Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

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Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by grendel on Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:49 pm

11.3 billion, can't drive anywhere cos of the road blocks, nothing to watch on tv but pointless sports, however perhaps it's all worth it.

http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/ufQF7YrQu9S/Photo+Call+Artefacts+Unearthed+Archaeologists/ILEktLi7RQV



Last edited by Grendel on Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:48 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by the barnacle on Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:41 pm

wow - i hope you dont mind but i have put the link on another forum.

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by Lumpendoodle on Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:05 pm

Worth every penny.

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by mr.hertzian cone on Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:39 pm

Thas a beut! It's been in some of the archaeological mags, lovely piece of knapping.

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by Lumpendoodle on Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:22 pm

It seems from the picture that the flint is of a decent working(?)thickness. Whereas nowadays we strive for the thinnest of finished knapped flint.

So would it have been made to use, or purely symbolic or a gift/offering.

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by grendel on Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:45 pm

I would guess the fact it's so thick it was for use. Also I wonder what it is made of, if it's greenstone it could come from the Langdale axe industry.

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by Lumpendoodle on Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:39 pm

So, does that mean that certain areas were busy punting out this stuff for trade on a large(ish) scale? Sorry for my ignorance, but it's an area of knapping I haven't explored much yet.

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by grendel on Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:22 pm

I've forgotten the figure but a survey of all the axes found in Britain revealed a large amount all came from this industry. Langdale Cumbria was to Neolithic axes what sheffield was once to steel.

Been meaning to upload this vid to our channel for a while.


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Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by Lumpendoodle on Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:11 am

Hadn't seen that one before.

I do have a couple of thoughts though. Would this really be a right of passage thing, with everyone making their own axes, or do you think there is more chance that a good trade was going on with other tribes in the area.

I know I'm a bit cynical about everything being given a ritual slant, but it I've always felt we under rate the amount of trading that must have went on.

If you know where the best flint is, and can make bespoke axeheads, then you have a skill that will give you status. Same way that the first bronze workers, or the french(?) lacemakers were well sought after.

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by grendel on Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:31 am

I have to agree, the evidence is there this was a huge export industry, 15 of these axes have been pulled out the Thames alone. A Neolithic major corperation of the day yes, the ritual element? Archaeologists love to wildly speculate...... I mean interpret, and it makes such good tv and newspaper headlines.

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by grendel on Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:30 pm

while looking for a decent how to polish stone video, I know there is one, saw it years ago, but can't locate it now, I stumbled on this, a swedish knapper actually Knapping the pre polish rough out.


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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by mr.hertzian cone on Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:30 pm

This is Marquart Lund again, I think he's german.
I have had a go at making one of these Danish square section axes and they're rather tricky!

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by Lumpendoodle on Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:43 pm

Love the ease and confidence which he roughs the axehead out.

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by Lumpendoodle on Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:46 pm

I know you said that a number of these axe heads have been pulled out the Thames, but do you have any idea how far from home they have been found?

Just curious as to how far thesevtrade routes might have streatched.

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by grendel on Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:07 am

Had a little rummage around Google and found this, best I could find.

from this website
http://www.philipcoppens.com/lakeland.html




Great Langdale
The heart of prehistoric Lakeland, however, is an area where there are no impressive megalithic remains. It was an industrial area, rather than a sacred area. Still, Langdale is considered to be the treasure of the Lake District and has been voted Britain’s most enduring beauty spot. It is a valley that is a few miles to the west of Ambleside, taking in the hamlets of Great Langdale, Little Langdale, Chapel Stile and Elterwater, and which is framed by the Langdale Pikes of Harrison Stickle, Pike O’Stickle, Gimmer Crag and Pavey Ark.
It was not until the 1960s that the valley became one of the last places in England to get mains electricity, but it was in 3500 BC that this valley was one of the most important sites in Britain. The outcrops of hard volcanic rock allowed our ancestors to chip and shape these to make them into durable blades. Waste chippings and discarded and broken blades can still be seen in the deep gullies of the surrounding hills and cliffs.
The blades have been found across the British Isles and Ireland. When Professor Bill Cummins examined nearly 2000 Neolithic axes from finds all over England and Wales, he found that 27 percent were made from polished greenstone volcanic tuff from Great Langdale. The British Museum's 1978 catalogue of 368 Neolithic axes found in the Thames lists 15 from Langdale; they have also been found in places as far apart as Northern Ireland and Peterborough. In fact, most of the Langdale axe finds are in Lincolnshire and the east Midlands. It shows that the manufacture of blades in Langdale was an export industry, supplying the rest of Britain, making the Lakelands not an outskirt of a megalithic civilisation, but an industrial centre.
The greenstone comes from the intrusion of a narrow vein of tuff in the volcanic rocks of Great Langdale. Debris and hundreds of "reject" axes have been found on the slopes of Pike o' Stickle. Even today, Great Langdale is remote and the climb to the source of the stone is arduous. How did Neolithic peoples know that this vein of very special stone was there in such a remote and insignificant geological fault? How did they mine it, shape the axes and then polish them to perfection? Perhaps the most intriguing question is that of distribution. Were there long trade routes over the sea to Northern Ireland and across the breadth of Britain to Peterborough and Lincolnshire?
Richard Bradley has identified that neolithic stone production does not adhere to the concept of the "Least Effort" principle. These and other sites were difficult to access. There is evidence that identical, easier accessible sites were purposefully left untouched, whereas harder to reach sections of the vein were often worked. Why? Bradley identifies that the sites were often important features in the landscape, which might have set them apart and somehow made them "sacred", or "special", and thus identified as an item from which quarrying could occur. In the final analysis, Great Langdale is evidence that the economic principles of today were largely not adhered to by our Neolithic ancestors.

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by Lumpendoodle on Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:52 am

Specialised trades have always been deliberatly shrouded in mystery. That is why we have guilds, to protect the secrets of the craft.

By being secretive, the jobs of the craftsment are kept secure, competition eliminated, and prices preserved.

I am now going to pretend to be an archy for a bit. The flint knappers wouldn't quarry the easily accessible flint because it IS easily accessible, to anyone.

I envisage the apprentices being sent up to the difficult areas as part of their training. It would add an air of mystery and 'tradition', and I dare say spiritualism to the act. Lending importance to it.

The rules of guilds up through to the 17C were pretty strict, and revealing their secrets was serious stuff. So for the flint knappers in that area, I would imagine dressing up the craft in 'sacred' terms would be a means of impressing on the apprentices the importance of the craft.

In a nutshell, tradition and cerimony lends a subject legitimacy.

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by grendel on Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:55 pm

You make a good point a lot of professions have been mystified just to keep how they did them secret. This is a quite modern example,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Chamberlen

Of course later generations can come to believe the mystical stuff made up by the originators of the guild.

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by Lumpendoodle on Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:47 am

And thus myths are born....... Very Happy

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by fl1ntm1n on Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:49 am

sorry guy i`m still catching up. what amazes me about the Langdale axes industry is not the risks they take going up into the mountains but coming down. I know they roughed them out up there, obviouly to reduce weight for the decent but thats still a lump. You wouldn`t want to many of them in your rucksack and thats on a clear day. I wander how they made there forturn? Do you think they were the tradesman, knapper and farmer or do you think this was a seasonal adventure, after all it does get snowed in up there and you wouldn`t want to be exposed in winter?

No wounder myths are born.

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

Post by Lumpendoodle on Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:10 am

It does make sense to me that it would be seasonal. Maybe visiting the area for the flint during summer, then either trading the blanks, or knapping the axeheads during winter for next season's trade.

Good way to fill those long winter evenings.

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Re: Well the Olympics weren't a complete waste of time

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