Thursday, July 7, 2011

Prehistory (pt. 6)

As prehistoric humans continued to build temporary shelters, they moved progressively to more permanent settlements.  The onset of permanent settlements marks the Neolithic Period, which scholars will say comes after the Ice Age (Great Flood replacement).  The three things that mark the Neolithic Period the most are: (1) permanent, year-round settlements, (2) the maintenance of herds of domesticated animals, and (3) an organized system of agriculture.  In lieu of risking dangerous and sometimes fruitless hunts, prehistoric man realized how to herd animals, raise them, and keep them (Adam tended animals in the Garden; but that was different—that was not for food).  And as herds of animals don't usually get along very well inside a small cave, the settlements moved out to the open.
Megaliths were constructed during this period.  Megaliths were large monuments created from huge stone slabs.  They were most common in Western Europe as early as 4,000B.C.
The most famous megalith is Stonehenge in England.  Stonehenge's purpose has been widely debated, especially since the recent discovery there just last year (2010).  The site was probably used for religious rituals; then in 2008 historians found evidence that it was probably actually a burial site; and there are those who stick by the theory that it was built in alignment with the stars to tell time or predict seasons.  Whatever it was used for, scholars are still baffled (and I along with them) by how prehistoric man, without any but primitive tools, could have transported these massive stone blocks—some 17 feet tall and over 50 tons—across distances of up to 260 miles.  And how did they raise the blocks into position?  Stonehenge uses post and lintel construction—huge beams support crossbeams, or lintel.

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