The Archaeology Thread

The pyrmaids are about 4,500, even British Camp on the Malverns dated 3,500 years ago and Old Sarum is similar. They must have taken a huge amount of organising and logistics just to feed the people working on them before you consider the actual physical work that was carried out...
A lot of manpower could have been though the use of slaves. There were lots of hill fort surveys done in the 1920s/30s in England using rather primitive methods, so excavations since the war have been very limited to reduce further damage. In one such excavation in recent years (?Maiden Castle, in your picture or perhaps Danebury) they found slave irons: there could be much more evidence of the same under the soil.
 
A lot of manpower could have been though the use of slaves. There were lots of hill fort surveys done in the 1920s/30s in England using rather primitive methods, so excavations since the war have been very limited to reduce further damage. In one such excavation in recent years (?Maiden Castle, in your picture or perhaps Danebury) they found slave irons: there could be much more evidence of the same under the soil.
That is interesting. I didn't know about the slave irons; however, please don't spoil a good conspiracy theory ;)
 
A lot of manpower could have been though the use of slaves. There were lots of hill fort surveys done in the 1920s/30s in England using rather primitive methods, so excavations since the war have been very limited to reduce further damage. In one such excavation in recent years (?Maiden Castle, in your picture or perhaps Danebury) they found slave irons: there could be much more evidence of the same under the soil.

Glad to see the use of "could" in the first sentence. Certainly in the case of the Egyptian monuments there has been a lot of reinterpretation of the use of slaves.

The unearthing of the workers towns has shown decent spacious buildings and an apparently good diet with loads of cow/sheep bones and ample grain storage. These are unlikely to have been for slaves and are more likely for skilled masons, smiths and other artisans whose knowledge was necessary to create such elaborate monuments..

Even in recent years the history of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia has shown that slave labour is pretty rubbish other than for the most menial tasks.

As ever it's probably somewhere in the middle. My guess would be that there was probably a mixture of thousands of skilled workers and tens of thousands of slaves doing the dragging and hauling. I doubt you would get the average master stonemason to spend all day in the hot sun dragging rocks (even if you had enslaved him you would be better off giving him a job!).

FWIW there is a debate on this "alien/high-tech" involvement (with some good links) here:
 
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Bluenose2

War Hero
Glad to see the use of "could" in the first sentence. Certainly in the case of the Egyptian monuments there has been a lot of reinterpretation of the use of slaves.

The unearthing of the workers towns has shown decent spacious buildings and an apparently good diet with loads of cow/sheep bones and ample grain storage. These are unlikely to have been for slaves and are more likely for skilled masons, smiths and other artisans whose knowledge was necessary to create such elaborate monuments..

Even in recent years the history of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia has shown that slave labour is pretty rubbish other than for the most menial tasks.

As ever it's probably somewhere in the middle. My guess would be that there was probably a mixture of thousands of skilled workers and tens of thousands of slaves doing the dragging and hauling. I doubt you would get the average master stonemason to spend all day in the hot sun dragging rocks (even if you had enslaved him you would be better off giving him a job!).

FWIW there is a debate on this "alien/high-tech" involvement (with some good links) here:

One interesting thing about those ancient monuments - particularly the Cursus monument and places like Silbury Hill - and their sources of construction is the estimates of man (person) hours to construct what were, in all likelihood, used for ritual purposes.

Given Silbury Hill alone is in the millions of person hours to build with primitive tools, then you can adjust the dials to estimate either how long, and/or how many people, it took to build.

Zoom out from that a bit....someone has to recruit and convince them, feed them, tend to their crops whilst they're away, orchestrate and train them (or control and quell them, if you believe the slavery angle....which I don't personally).

If they're not slaves, but people who on a grand scale were sufficiently motivated over millenia to act in a communal way to honour their spiritual beliefs through monumental effort (literally), then that points to not only a scientifically/engineeringly-complex society, but also a relatively altruistic one where common faiths drew hundreds or thousands of people together for a common cause. Or, alternatively but less likely given the logistics involved; a society sufficiently controlled by its religious elites to be coerced into cooperation.

In many of the older hill forts there are middens absolutely chock-full of cow bones buried in the same context (in non-archaeological speak...cooked and then buried at the same time). It's not difficult to count the number of femurs and calculate how many portions of beef would have been served up at these massive parties. We're talking hundreds of people gathering over the period of a few days and being fed on a grand scale by their hosts.

So there is a veritable mountain of evidence that our forebears lived in a religiously/spiritually-dominated, highly complex and social society, with trade and cultural exchange routes, and migration across thousands of miles. Their biological cognitive capabilities were very likely on a par with ours, and their knowledge was certainly far greater when it came to understanding their natural environment.

All this is before you get to the Iron Age and start to see the world turning again and the rise of elites who sought to control craft production behind walls and pallisades...just in time to be perceived as the woad-painted insular warrior tribes depicted by Roman propaganda.

Whilst Ancient Britain certainly wasn't unique in any of this, our history does have a certain mystical charm to it. Our monuments may be pretty rudimentary when compared to those of contemporary societies elsewhere, but the way in which they dovetail with and celebrate the natural environment rather than pharoahs, kings or emperors is pretty special. There's certainly a huge amount to be proud of.
 
There you go
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Following the posts above regarding the Pyramids there are a couple of good concise reads (and good links to further academic articles/books) which address the stupidity of aliens/advanced tech etc. here:

Part 1

Part 2
 
I'm surprised at how many Arrsers are into old stuff (can't be bothered to spell archaeology). In my late teens and early 20s I was an amateur that spent weekends digging but mostly field walking, working from aerial photos. I developed an eye for anything unusual on the ground. Freshly tilled soil, especially after rain was the best time. The best thing I ever found was the broken handle end of a Roman whetstone. The boring stuff was cleaning, marking and cataloguing finds, but that's where the value comes. Still very interested if only from a passive stance.
 

Kirkz

LE
Book Reviewer
On the subject of brochs.

That's what started the Broch discussion...
https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/the-archaeology-thread.307792/post-11265633
 

Kirkz

LE
Book Reviewer
I visited 2006 at midnight at mid summer with the storm petrels. It was surreal and will forever live in my memory.
I've been twice and enjoyed the trip both times.
It's amazing how much is still standing compared to the other Brochs up in the far North.
Yes those internal wall steps are a bit of a bugger to get up and down.
 

Kirkz

LE
Book Reviewer
May/June 1987 for me, we only got one day off a week & I think we did Mousa, Jarlshof & St Ninian's Isle on the same day.
Jarlshof is a vastly under recognised site when compared to Scarra Brea.
Far more impressive yet never seems to get much of a mention compared to other smaller sites.
Did you visit Old Scatness aka Sumbergh head airport Broch?
https://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=10822
 

BlipDriver

War Hero
Jarlshof is a vastly under recognised site when compared to Scarra Brea.
Far more impressive yet never seems to get much of a mention compared to other smaller sites.
Did you visit Old Scatness aka Sumbergh head airport Broch?
https://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=10822
Don't remember it, even though it looks like we drove right past it. Do remember Clickhimin which we did first - we were out at Burra so pretty much had to go through Lerwick to get anywhere.
 

Kirkz

LE
Book Reviewer
Don't remember it, even though it looks like we drove right past it. Do remember Clickhimin which we did first - we were out at Burra so pretty much had to go through Lerwick to get anywhere.
To be honest I think we only spotted a small sign for it on the way back from Jarlshof and swerved in for a look, quite a big site but only really the foundations of the broch left and at the time it was still being excavated.
Clickminin is quite a good site to view.
 
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