Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
Pages: [1]   Go Down
This topic has not yet been rated!
You have not rated this topic. Select a rating:
Author Topic: Unique Bronze Age serpentine mound found in western England  (Read 212 times)
Description: Major Hereford archaeological find to be unveiled
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
« on: July 13, 2007, 11:28:25 AM »

The 'Rotherwas Ribbon'

Old Serpentine Mound Found in Britain


Associated Press Writer

LONDON (AP) - The stones were likely heated in a fire and quickly doused in cold water, cracking before being placed along the serpentine earthen mound. The result: a curving paved structure possibly used in a ritual by Britain's Bronze Age inhabitants.

The archaeologist who announced the discovery of the 65-yard-long ``Rotherwas Ribbon'' in western England said so-called ``burnt stones'' that cover the 4,000-year-old mound could shed more light on early civilization.

Mounds of burnt stones litter northern Europe and some experts believe they were once used in cooking. But their presence on the snakelike mound also suggests the stones were used in rituals, Herefordshire County archaeologist Keith Ray said Wednesday.

``It's the only structure we have from prehistory from Britain or in Europe, as far as we can tell, that is actually a deliberate construction that uses burnt stones,'' Ray said. ``This is ... going to make us rethink whole chunks of what we thought we understood about the period.''

Henry Chapman, an archaeologist at Birmingham University who specializes in the Bronze Age and was not previously aware of Ray's dig, said although the use of the burnt stones to pave such a monument was unheard of before, it is possible they were used for ritualistic purposes.

However, that did not mean the stones were not also for cooking, he said.

The mound was unearthed in Herefordshire during the building of a highway earlier this year. The nearby presence of cremated human remains and burnt timbers reinforced the notion that the mound had a religious function.

The exact purpose of the burnt stones that cover the English mound has long left archaeologists scratching their heads. One hypothesis is that the stones were used to cook food. They would have been heated and then thrown into water to warm it, and as the stones cooled they cracked.

Chapman said Bronze Age people had become increasingly concerned with ritualizing aspects of everyday life, as well as drawing connections between domestic and religious tasks.

``Using domestic waste in funeral material is very significant in terms of linking life and death,'' Chapman said. ``It's a really neat expression of the psychology of the period.''

Ray said the site's nearest parallel was the Serpent Mound in Ohio, an effigy of a giant, coiled snake generally thought to have been built by Native Americans sometime before the 13th century, although he added the two could not have had any historical or cultural connection.

The Rotherwas Ribbon, named for the area in which it was found, lies in the path of the planned highway and will be encased in a protective structure beneath the road once it is built.

Great Serpent Mound, near Peebles, Ohio

Serpent Mound

Serpent mound, stretching a quarter mile long, is the largest serpent effigy (representation of an image) known to this day. There are also serpent effigies located in Scotland and Ontario that are very similar. The bottom of the mound is constructed of clay and rock and the soil covering the rock is four to five feet high. The mound was built on top of a remarkably unique cryptoexplosive structure that has caused the effigy to become misshapen through the years. The structure of the serpent is controversial. Squier and Davis were among the first to survey the mound. According to them the shape looked like a serpent with it's mouth open, about to devour an egg. Others have said that it represented the myth of the horned serpent in many Indian cultures. The ancestors of the Indians who lived around Lake Superior said that they took copper out of the horns of the serpent (Greenman, 1970).

Serpent Mound is located in Ohio, east of Cincinnati, off of highway 73. It is placed atop a ridge that over looks the Ohio Brush Creek. It is located in the Serpent Mound State Memorial and is accessible to the public.

It is believed that the area around Serpent Mound was inhabited between 3000 BP and 1300 BP.

Researchers have found some similarities between the previous Adena Indian habitats and Serpent Mound. Another indication that the Adena Indians built serpent mound was the Adena burial mounds that were located near Serpent Mound. The Adena Indians are famous for their earthwork (mounds). They lived throughout Ohio and parts of Kentucky and West Virginia. They were primarily hunters and gatherers, but evidence has shown some horticulture as well. They made ornaments from copper, tubular pipes and stone tablets (Woodward & McDonald, 1986) Serpent images, carved on stone tablets, have been found in the burial mounds of the Adena Indians (Webb & Snow, 1974).

The function of Serpent Mound is mysterious. It was thought,at one time, that it was sent from God and the head of the serpent was facing the Garden of Eden. It is probably a religious symbol. The serpent has been a symbol of many things, such as eternity, incarnation of a deity, and evil (Greenman, 1970). The Adena could have built Serpent Mound for their god or to ward off evil.

Excavations of Serpent Mound have found pottery fragments, ashes, burnt stone, and some animal bones (Greenman, 1970). This is evidence of occupation by the Adena Indians.

Fredric Putman was one of the first archaeologists to excavate Serpent Mound. After displaying his findings at the Chicago World Fair in 1893, the site became well known. Putman was concerned about the destruction of Serpent Mound. He became part owner of the Historical Society of Ohio. He helped preserve Serpent Mound so it can now be viewed by anyone. From the top of the Serpent Tower in Ohio, the whole serpent effigy can be seen (Woodward & McDonald, 1986).

Greenman, Emerson F. Serpent Mound. The Ohio Historical Society, 1970 Webb, William and Charles Snow. The Adena People. The University of Woodward, Susan and Jerry McDonald. Indian Mounds of the Middle Ohio Valley. The McDolnald & Woodward Publishing Company, 1986.
Webmaster: History Hunters
Gold Member

Karma: 81

Posts: 650

The Eyrie

View Profile
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2007, 08:45:09 PM »

An aerial view of the 'Rotherwas Ribbon' - thought to be 4000 years old

Heritage inspectors visit feature

English Heritage inspectors have been visiting a 4,000-year-old feature in Herefordshire to see if it should be preserved as an ancient monument.

Archaeologists have said the Rotherwas Ribbon, found by road builders, could be as important as Stonehenge.

Herefordshire Council said a protective shield will be built over the site to preserve it for future generations. A relief road will then be built over it.

If inspectors schedule the monument, work on the road will have to stop.

The 197ft (60m) long ribbon of stones was discovered by diggers working on the new access road in Rotherwas, near Hereford.

Unique site

It is made up of a series of deliberately fire-cracked stones and appears to have been deliberately sculptured to undulate through the whole of its length that has so far been uncovered.

Archaeologists have said there are no parallels to the site in the rest of Europe, with the closest similar artefact being the 2,000-year-old Serpent Mound of the Ohio River valley in the US, a 1,330ft (405m) long effigy of a serpent.

Dr Keith Ray, Herefordshire County Archaeologist, said the site was unique because it was built in three dimensions.

The inspectors are expected to give their verdicts in the next few weeks.

Webmaster: History Hunters
Gold Member

Karma: 81

Posts: 650

The Eyrie

View Profile
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2007, 08:45:58 PM »

Archaeologists discuss the find with a BBC Newsnight journalist on Saturday afternoon. They told a select group of visitors that only a small part of the serpent had been revealed.

"Salisbury District Council would never dream of taking a decision to concrete over a monument such as this, without consulting with private tourism business in the area first." - Mary Webb, Salisbury and Stonehenge Tourism Partnership.

Tags: archaeology serpent mound Hereford Ohio Bronze Age 
Pages: [1]   Go Up
Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.4 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC
History Hunters Worldwide Exodus | TinyPortal v0.9.8 © Bloc