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Showing posts with the label Prehistoric Landscapes

Exploring the Geology of Peyre in France

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Peyre, a charming village nestled on the banks of the Tarn River in southern France, holds secrets deeper than its picturesque facade. Beyond the quaint cafes and winding streets lies a landscape shaped by millions of years of geological history, waiting to be explored. A Journey Through Time: Layering the Past Imagine yourself standing on the banks of the Tarn, gazing at the towering cliffs that flank the village. These majestic walls are composed of limestone, sedimentary rock formed over 150 million years ago during the Jurassic period. This period saw vast, shallow seas covering the region, teeming with marine life. Look closely, and you might even spot fossilized remnants of these ancient creatures, ammonites and brachiopods whispering tales of a bygone era. As you venture further, you'll encounter evidence of dramatic shifts. The landscape bears the scars of the Variscan orogeny, a mountain-building event that occurred around 300 million years ago. These forces tilted and fol

Unveiling the Enigmatic Stones of Bodmin Moor

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England's mystical Bodmin Moor holds secrets older than time, whispered on the wind and etched in the weathered faces of ancient stones. While Stonehenge may steal the spotlight, the enigmatic stone circles and standing stones scattered across the moor offer an equally captivating journey into the past. A Landscape Steeped in Prehistory: Imagine rolling hills cloaked in mist, granite tors piercing the sky, and the whispers of forgotten rituals clinging to the air. This is the setting for Bodmin Moor's ancient stones, dating back to the Neolithic and Bronze Ages (4500-800 BC). From massive stone circles to solitary monoliths, these silent sentinels stand as testaments to a way of life lost to time. Circles of Wonder: Among the most captivating are the Hurlers , three concentric rings of granite giants guarding the moor's secrets. Each stone whispers stories of astronomical alignments, ceremonial gatherings, or even a celestial calendar. Their true purpose remai

Unveiling Cahuachi: Peru's Ancient Mystery Beyond the Nazca Lines

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Nestled amidst the arid splendor of Peru's Nazca Desert lies an enigma cloaked in sand and time - Cahuachi. This sprawling pre-Columbian archaeological site, predating even the iconic Nazca Lines, whispers tales of a long-gone civilization shrouded in mystery. Cahuachi wasn't your typical city. Unlike its contemporaries focused on habitation, this behemoth of a complex, stretching over 0.6 square miles, served as a monumental pilgrimage center for the Nazca people between 1 AD and 500 AD. Imagine a bustling hub of religious fervor, drawing in throngs of devotees for ceremonies, rituals, and perhaps even astronomical observations. Over 40 towering mounds, some reaching 50 meters in height, dominate the landscape. These earthworks, meticulously constructed from adobe bricks, once supported grand adobe structures, now reduced to whispers of their former glory. Yet, their imposing presence still evokes a sense of awe, hinting at the immense effort and resources poured into this sac

Cerro Pan de Azucar: A Mystical Hill Rising from Pachacamac's Sands

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Nestled amidst the arid plains of Pachacamac, just south of Lima, Peru, lies a captivating landmark – Cerro Pan de Azucar (Sugarloaf Hill). This hill, rising like a solitary sentinel from the golden sands, is much more than just a striking geological formation. It's a place steeped in ancient history and cultural significance. For centuries before the Incas arrived, the Ichma people venerated Cerro Pan de Azucar as a sacred site. They believed it to be a huaca, a place imbued with spiritual power and connected to the cosmos. Archaeological evidence, such as pottery fragments and burial sites, paints a picture of rituals and ceremonies conducted here, honoring nature and seeking the favor of the deities. The Incas, upon incorporating Pachacamac into their empire, recognized the hill's spiritual importance and built upon the existing Ichma foundations. They dedicated the site to Pachacamac, the creator god in their pantheon. Remnants of Inca structures, including terraces and pla

Trencrom Hill: A Hunchbacked Guardian of West Cornwall

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Towering over the Hayle Estuary and Mount's Bay, Trencrom Hill stands as a stoic witness to millennia of Cornish history. Its 175-meter crest, nicknamed the "hunchbacked bulge" by locals, offers breathtaking panoramic views that stretch from the rugged coastline to the verdant inland. But Trencrom Hill is more than just a scenic vista; it's a layered tapestry of ancient settlements, folklore, and natural beauty. Your ascent begins on a winding pathway, and as you climb, the past unfolds around you. The univallate enclosure at the summit whispers of Neolithic inhabitants who built this tor enclosure centuries before the pyramids rose in Egypt. Further down, remnants of Iron Age ramparts speak of fierce warriors who sought refuge within these ramparts, gazing out at the ever-changing tides. Scattered cairns and hut circles hint at rituals and daily life, painting a vivid picture of life long ago. Trencrom Hill isn't just a history book; it's a living cauldron of

The Valley of Stones: A landscape of sarsen boulders in Dorset

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The Valley of Stones is a National Nature Reserve in Dorset, England, that is home to a unique landscape of scattered sarsen boulders. These large, naturally occurring stones are thought to have formed during the last ice age, when freeze-thaw cycles caused the sandstone on the nearby hills to fragment and slump downhill. The sarsen stones in the Valley of Stones are some of the largest and most impressive in southern England. They range in size from small pebbles to boulders that weigh over 100 tons. The stones are a warm, honey-brown color and have a weathered, textured surface. Among the boulders lies a hidden treasure: a Neolithic polishing stone. This polishing stone, or polissoir, is a large boulder with a smooth, concave surface. It is thought to have been used by Neolithic people to sharpen and polish their stone tools. The polishing stone was discovered by a team of volunteers who were clearing vegetation from the valley floor. It is the only undisturbed polissoir to have been

Chun Castle and Chun Quoit: Two ancient Cornish landmarks

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Chun Castle and Chun Quoit are two of the most impressive ancient landmarks in Cornwall, England. Located near the village of Pendeen, they offer visitors a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the region. Chun Castle is a large Iron Age hillfort, built around 2,500 years ago. It is situated on a prominent hilltop, affording stunning views of the surrounding countryside and coastline. The fort is surrounded by two massive stone walls, with the inner wall enclosing an area of around 10 acres. The interior of the fort contains the remains of several roundhouses, which would have been the homes of the people who lived and worked there. Chun Castle is thought to have had a defensive purpose, given its strategic location and the presence of the two stone walls. However, it is also likely that the fort was a center for trade and social activity. The proximity of the fort to the much older Chun Quoit suggests that the two sites may have been connected in some way. Chun Quoit is a Neol

Craig Rhos-y-Felin

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Craig Rhos-y-Felin is a bluestone outcrop on the north side of the Preseli Mountains. Evidence suggests that this site was used as a quarry during the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods, around 4000 to 5000 years ago. Craig Rhos-y-Felin is known for being one of the sites where some of the bluestones that form Stonehenge's inner horseshoe were quarried. But in fact, just one of these bluestones pillars were quarried here. The other site is known as Carn Goedog and it's where the majority of the bluestones were quarried. Bluestone outcrops are formed of natural vertical pillars. These pillars can easily be extract off the rock face by opening up the vertical joints between each pillar. It's believed that the Neolithic people needed only to insert wedges into the joints between the pillars and then lower each pillar to the foot of the outcrop. Craig Rhos-y-Felin is located near Crymych in Pembrokeshire, Wales. © All rights reserved

Carn Enoch and the mysterious rock with tally marks

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Carn Enoch is an ancient settlement on Dinas Mountain. It comprises rock outcrops and a possible ring cairn or hut circle. It's amusing walking around the rock outcrops and finding some interesting formations. A closer look reveals man-made cuts that appear to be very precise. But the most interesting sight is the rock with tally marks. The origin of these marks are a bit of a mystery. Nobody really knows what they mean. Some people suggested that they could be a lunar calendar. Others believe that the grooves were created by shaping and polishing stone axes in the Neolithic period. But there is also an interesting theory told to us by a local. Legend has it that when the ancient pilgrims walked past the stone on their way across the pilgrim path, they marked the stone to let other pilgrims know that they have passed that point. This was their way of communication. Carn Enoch is located near Fishguard in Wales. © All rights reserved

Folly Wood Gorge

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Folly Wood Gorge is a small gorge consisting of upper greensand which was formed during the Cretaceous Period (from about 145 to 66 million years ago). The gorge is very small compared to other gorges in England, but it has the power to impress the visitors thanks to it's beauty. Some of the trees located right above the gorge have their roots exposed, snaking on the surface of the rocks. This natural feature certainly adds to the dramatic scenery of the place. Look closer and you will notice a little cave in between the tangled roots. This cave is known as "The Holy Man's Cave". The origin of this name is unknown. Folly Wood Gorge is located near Devizes in the county of Wiltshire. © All rights reserved

Silbury Hill

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Silbury Hill is one of the largest prehistoric human-made mounds in the world. It's believed to have been built between 2470 and 2350 BC. Its original purpose is unknown. The mound is composed mainly of chalk and clay and it stands about 30 metres high. The mound we see today was not constructed in a single campaign, but enlarged over several generations. The mound was excavated in 1776 by Edward Drax, who directed a group of miners to dig a vertical shaft from the summit to the centre of the mound. Edward Drax expected to find a central burial chamber, but he didn't find anything. The mound was excavated again in 1849. This time, a horizontal tunnel was dug into the mound. Again, no central burial chamber was found. Between 1968 and 1970, another tunnel was excavated. This investigation led to the conclusion that Silbury Hill had three different phases of construction. The tunnels were never backfilled which contributed to the opening of a crater on the summit and the collapsi

Geological Wonders in the Peak District

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The Peak District became the first of the national parks in England and Wales in 1951. The prehistoric landscape attracts thousands of visitors every year. Here we list places that are worth a visit in this amazing national park. THE ROACHES The Roaches is a prominent rocky ridge formed from a thick bed of coarse sandstone of Namurian age, which occurs widely across the Peak District. The gritstone escarpment consists of amazing rock formations which are very popular with hikers and rock climbers. The most famous rock formations are Hen Cloud and Ramshaw Rocks. DOVEDALE Dovedale is a limestone valley famous for its interesting rock formations. The rock formations are the result of fossilised remains of sea creatures that lived in a shallow sea over the area during the Carboniferous period, about 350 million years ago. The rocks were cut into craggy shapes by glacial meltwater during the two ice ages and formed the landscape we see in these days. The caves in the area were also formed d

Impressive Geological Formations in Scotland

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Scotland is well known for its stunning landscape. Mountains, rock formations, caves, cliffs, islands, you name it. The further north you go, the wilder it gets. Here we list 5 impressive geological formations that are worth a visit. THE STORR The Storr is a rocky hill on the Trotternish Peninsula of the Isle of Skye. It's an example of the Trotternish landslide which is the longest such feature in Great Britain. The Storr was formed by underlying sedimentary rocks that collapsed under the weight of the basalt, tipping everything sideways and creating this unique landscape. The area in front of the cliffs known as the Sanctuary, features a number of pinnacles that are the remnants of the ancient landslides. The most iconic geological feature is certainly the Old Man of Storr. KILT ROCK Kilt Rock is a sea cliff so named for the resemblance of a pleated kilt, with vertical basalt columns forming the pleats and intruded sills of dolerite forming the pattern. This beautiful geological

Prehistoric Sites in Somerset

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Somerset is a county in Southwest England well known for its prehistoric landscape. The stunning landscape is composed of rolling hills, large flat expanses of land and an extensive coastline. Here we list six prehistoric sites that are worth a visit. CHEDDAR GORGE Cheddar Gorge is a limestone gorge formed by meltwater floods during the periglacial periods which have occurred over the last 1.2 million years. The gorge is almost 400 feet deep and three miles long. This is England's largest gorge and it consists of crags, pinnacles and caves. The most popular caves known as Gough's Cave and Cox's Cave, were produced by the activity of an underground river called Cheddar Yeo River which emerges in the lower part of Gough's Cave. The caves contain stalagmites and stalactites which can be visited by the general public. Cheddar Gorge is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest known as Cheddar Complex. The gorge is also known for the discovery of Britain's oldest com

Top Places to visit in Northern Argentina

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Argentina is known for its stunning and varied landscape. But in Northern Argentina, the landscape becomes more dramatic and also more colourful. Most of the landscape is composed by desert, valleys, hills and mountains. The colourful landscape is the product of a complex geological activity that started around 600 million years ago when the area was still under water. The different colours of sedimentary layers that compose the mountains and hills have been formed during different time periods. The rocks with shades of green are believed to be the oldest ones. Here we have listed four jaw-dropping places that are unmissable in Northern Argentina. FOURTEEN COLOURED MOUNTAIN (SERRANIA DE HORNOCAL) The Fourteen Coloured Mountain is a limestone formation called Yacoraite which is a largely Mesozoic geologic formation. The mountain is mainly composed of rock outcrops from different time periods and it was created between 130 and 65 million years ago. Dinosaur remains and other fossils have

The Land of Sarsen Stones

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Sarsen stones are sedimentary rocks mostly made up of quartz sand cemented by silica. The stones are found mostly across England, being Wiltshire the county with the largest amount of these stones. It's believed that they were moved to the area through glacial action during the ice age, around 5 to 10 million years ago. Sarsen stones were used in the construction of ancient monument such as Stonehenge and Avebury Stone Circles. But they can also be found scattered naturally across fields. In this post we list 5 places with large amounts of sarsen stones that can be visited in the county of Wiltshire. PIGGLEDENE Piggledene is probably the most famous site of its kind, containing a large amount of sarsen stones scattered across a field. This site is a remnant of a much larger landscape of sandstone periglacial deposits. Many of the stones have been removed in the past to provide building materials in the area. It's possible to see where the stones were worked, split and cut. It&#