Stonehenge just a lot bigger, and even more interesting

and that's the way it was

In technical terms, this seems pretty freaking cool:

Researchers uncovered 17 new chapels and hundreds of archaeological features around the neolithic standing stones on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, including forms of monuments that have never been seen before.

Brought together for the first time in a digital map of the historic site, the discoveries transform how archaeologists view a landscape that was reshaped by generations for hundreds of years after the first stones were erected around 3100BC.

More here from the BBC.

Among the most interesting finds is a large barrow or burial mound and another henge of massive stones that is apparently much larger than the visible Stonehenge. The findings are the culmination of a years long effort using high tech digital mapping and ground penetrating radar. A lot of the new finds seem to share Stonehenge’s connection to the movement of the sun, which I assume suggests that…

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Travel Photos V: Dublin, Ireland

Dublin was my last stop on a two week trek around Europe, starting in Rome, then Florence, then Paris, and winding up in Dublin. Well, technically the one day I stopped in London so I could see Stonehenge was my last stop on that trip, but that side trip was really making up for missing Stonehenge the last time I’d been there, so it felt more like taking care of unfinished business than another part of my trip. Apparently Stonehenge closes on the evening before the Summer Solstice so that druid-types can do their nature worshiping without tourists cluttering the place up. Who knew? But I loved Dublin, partly I’m sure because for the first time in a week and a half I was able to turn on my hotel TV and watch something in English. Turns out cheap hotels in Italy and France only get local channels on the tube. Who knew? That was the other thing; for what I was paying to get a bed and a shower in Rome and Paris I was able to get a pretty decent room in Dublin. This was a few years ago, though, so I don’t know what the prices are like nowadays.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I posted one of these. Life, moving, and job hunting keep getting in the way. I’ll try to be quicker with the next one.

The Spire of Dublin, which now that I look at this picture probably would have been better photographed from further away.

The Spire of Dublin, which now that I look at this picture probably would have been better photographed from further away.

Footbridge across the River Liffey

Footbridge across the River Liffey

Statue of Daniel O'Connell, an Irish nationalist leader in the 1800s

Statue of Daniel O’Connell, an Irish nationalist leader in the 1800s

Normally I wouldn’t think visiting a college campus would be a big tourist draw, but the campus of Trinity College is pretty beautiful:

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I’m fixated on old churches, so St. Patrick’s Cathedral was a must see:

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Of course, there are certain things you can’t miss in Dublin:

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I thought the Guinness Brewery tour was OK but a little over produced. Drinking a pint at the bar way up on the top floor of the building was pretty cool though. The Jameson Distillery was really very interesting and I would say the more enjoyable tour even though I’m not nearly as much a whiskey (and it’s whiskEy in Ireland) drinker as I am a Guinness drinker.

I have to say my favorite parts of my time in Dublin were the trips I took outside of the city. That’s nothing against Dublin the city, but the Irish countryside is just amazing. You’ve probably noticed the mostly gray skies in each of these pictures, right? Turns out those gray skies mean rain, and lots of rain means green stuff growing everywhere. Again, who knew?

The medieval settlement of Glendalough, which was inhabited as far back as the 6th century, combined my favorite thing, old ruins, with some spectacular scenery:

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One of my last treks was to Newgrange, the site of huge burial mounds that date all the way back to around 3200 BCE. There was plenty more great scenery in addition to the Stone Age archeology:

A burial mound

A burial mound

Another burial mound

Another burial mound

Main burial mound at Newgrange

Main burial mound at Newgrange

Stones placed near the entrance to the main burial mound

Stones placed near the entrance to the main burial mound

The stones around the main burial mound have these swirl patterns on them for some reason

The stones around the main burial mound have these swirl patterns on them for some reason

Some kind of stone emplacement

Some kind of stone emplacement

Remains of a stone circle

Remains of a stone circle

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