Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Archaeologists stumble on Neolithic ritual site in Suffolk (2018) (theguardian.com)
41 points by zeristor 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments

“The archaeologists first thought the timbers must be medieval or even Victorian, and were puzzled to find them so deeply buried. But as 30 metres of timber track were exposed, alongside other unexpected objects too, such as the massive horns and skull of an aurochs, an extinct breed of giant cattle, they realised they were dealing with something far more ancient. The timbers were 4,300 years old, according to the first carbon-14 tests, and underlying ones may be much older.”

If I squint I can just see where this is when I look out of the window. The happy thing is that the powercable works (like the A14 improvement in Cambridge) have revealed all sorts of things about the landscape here. The sad thing is that it's such a mess; I really hope they put it back together as promised. The big impact on the landscape won't be from this though, it'll be from Sizewell C being built, which will take 12 years and involve moving a truly vast amount of kit and people on the roads.

If anyone reading this lives in the UK, Digging for Britain (can't remember which episode) did an interesting bit on this digside and should still be on iPlayer.

Available for a few more hours there’s about 10 minutes on it, 15 minutes in:


That’s where I first heard about it, it on iPlayer until 22:00 today though, so not much opportunity for people to catch it.

I’m surprised i didn’t hear about it earlier though, there was some press in June, considering this is is a few shades below Stonehenge

"Archaeologists are nervous of using the word “ritual”"

Because it's archaeological code for "We don't know what it's for" LOL.

Although I do wish they'd just say "We don't know", instead of using code words........... It's not required that we know everything.

I think in this case they do actually believe it was used as a ritual site, which is why they are nervous about using the term since it's been over used before.

Many professions have some kind of "last resort" explanation, which is (sometimes jokingly) used when no one has a clue what's going on. When I meet people with an interesting job, I sometimes ask what their last resort explanations are, and from an archaeologist I got this short poem in German: "Was man nicht erklären kann, das sehe man als kultisch an." ("What cannot be explained, should be assumed as ritualistic.").

What answers did you get from other professions?

Could you please not post unsubstantive comments, and especially not shallow dismissals, to Hacker News?


Well, archaeologists are known to resort to "ritual" or "religious" when no obvious explanation exists. There's always the assumption that older civilizations were guided by more simplistic principles and since religion was a staple of almost every civilization it means this had to stand out and be overly represented in the findings. Religion along with war related stuff.

So while the point above is made derisively it shouldn't be dismissed outright.

This becomes a problem if they have evidence of it being a ritual site but the explanation was mistakenly overused in the past and lost its punch.

It's really not dang, see the other replies in this thread, and search google as well, it's not a shallow dismissal, it's an insight into how archaeological results are reported.

OK, point taken.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact