Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Something/Someone Old
222old.jpg

Today's Something Old is Newgrange, in Ireland.

newgrange-safaris.jpg

I've actually been there, been inside. It's what's known as a passage grave, from the neolithic period. (Although I just found out there is some controversy about this; some think it was actually a temple).

A passage grave (sometimes hyphenated) or passage tomb consists of a narrow passage made of large stones and one or multiple burial chambers covered in earth or stone. The building of passage tombs was normally carried out with megaliths and smaller stones; they usually date from the Neolithic Age. Those with more than one chamber may have multiple sub-chambers leading off from the main burial chamber. Sometimes passage tombs are covered with a cairn, especially those dating from later times. Not all passage graves have been found to contain evidence of human remains. The Passage Tomb tradition is believed to have originated in the French region of Brittany. It was introduced to other regions such as Ireland by colonists from Brittany.

Passage tombs of the cairn type often have elaborate corbelled roofs rather than simple slabs. Megalithic art has been identified carved into the stones at some sites. The passage itself, in a number of notable instances, is aligned in such a way that the sun shines into the passage at a significant point in the year, for example at sunrise on the winter solstice or at sunset on the equinox.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passage_grave

Newgrange itself consists of a large mound with a passage leading under it, or, rather, into it. The passage goes about a third of the way back into the mound, leading to a large central chamber with three chambers off it.

ground-plan-of-newgrange.jpg

Here's a drawing by the chief archaelogist of the final Newgrange excavation, Dr. M. J. O'Kelly, showing the layout of the tomb:

drawing-of-passage-by-mj-o-kelly.jpg

The central chamber is where, at sunrise on the solstice, a "roof box," an opening above the door to the passage, lets the light of the returning sun flood the inner chamber.

This is what Newgrange is famous for. I went there in the summer; the waiting list for a winter solstice sunrise visit was unimaginably long even in 1995, when I went. But apparently, this year they livestreamed the event from inside the grave.

It is pretty amazing to me that people in 3200 BC made such precise astronomical calculations. It appears that later ancient sites from the Bronze Age, were aligned with Newgrange, which suggests that later people endowed Newgrange with some significance.

The complex was originally built between c. 3200 and 3100 BC. According to carbon-14 dates,it is about five hundred years older than the current form of Stonehenge, and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, as well as predating the Mycenaean culture of ancient Greece.

Geological analysis indicates that the thousands of pebbles that make up the cairn, which together would have weighed about 200,000 tonnes, came from the nearby river terraces of the Boyne.

But some of the stone came from considerably farther away:

Most of the 547 slabs that make up the inner passage/chambers and the outer kerbstones are greywacke. They may have been brought from sites about 5 km away,[22] and/or from the rocky beach at Clogherhead, County Louth, about 20 km to the north-east. The facade and entrance was built with white quartz cobblestones from the Wicklow Mountains, about 50 km to the south; dark rounded granodiorite cobbles from the Mourne Mountains, about 50 km to the north; dark gabbro cobbles from the Cooley Mountains; and banded siltstone from the shore at Carlingford Lough.[22] The stones may have been transported to Newgrange by sea and up the River Boyne by fastening them to the underside of boats at low tide.[23][24]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newgrange

All this was a lot of trouble to go to, so I think we can concede that Newgrange, whatever it was for beyond simply housing the dead, was of considerable importance to the people who built it. If nothing else, look what they had to do to get those huge slabs of rock up the hill:

log-rolling.jpg

Then there's the following fact, which blows my mind:

None of the structural slabs were quarried, for they show signs of having been naturally weathered, so they must have been collected and then transported somehow largely uphill to the Newgrange site.[21]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newgrange

It was the Stone Age. People in many places knew how to quarry stone, from Catalan to Wales. Are we to assume that these people didn't know how to quarry stone? There's a neolithic quarry in Knocknarea, which seems to make it unlikely that Newgrange's builders didn't know how to quarry stone.

If they did know how, why the blazes didn't they? Why source naturally weathered stone?

All questions I'd love to know the answers to, and probably never will.

I'm also fascinated by the art:

newgrange1.jpg

That's a stone at the entrance.

newgrange2.jpg

newgrange3.jpg

The art seems to have been done by many different people, because it was done at different levels of skill.

Here are some pictures of what Newgrange looked like before excavation. This is from 1910:

Newgrange-entrance.jpg

This is from the 1930s:

newgrange4.jpg

And this is from the 50s. Excavation began in the 1960s.

Newgrange-cow.jpg

The striking quartz facing of Newgrange is, by the way, extremely controversial. It wasn't in the structure as the archaeologists found it. Rather, they found quartz crystal scattered thickly in front of the kerbstones. The head archaeologist believed that represented a collapsed wall:

Probably the greatest change seen during these restoration works was the addition of 3 m high quartz wall to the front of the tomb. This addition to the monument was based on M. J. O’Kelly’s interpretation of the excavation results. He had discovered a thick layer of quartz stones spreading out in front of the tomb kerbstones for a distance of approximately 7 m, which he believed represented the remains of a collapsed wall. Thus on his advice a quartz facade was added to the tomb. However, as the quartz wall was deemed too unstable to support the weight of the cairn on its own, a 4 m high, reinforced steel and concrete wall had to be erected behind it. The quartz stones were then embedded into the concrete.

http://irisharchaeology.ie/2012/12/images-of-newgrange-through-the-ages/

I was with O'Kelly right up to the part about the quartz wall not being able to support the weight of the cairn. If that's true now, wouldn't it have been true then? And if it were true then, isn't it likely that they didn't have one?

Maybe that's why it collapsed!

Something New
Try_Something_New_for_30_Days.jpg

I'm very fond of the artist Steven Kenny. It's one of those things where I feel a small pang when I see another wonderful work bought, and know I'll never have it. I don't often feel that way about material things--usually only antiquarian book fairs can bring that out in me. I get upset that I can't go places and experience things, generally, not that I can't own objects.

But I really love his paintings. He's not new--he's been painting since the early 90s--but these are his newest paintings:

stevenkenny1.jpg

stevenkenny2.jpg

stevenkenny3.jpg

stevenkenny4.png

I don't like every bit of surrealism I've ever seen, but I like his.

Something Borrowed
student_handing_book_2.JPG

This is the weirdest loanword I've ever heard of: we get the word "alcohol" from Arabic.

So, how did we end up borrowing the term for liquor from a culture that doesn’t even drink? According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word comes from the old Arabic word for eyeliner, “al-kuhul.” In those days, “kohl” was made of finely powdered antimony produced by the chemical process of sublimation:

http://www.k-international.com/blog/10-surprising-words-the-english-lang...

OK, how did we get from eyeliner to my beer?

“Powdered cosmetic” was the earliest sense in English; definition broadened 1670s to “any sublimated substance, the pure spirit of anything,” including liquids.”

All right, the English of the Restoration were just plain weird. How do you get from "powdered cosmetic" to "the pure spirit of anything?" Maybe it was based on the process the substance was subjected to. But it seems weird as hell to me!

OK, just done a bit more research, and I think I found the missing step. It wasn't till the 18th century that the British were using the word to refer to drink:

Paracelsus (1493-1541) used the word to refer to a fine powder but also a volatile liquid. By 1670s it was being used in English for "any sublimated substance, the pure spirit of anything," including liquids. Sense of "intoxicating ingredient in strong liquor" is first recorded 1753, short for alcohol of wine, which was extended to "the intoxicating element in fermented liquors."

https://www.etymonline.com/word/alcohol

The intervening step of "alcohol of wine," or the active ingredient in wine, makes it less counterintuitive to me.

Something Blue
39ff6df17a10ac5479324d59bbd75453.jpg

Apparently, there is a Russian blue cat:

russianblue2.jpg

Russian Blues are plush short-haired, shimmering pale blue-gray cats with emerald green eyes. Guard hairs are distinctly silver-tipped giving the cat a silvery sheen or lustrous appearance...They develop close bonds with their owners and are sought out as pets due to their personalities, beauty and coat. It is their short, dense coat which has been the hallmark of the Russian breed for more than a century. The dense coat stands out from the body and one can draw patterns in the coat that will stay until one smoothes them out again. They are also considered to be hypoallergenic.

The "blue" color comes from a recessive gene that creates a diluted appearance of black fur. As with many supposedly "blue" animals and plants, they look more gray, or perhaps silver, to me, than blue. But your mileage may vary. They are, at any rate, beautiful:

russian blue cat.jpg

This one has a blue tint.

russianblue1.jpg

And this kitten certainly does!

russianblue3.jpg

But I'm not so sure about this kitty.

Dear gods, I have entered the realm of internet cat pictures!

How are you all today?

Share
up
0 users have voted.

Comments

Azazello's picture

The moon was already 3/4 covered in shadow when I got up at 5:30. It's covered now and still about four fingers above the horizon.

up
0 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

Lookout's picture

Newgrange or bru na boinne is actually one of the more recent complexes.

20 Newgrange (13).jpg

Oddly enough, they get older as you go west. Carrowmore the oldest of the major complexes.
40 Ireland's passage tombs.jpg

West of Carrowmore (and Sligo) is Ceide Fields...a prehistoric network of farm fields. What blows my mind is bringing boats with cattle to NW Ireland 5000 years ago.
70 Ceide Fields (2).jpg

Thanks for the reminder of these ancient sites, CSTMS.

As to astronomical events, did any of you see the lunar eclipse this morning? The moon set before we could see it here. Should be happening now out west.

So it was a blue, blood, supermoon. Does that mean it is aristocratic?
Definition of blue blood
1 \ˈblü-ˈbləd\ : membership in a noble or socially prominent family

Here's hoping your day is full of blue skies and happiness.

up
0 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lookout I guess that's why they called it New Grange? As opposed to all the older granges?

Thanks for all the info on the additional burial sites. I find these neolithic folks fascinating.

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

gulfgal98's picture

from your Wednesday posts, CSTMS. But filed under something old for me is a Russian blue cat. Many years ago, I had a cat named Lilah who was at least part Russian blue. Apparently, a Russian blue cat got out and spread its genes all over Tallahassee many years ago. Lilah was a gorgeous cat with a beautiful double coat that shimmered in the sunlight, but she was not the most social of beings. She lived to the ripe old age of 17.

up
0 users have voted.

Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@gulfgal98 I have a black Bengal--at least she's part black Bengal, because she glitters--who is 18. Hopefully will make it to 20, despite a couple of diseases!

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

riverlover's picture

to cairns. Her name is Skya, allusion to the Outer Hebrides. I have realized she is a dwarf, short legs but a bouncy girl. Cairn terriers have larger front paws than rear. Myth has it that they were bred to clean cairns of vermin. AFAIK she is still a virgin there.

up
0 users have voted.

Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

enhydra lutris's picture

We are always amazed at the skill with which the ancients did these alignments, but that's because we assume that they computed them out from astronomical tables or such like we would and do. Probably not. Take a stick and put it vertically into the ground. See and mark and measure the shadow at the target date/event. Build to that, right there and it is all congruent triangles 3 measure sicks high and 4 long, or 9 and 12, or 18 and 24, etc.

Similarly but differently, we don't give them credit for intelligence. We always look at it from the perspective of "how would ignorant, unsophisticated primitive idiots move rocks?" and then try to figure that out using simple "rules" like "well, they're idiots, so they use brute force". They knew their environment and materials, they built rafts and even boats. A rock such as that depicted can be elevated vertically using cribbing with minimal energy. It can then be slid "down" a ramp to a point well uphill from its initial position. Cary the cribbing and ramp materials to the new location and repeat. All you need to do is rock the stone alternatively to front, back, left and right and insert the cribbing . The rock's shape provides leverage.

FWIW, I think all of the hummingbirds are depictions of real ones even though the piece is surreal.

A fun and provocative OT today.

up
0 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@enhydra lutris I don't really understand what you mean about cribbing and ramps. (Not as smart as the ancients, which I have often suspected!)

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

earthling1's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
It's not that you can't understand.
We are all a product of our environment. You just have to be there.
North and South American indians were thought unintelligent and backward because they didn't grasp the concept of the wheel. But they had no draft animals to pull a cart or wagon.
On the plus side, they had no reason to build roads. But they did build many canals.

up
0 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

enhydra lutris's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal @Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
Stand it on end with the edges of the base running in the cardinal directions. Tilt it a bit north and put a stick under the south end a bit north of the edge. Now tilt it south and put a stick under the north end a bit south of the edge. Tilt west and put a stick under the east and tilt east and put a stick under the west. The box is now elevated. Repeat many times and the box is well elevated. The sticks, in this process, or when something supported by such a stack of sticks, are called cribbing.

OK, now you have your box of crackers a foot high. Make your last layer of cribbing include many east-west oriented sticks instead of just 2. Take sticks, rocks, dirt, etc and build a ramp up from the ground north of the box to the bottom front of the box and touching it. Push the box to the north, keeping some southward force on the upper edge of the north face o keep it from falling over and you should be able to move it down the ramp to ground level where the ramp started.

OK, now do this on a hill.

Hill top
| \
| \
| \
| \
| \
| ____Hill bottom____BOX_____________

Hill top
| \
| \ ____________BOX
| \ __________/ Ramp cribbing
| \ cribbing
| \ cribbing
| ____Hill bottom___cribbing___________

In reality, the ramp would slope very gradually down from the box until it met the hill, lower than the box but well higher than the hill bottom. Also, it would be supported continuously from the box to the hill, extending down to the hill face or hill bottom as the case may be. Replace BOX with big mutha rock.

edited to try to fix crude graphic killed by auto - reformatting

up
0 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

enhydra lutris's picture

@enhydra lutris
T he back slashes should be offset progressively further to the right as they descend so that the lower picture has a stack like

BOX
cribbing
cribbing
cribbing
cribbing

and the top backslashes, etc, align with it.

up
0 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Lookout's picture

@enhydra lutris

Here's a reconstruction
IMG_0533_0.jpg

...and here is a single stone column whose shadow tells time of the year on the the carved stone behind. You stand at the rocks in the foreground.
IMG_0518.jpg

Your single stick comment made me think of both of these.

up
0 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

orlbucfan's picture

I hope the posting of your Open Topic means you are doing/feeling better. Smile Skipped the "Shit On The Union" bloviating. That phrase came from a very clever anti-Orange Dimwit poster. I will be listening to Bill/MCKibbon/Bernie Sanders discussing climate change tonight. It will be streamed live.

I'm going with a best/old friend to see Arlo Guthrie Friday night. I've never seen him, and love his music. Much needed positive reinforcement. LOL

Looking forward to the Meetup. Take care. Rec'd!!

up
0 users have voted.

Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@orlbucfan I'm so glad Arlo Guthrie is still alive and well! I saw him in the 80s. I was a big fan.

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

TheOtherMaven's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
His father died of a genetically-inheritable, incurable disease he had a 50% chance of inheriting - but apparently his coin came up Tails and he missed it.

up
0 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@orlbucfan @orlbucfan still sick, but recovering. The main thing that's left is the cough. It was hell on me last night--I had to dose myself with multiple medicines to suppress it enough to get some sleep. However, the cough and getting easily exhausted is all that's left of the disease, meaning I'm in the final stages of it.

I will let you guys know ten days in advance if I can't make the Meetup.

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

orlbucfan's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal the important thing! Get-togethers/meetups can always be re-scheduled. Glad you are recovering. Bronchitis/flu have been the bad news down here.

up
0 users have voted.

Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

enhydra lutris's picture

all of them today. That is an Islamic prohibition, and Muhammed was born in 570 CE (died in 632). I suspect deeper delving will find some alchemists, Arabic (Muslim and not) and European (Christian and not) having a hand in this terminological evolution. Ideas and words like 'sublimation', 'sublimated substance' and 'pure spirit' of something all reek of alembics and retorts. Vastly different substances could and would often be associated under umbrella concepts of how they were derived or mixed or how they interacted with this or that, similar to the way one can have a tincture of damn near anything..

up
0 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

The working class has gained nothing from Germany’s economic “success,” which was achieved on its back. A small layer at the top of society has enriched itself without restraint, leaving Germany one of the most unequal countries in Europe, with 40 percent of all employees earning less than they did two decades ago.

The strike wave in the automotive, metal and electrical industries is a rebellion against these conditions. The IG Metall union has been forced to call the 24-hour strikes because it confronts a mood of anger and mistrust that goes far beyond the affected industries.

Militancy is growing in other European countries. In Serbia and Romania there have been spontaneous strikes against starvation wages in the auto industry. In Greece, the working class has struck and protested against the austerity diktats of the European Union and the Syriza government. In France, resistance to the labour market “reforms” of President Macron is growing. The UK has seen a series of rail strikes. The strike movement in Germany will embolden workers across Europe in their struggles.

Hundreds of thousands of industrial workers strike in Germany

solidarity

up
0 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@eyo
A Look at Germany's Extremely Unequal Wealth Distribution

up
0 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

mimi's picture

get a degree as to not anger you with my comments. I have nothing, just two things I like to share:

Is Germany catching Trump’s tax disease?

While Germany’s public sector currently boasts a surplus of about 1.3 percent of GDP, that is largely the result of good luck, not good policy. Without low interest rates and a strong labor market, the federal budget would be in deficit.

Aha. That is what it is all about?

Or could you imagine some are missing Wolfgang Schäuble in Davos? My, my, how things have changed.

And if you don't give a rat's ass for what the Euro folks spend their wealth on, then I suggest you spend your money on my little rat friends. I love what they are doing.

2018 – APOPO’s push to clear landmines


180129081635v640xunlimited___apopobriana_46.jpg
Rats-580xunlimited___23aday.png

For many years APOPO and the mine detection rats have operated throughout the globe, speeding up mine clearance, saving lives and getting people back on their land. We first set foot in Mozambique in 2007 and stayed until the country was declared mine free in 2015. The mine detection rats are now deployed and running at full speed in Cambodia and Angola.

May be I should send JtC a love bomb? Make a lasting impact this Valentine's Day with a Love Bomb. https://www.apopo.org/en/gifts/love-bomb/61 @HeroRATs.

First time I make the standing on my head kind of show, asking you to buy explosives to bomb the shit out of the underground mines. That's what reading too much is doing to my brain. Sorry.

Oh, and btw. I am a dog person, but if I ever want a cat, it has to be a Russian cat. Who could resist?


Vladimir-Putin-Russian-president-election-cat-Barsik-campaign-Alaska-633267.jpg
MEOW: A cat is running against Vladimir Putin for Russian President. Barsik the cat’s political career was launched after he became the people’s choice for the new mayor of a city in western Siberia. The feline apparently has lofty ambitions and plans to take on Vladimir Putin in next year’s Russian presidential elections.
up
0 users have voted.
mimi's picture

up
0 users have voted.
mimi's picture

Shutdown Your Electronic Hallucinations, Chris Hedges Empire Of Illusion:

up
0 users have voted.