Megalith Pictures   Leave a comment

According to the good folks at Merriam-Webster, a megalith is “a very large usually rough stone used in prehistoric cultures as a monument or building block.” Whether once used as buildings, religious icons, burial markers or tools for primitive astronomy, megalithic boulders can be found in every inhabited corner of the Earth. In Skane, Sweden, this large ellipse of standing stones — commonly known as the Stones of Ale — marks the probable burial site of a legendary king. The pointed, elliptical shape of the arrangement is believed to mimic that of a 220-foot (67-meter) sailboat. In other news, that is one seriously mystical cow.

Image Credit: © Macduff Everton/CORBIS

Megalithic monuments go way, way back. At the ancient site ...

Megalithic monuments go way, way back. At the ancient site of Jericho, which many experts believe to be one of the oldest still-inhabited cities in the entire world, megalithic masterworks are now well-known. The British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon and her team began excavating this Neolithic stone tower at Jericho in the 1950s. Built perhaps as early as 11,000 years ago, this megalithic structure is one of the most haunting archaeological discoveries from this storied oasis in the West Bank; it measures 30 feet tall and 30 feet wide (9.1 meters tall and 9.1 meters wide). Check out another view of this ancient wonder in the next image.

Image Credit: © Nathan Benn/Ottochrome/Corbis

Megalithic monuments go way, way back. At the ancient site of Jericho, which many experts believe to be one of the oldest still-inhabited cities in the entire world, megalithic masterworks are now well-known. The British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon and her team began excavating this Neolithic stone tower at Jericho in the 1950s. Built perhaps as early as 11,000 years ago, this megalithic structure is one of the most haunting archaeological discoveries from this storied oasis in the West Bank; it measures 30 feet tall and 30 feet wide (9.1 meters tall and 9.1 meters wide). Check out another view of this ancient wonder in the next image.

Image Credit: © Nathan Benn/Ottochrome/Corbis

Near the shores of the Dead Sea, the unearthed stone ...

Near the shores of the Dead Sea, the unearthed stone tower of Jericho is a reminder of a time when civilization was brand new. According to an interpretation given by the Israeli archaeologist Ran Barkai to the Jerusalem Post, the tower was built during a period when the ancient hunter-gatherers of the Levant were in the midst of making the painful transition from the nomadic lifestyle to the sedentary world of agriculture. Researchers believe the purpose of the stone tower was more symbolic than functional: to impress the local farmers and to unite them as an agrarian community.

Image Credit: © Bettmann/CORBIS

 
Pyramids, obelisks, headstones -- for some reason, the human psyche ...

Pyramids, obelisks, headstones — for some reason, the human psyche seems to make a natural connection between large rocks and the storage of dead bodies. Whatever the reason, megalithic tombs and grave-markers are some of the most common remnants of ancient civilization still found today. This is the Poulnabrone Dolmen — one of these chilling necropolitan monuments — in County Clare, Ireland. Check out another Irish dolmen in the following image.

Image Credit: © Peter Zoeller/Design Pics/Design Pics/Corbis

 
The Legananny Dolmen of County Down is one of Northern ...

The Legananny Dolmen of County Down is one of Northern Ireland’s most elegant megalithic tombs. A dolmen is a particular type of Neolithic funerary monument, usually consisting of one large stone suspended horizontally in the air, supported by a group of smaller, vertical megaliths. A “portal tomb” like this is often believed to mark the resting place of a prehistoric tribal chieftain. Though carefully balanced monuments like this have stood strong against the elements for centuries, it still seems it would be a brave soul who would choose to take a nap under this many-ton casket rock. Check out the next page to see one of the largest quarried megaliths on Earth.

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This is the famous "unfinished obelisk" at Aswan, Egypt. Though ...

This is the famous “unfinished obelisk” at Aswan, Egypt. Though the ancient craftsmen who worked to free the 138-foot (42-meter) monolith from this quarry never finished the job, it remains one of the most astounding monuments in world history. If it had been successfully extracted from the Earth, it would have weighed 1,168 tons (1,060 metric tons), and if it had been successfully raised to its intended pedestal, it would have been the tallest, most massive obelisk in the ancient world. It may be a failure, but it’s one of the most dauntless and unforgettable failures in the history of humanity. Check out the next page to see an Egyptian obelisk that did manage to make the long journey to verticality.

Image Credit: © Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Corbis

 
In the ancient city of Thebes, Egypt, the Temple of ...

In the ancient city of Thebes, Egypt, the Temple of Luxor still bears witness of the chilling, obsessive and absolutist character of pharaonic power. The obelisk you can see at the temple’s entrance is an obelisk of Ramses II. Next, you’ll see another ancient megalithic marvel from near the Luxor complex.

Image Credit: © Tuul/Hemis/Corbis

 
These two faceless megaliths depict the 14th-century B.C. pharaoh Amenhotep ...

These two faceless megaliths depict the 14th-century B.C. pharaoh Amenhotep III of Egypt. Once the guardians of an opulent memorial temple for the bones of dead kings, the Colossi of Memnon now stand blankly in a lonely field near Luxor. Each was originally carved from a single, gigantic piece of stone. Next, you’ll see one of the oldest megalithic structures on the planet.

Image Credit: © Tuul/Hemis/Corbis

 
How old is old? This ruined holy site at the ...

How old is old? This ruined holy site at the ancient Maltese temple complex of Hagar Qim was erected during the Ggantija phase of the island’s architectural history, which took place between 3600 and 3200 B.C. Hagar Qim shows extensive use of the local Maltese mineral strain known as Globigerina limestone. Globigerina is a “soft” limestone, and the site is now considered vulnerable to erosion. Check out the next image to see measures put in place to protect this ancient wonder.

Image Credit: © Robert Mulder/Godong/Corbis

 
Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, is home to ...

Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, is home to hundreds of megalithic humanoid figurines called mo’ai. This particular group of mo’ai is known as Ahu Tongariki. In 1960, a massive tidal wave smashed into the coast of Rapa Nui, ripping these 15 mo’ai — the largest of which weigh as much as 30 tons (27.2 metric tons) — out of their original arrangement and washing them far from the shore. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the stone guardians of Ahu Tongariki were restored to their original formation, as impassive as ever.

Image Credit: © Richard Soberka/Hemis/Corbis

 
Here we come to Stonehenge, which is without a doubt, ...

Here we come to Stonehenge, which is without a doubt, as British comedian Eddie Izzard once put it, “one of the biggest henges in the world.” If you’ve found yourself pondering at one time or another whether, in fact, there really are any other “henges,” rest assured: A “henge” is a real thing. The word refers to a particular type of Neolithic landmark found throughout the British Isles, which includes a circular yard surrounded by a ditch, bearing internal features such as stone columns or wooden posts.

Image Credit: © Steven Vidler/Corbis

 
The Isle of Lewis, off the western coast of Scotland, ...

The Isle of Lewis, off the western coast of Scotland, is home to the stunning marvel of the Callanish Standing Stones — shown here, again with sheep. (Somehow, it seems that prehistoric stone monuments and ruminant livestock go hand in hand.) The Callanish arrangement is an example of what was traditionally called a “cromlech,” which is another name for a Neolithic pattern of vertical megaliths, sometimes surrounding a tomb or burial site.

Image Credit: © Macduff Everton/CORBIS

 
The blessings that can be obtained by passing through the ...

The blessings that can be obtained by passing through the stone’s eye vary from story to story. For just one example, a woman who is unable to conceive may soon find herself with child if she is able to perform the right ritual with the stone and its weather-smoothed gateway on a proper full moon. In terms of the stone’s real, original purpose, we can observe that “holed” stones are sometimes found as ceremonial portals to Neolithic burial mounds, so it is believed that the Men-an-Tol may be a marker for an ancient grave.

Image Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

 
Now that's a slab worthy of the Phoenician god Baal ...

Now that’s a slab worthy of the Phoenician god Baal himself. Some of the greatest quarried monoliths in the history of the world can be found at the Iron Age Roman ruins of Baalbek, Lebanon. Baalbek, as one might guess from its name, was once a place of worship for Baal, among other ancient gods of the Levant and the deities of the Roman pantheon. In this photo from around 1870, the dauntingly massive “Stone of the Pregnant Woman” is evidence of just how huge the Roman building project in Baalbek once fancied itself.

Image Credit: Bonfils/Sean Sexton/Getty Images

 
In the county of Cumbria in Northwestern England, on an ...

In the county of Cumbria in Northwestern England, on an elegant, rolling plain, in view of the mountains Helvellyn and High Seat, lies the Castlerigg Stone Circle. Set into the land around 5,000 years ago, during the mysterious eon of the British Neolithic, Castlerigg is often considered one of the most gorgeous and graceful of all the ancient megalithic sites in the United Kingdom. Many of the world’s most famous megaliths are to be found in the United Kingdom.

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The Xieng Khouang plateau in Laos is known throughout the ...

The Xieng Khouang plateau in Laos is known throughout the world as the “Plain of Jars” — you can see why. Literally thousands of prehistoric stone pots like these, most between 3.3 and 9.8 feet (1 and 3 meters) in height, lie strewn about, in clusters of up to a hundred. Each jar appears to have been chiseled from a single, giant piece of rock — which, of course, means that we’ve got megaliths on our hands. Though some archaeological work has been done on the Xieng Khouang plateau, the question of who built the jars remains unsettled, and much more research is in order.

Image Credit: © Nik Wheeler/CORBIS

 
These titanic stone jars are not the remnants of an ...
Image Credit: © Christophe Boisvieux/Corbis
 
This type of structure is known as a broch. Found ...

This type of structure is known as a broch. Found exclusively in Scotland, brochs are “dry-stone” buildings, meaning they are made not with mortar or structural adhesive, but instead with powerful interlocking patterns of ordinary stone. This particular complex, put together within the Iron Age context of the second century B.C., is the Broch of Orkney, which was probably inhabited by several different cultures over the centuries, including the Vikings.

Image Credit: © Ashley Cooper/Corbis

 
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Posted May 13, 2014 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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