G2a"

There is a BBC Documentation on the History of Celtic Britain that is quite interesting.


Nick T said...

Dear Dienekes,

Two problems with connecting Neil Brodie's observations on skull shape changes with Stonehenge and a 'megalithic culture'.
1. The long barrows whose skulls he considered are mostly not megalithic.
2. Stonehenge post-dates the long barrows, so it is quite possible that if there was a major population movement it occurred before the construction of the stone phases of Stonehenge.

AWood said...


Are you a G2a male or something? I don't understand your comment at all. Both Hitler and Stalin were nobodies and the former was a talentless artist who rose to power mostly out of luck and circumstance. These aren't exactly royal lineages. The Bourban family were just a bunch of murderers who killed non-Catholics. Not much else to say here.

In terms of royalty. Three royal lineages have been confirmed as R1b, two of which are of German extraction. I play these off as nothing more than odds. It's normal that western regions with 50-60+% R1b will has the same odds of being a royal lineage. Second most likely being I1.

Katharós said...

Hitler and Stalin were two ruling figures that forged modern history,we are all more or less byproducts of Hitlers or Stalins mind.

The Capetian dynasty "House of Bourbon" is one of the oldest royal linages in Europe.To see them only as a bunch of Catholic murders sounds very Francophobe.

And yes I am a G-MAN. ;-)

Unknown said...

IMHO the Bell Beaker folks spoke a language ancestral to Basque, no IE.
Why I think so:

The R1b-S116 variants S116* + L21 + M153 are positively correlated with Basque ethnicity, i.e. they get more frequent as we move from the Basque's IE neighbours (where they make up 67%) to the Basque core area (where they reach 85%). Only the "Gaulish" U152 and the "Germanic" R1b-U106 are negatively correlated with Basques. IMO this is clear evidence that R1b-S116 did not introgress from surrounding IEs into Basques and attain its high incidence there by drift alone, but that it was originally connected with the Basque ethnicity.

Notably L21, the "British" subvariant of R1b-S116, is positively correlated with Basques, where it reaches astounding 19,1% in the Basque core area, vs. 13,8% in surrounding IEs. Conversely L165/S28, a subvariant of the Basque/Gascon/Catalan (i.e. Basque + Iberian) R1b-Z196, is found at appreciable frequencies in Scotland. This is evidence for close contacts between Britain and the Basque country at some time in the past. Yet there are only very few Celtic loan words in Basque, which suggests that the Britons were not yet Celtic speaking back then.

Furthermore, as someone on the Eupedia forum mentioned, the Basque language has its very own distinctive vocabulary for metals and metalworking, which wasn't borrowed from the IE terminology. Thus, they may very well be themselves remnants of an early wave of metal workers that reached western Europe.

Granted, they haven't got the K7b West_Asian component, but they do have 9 - 10% of the K12b Gedrosia component, which is among the highest levels of Gedrosia-admixture in western Europe. Only the Danish and the Dutch have similar amounts, while the British Isles surpass all with 10,6 – 13,1%.

Furthermore, in Dienekes' post on the "Genetic structure of West Eurasians", the Basque component at K=9 fits nicely with the distribution of Bell Beaker culture, R1b-M412 and subvariants, and western European Gedrosia.

The linguist Theo Vennemann wrote that there was evidence for a Basque-related pre-IE substrate language in large parts of Europe, which he called Vaskonic. Maybe at least for western Europe, he was right.

Also it has to be appreciated that the closest relative of Celtic, i.e. Italic, correlates with J2a, rather than with R1b-S116. Just look at a map showing the pre-Roman languages of Italy and compare with a map showing the predominant haplogroups. R1b-S116 dominates the formerly Etruscan, Rhaetic, Celtic and Ligurian areas. Where you've got the Italics, i.e. the Osco-Umbrians and the Latino-Faliscans, you find lots of J2a. The same applies to the areas of the Sicels, the Veneti and the Picenes, all probably closely related to Italic.

So, possibly the Celts reached Britain at the transition from middle bronze age to late bronze age, but not earlier.

AWood said...

"Hitler and Stalin were two ruling figures that forged modern history,we are all more or less byproducts of Hitlers or Stalins mind."

Not only do I disagree here, but what does this have to do with YDNA and some sort of fictitious ruling elite? I wouldn't say we're byproducts of their mind, but rather their actions caused reactions on a global scale. Either way they are still commoners - and in the words of the Oldenburgs "not real Germans".

The royal houses of Wettin, Oldenburg, and Stuart are all R1b in all likelihood from evidence gathered so far. The Welsh Tudors are also highly *likely* to be L21+ as well and we're at 4 R1b royal lineages right there. Obviously E-V13 and G2a3b1a are among west Europeans, but less likely to show up among royals due to sheer volumes.

Re: Theo Vennemann
There is no evidence to support Basque family languages outside of the Aquitanian territory. I might as well suggest a Martian dialect was spoken in ancient Britain as I'm presenting the same amount of evidence right now.

AWood said...


I agree to some extent. There is a presence of West Asian component + J2a in S/SE Europe that simply fits well as a late intrusive element to Europe. That said, I can't positively agree that it is undoubtedly the PIE marker. R1b is a far better fit to Ligures than it is to Etruscan. The presence of J2a in the south of Italy may be from Greek settlement, who were at the time a united population from various disparate ethnic groups who may have carried substantial J2a. Whether this Y lineage spoke PIE prior to the amalgamation is up for debate.

Unknown said...

For instance, Vennemann suggested that placenames like Ebersbach in Bavaria are not related to German "Eber", meaning boar, but to Ebro. So of course he presented evidence, but I'm not competent to evaluate it.

J2a may be from Greeks and pre-Greeks, aka Pelasgians, but it may also be from Italics themselves. Who may have arrived via Greece... To me it seems the resistance to this idea and the premature readiness to connect Italic with R1b is intimately linked with the rather unjustified assumption that Italics came from central Europe. The archeological and also the genetic evidence rather seem to connect Etruscans with central Europe - where the related Raeti dwelt after all.

Katharós said...

I don't know any details, but according to general German history texts. The first by name known people in the region of Allgäu “southern German region in Swabia” are the Illyrians who moved into Swabia from the Great Hungarian Plain in about 1200 BC. and who had knowledge on iron processing.


apostateimpressions said...

<< 1000 years is a long time for a society based on oral history >>

AM, a researcher has compiled interviews with hundreds of old British soldiers who fought in WWII and they all say that the war wasnt worth fighting and that they wouldnt have fought if they had known that we would lose our country through mass immigration and political correctness. The BBC wont tell us that any time soon.



But was it worth it? Her answer - and the answer of many of her contemporaries, now in their 80s and 90s - is a resounding No.

They despise what has become of the Britain they once fought to save. It's not our country any more, they say, in sorrow and anger.


Immigration tops the list of complaints

'People come here, get everything they ask, for free, laughing at our expense,' was a typical observation.

'We old people struggle on pensions, not knowing how to make ends meet. If I had my time again, would we fight as before? Need you ask?'

Many writers are bewildered and overwhelmed by a multicultural Britain that, they say bitterly, they were never consulted about nor feel comfortable with.

'Our country has been given away to foreigners while we, the generation who fought for freedom, are having to sell our homes for care and are being refused medical services because incomers come first.'