Guardian stones

Guardian stones (German: Wächtersteine) are standing stones, always occurring in pairs, at the corners of rectangular and trapezoidally-arranged stone enclosures (hunebeds) around a dolmen. They are found especially in Scandinavia, in the German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony (Salongrab), Saxony-Anhalt (Drebenstedt, Leetze, Winterfeld) and occasionally in Holstein (Alter Hau). They are strikingly large stone blocks that form the corner post of enclosures or project above them like antae and lend the stone enclosures a monumental appearance.

Guardian stones are typical of trapezoidal enclosures. In Germany the most impressive examples of trapezoidal sites are Dwasieden, Dummertevitz and Nobbin on the island of Rügen.

  • At the Great Dolmen of Dwasieden, guardian stones of 3.3 and 3.5 metres in height guard the wide end of the dolmen and ones of 1.4 and 1.6 metres high stand sentinel at the narrow end.
  • At the wide end of the trapezoidal enclosure of Nobbin there are guardian stones of 3.3 and 3.4 metres in height, each weighing 25 tons. At the narrow end they are 1.5 metres high and weigh just under six tons.

On the mainland, only a stone block at the enclosure of Kritzow, Parchim, reaches such a height. The guardian stones of sites in the Altmark are up to 2.8 metres high.

At several sites, guardian stones have been so arranged that the corner blocks jut out at an angle from the phalanx of stones. For example, the simple dolmen of Frauenmark, Parchim county, and the passage grave of Mellen, in the county of Prignitz. At the large passage grave of Naschendorf, Nordwestmecklenburg all the blocks at the narrow end are arranged in a concave way, so that the corners are very prominent. The same shape is seen at the wide end of the trapezoidal bed of Kruckow, Demmin county.

Entirely outside the phalanx of the enclosure are the guardian stones at a number of rectangular enclosures. These blocks are anta-like extensions of the stone sides of the enclosure and stand in front of it. Other guardian stones stand out very little or not at all from the rest of the stone enclosure. Examples are the enclosures of Grevesmühlen-Barendorf, Nordwestmecklenburg, Barkvieren, Rostock county and Mankmoos, Nordwestmecklenburg.

A variation of the guardian stone concept are those ends of long enclosures where all (four or five) almost equally high stones are many times higher than the stones along the two sides, as is the case at the Visbeker sites (Visbeker Braut und Bräutigam).

Investigations of the guardian stones of Dwasieden, Lancken-Granitz 1 and Nobbin revealed that the stones were not erected separately from the remaining blocks in the enclosures. Their bases are located at the same height as the other stones in the enclosure and there are or were always links in the shape of dry stone walls, to the other blocks. Although value was placed on especially high guardian stones, in general only glacial erratics were used that had a good surface on which to stand and therefore guaranteed stability. This necessity is demonstrated by the guardian stone of the Dwasieden site, which did not have a good base area for stability and fell over, as the 40 cup marks on its upper surface show.

Significance

The cleared area between the guardian stones of the Nobbin stone enclosure (Hünenbett), down to the bedrock, gave no clues as to the specific use of the place. It is striking that, at the ends of many megalithic sites large quantities of flint flakes were found, that apparently were produced on the spot, because there were piles of them where some of the flakes came from the same source. Such observations were there also at the guardians of Dwasieden and Lancken-Granitz. What is most impressive are the many flakes that on several piles at the stele-like blocks of the enclosure of the expanded dolmen 2 of Serrahn, Neustrelitz county, came to light. They lay together in such a way that their production must have taken place on the spot where they were found, without doubt. Flakes in large numbers were also found on a capstone of the passage grave 1 of Gnewitz, Bad Doberan county. Not one of the flakes has been reworked; they therefore represent the waste from knapping. They are only indirectly linked to the purpose of the guardian stones.

See also

Literature

  • Ewald Schuldt: Die mecklenburgischen Megalithgräber. Untersuchungen zu ihrer Architektur und Funktion. In: Ewald Schuldt: Beiträge zur Ur- und Frühgeschichte der Bezirke Rostock, Schwerin und Neubrandenburg. Vol. 6, VEB Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, Berlin, 1972.
Bare Island projectile point

The Bare Island projectile point is a stone projectile point of prehistoric indigenous peoples of North America. It was named by Fred Kinsey in 1959 for examples recovered at the Kent-Halley site on Bare Island in Pennsylvania.

Celt (tool)

In archaeology, a celt is a long, thin, prehistoric, stone or bronze tool similar to an adze, a hoe or axe-like tool.

Cist

A cist ( or ; also kist ;

from Greek: κίστη or Germanic Kiste) is a small stone-built coffin-like box or ossuary used to hold the bodies of the dead. Examples can be found across Europe and in the Middle East.

A cist may have been associated with other monuments, perhaps under a cairn or long barrow. Several cists are sometimes found close together within the same cairn or barrow. Often ornaments have been found within an excavated cist, indicating the wealth or prominence of the interred individual.

This old word is preserved in the Swedish language, where "kista" is the word for a funerary coffin.

Cumberland point

A Cumberland point is a lithic projectile point, attached to a spear and used as a hunting tool. These sturdy points were intended for use as thrusting weapons and employed by various mid-Paleo-Indians (c. 11,000 BP) in the Southeastern US in the killing of large game mammals.

Eden point

Eden Points are a form of chipped stone projectile points associated with a sub-group of the larger Plano culture. Sometimes also called Yuma points, the first Eden points were discovered in washouts in Yuma County, Colorado. They were first discovered in situ at an ancient buffalo kill site near Eden, Wyoming by Harold J. Cook in 1941. The site, named after discoverer O. M. Finley, eventually yielded 24 projectile points, including eight Eden points, eight Scottsbluff points and one complete Cody point, both other sub-groups within the Plano group. Eden points are believed to have been used between 10,000 and 6,000 years ago by paleo-indian hunters in the western plains.

Eden points are the most common paleo-indian projectile points found today. They have been discovered across the western plain states, including Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, and Montana.

Folsom point

Folsom points are a distinct form of knapped stone projectile points associated with the Folsom tradition of North America. The style of tool-making was named after the Folsom Site located in Folsom, New Mexico, where the first sample was found by George McJunkin within the bone structure of a bison in 1908. The Folsom point was identified as a unique style of projectile point in 1926.

Grattoir de côté

A Grattoir de côté (translates from French as Side Scraper) is an archaeological term for a ridged variety of steep-scrapers distinguished by a working edge on one side. They were found at various archaeological sites in Lebanon including Ain Cheikh and Jdeideh II and are suggested to date to Upper Paleolithic stages three or four (Antelian).

Great dolmen

The great dolmen or grand dolmen (German: Großdolmen, Danish: Stordysse) is a type of megalithic site of the Funnelbeaker culture (TBK) that occurs in Nordic megalith architecture, primarily in the east of what is now German Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and which has two different types of entrance. Neolithic monuments are features of the culture and ideology of Neolithic communities. Their evolution and function act as indicators of social development. The type of site, called Stordysse in Danish, does not follow the criteria listed below. In Germany, dolmens with three or more capstones are described as great dolmens and are divided into:

Great dolmens with an antechamber (Vorraum)

Great dolmens with a porch (Windfang)The porch dolmen is mainly found on the island of Rügen and on the mainland opposite the island. The antechamber dolmen is found southeast of that, between Demmin and the island of Usedom. Several variant, but very rare examples recall the extended or polygonal dolmen types. In Mecklenburg there are 146 great dolmens, of which Ewald Schuldt has investigated 44. There are also two great dolmens in Schleswig-Holstein (Wees, Flensburg county and in Nebel auf Amrum), several in western Lower Saxony, but quite a few in Saxony-Anhalt (e.g. Lüdelsen 3).

Since the width of northern megalith sites is limited due to the source material used, the main design aim of their longitudinal extension was an effort to increase the size of the chambers. Great dolmens reach an average interior size of 14 cubic metres, a scale only otherwise matched by that of the gallery and passage grave. Great dolmens have up to five capstones lying on eight to twelve supporting stones. Several great dolmens were extended using wide piers (Zwischenmauerwerk), on which, in certain cases, even capstones may have been placed.

Like passage graves, great dolmens are a type of layout, in which the centre capstones were sometimes placed in a bay configuration (Jochbauweise, see picture). Whilst, initially, the roof was only built in such a way that its structural stability was based on a three-point support, in the later bay designs, a capstone could be supported on just two uprights (forming a single bay), the three stones being built as one unit, like a trilithon.

The 44 great dolmens that have been investigated were found in various configurations. Five were surrounded by rectangular and 8 by trapezoidal frames of standing stones; 4 were buried under circular mounds, but the majority, 26, were under mounds covered by boulders. In one case, the type of mound was not known because it had been removed. The trapezoidally-framed dolmens (e.g. Dwasieden, Lancken-Granitz I, Kruckow, Nadelitz, Pöglitz, Poggedorf Forest) have guardian stones, sometimes at both ends. The great dolmen of Gaarzerhof, which initially lay within a very short rectangular frame, was eventually covered with a circular mound.

Grinding slab

In archaeology, a grinding slab is a ground stone artifact generally used to grind plant materials into usable size, though some slabs were used to shape other ground stone artifacts. Some grinding stones are portable; others are not and, in fact, may be part of a stone outcropping.

Grinding slabs used for plant processing typically acted as a coarse surface against which plant materials were ground using a portable hand stone, or mano ("hand" in Spanish). Variant grinding slabs are referred to as metates or querns, and have a ground-out bowl. Like all ground stone artifacts, grinding slabs are made of large-grained materials such as granite, basalt, or similar tool stones.

Lamoka projectile point

Lamoka projectile points are stone projectile points manufactured by Native Americans what is now the northeastern United States, generally in the time interval of 3500-2500 B.C. They predate the invention of the bow and arrow, and are therefore not true "arrowheads", but rather atlatl dart points. They derive their name from the specimens found at the Lamoka site in Schuyler County, New York.

Pesse canoe

The Pesse canoe is believed to be the world's oldest known boat, and certainly the oldest known canoe. Carbon dating indicates that the boat was constructed during the early mesolithic period between 8040 BCE and 7510 BCE. It is now in the Drents Museum in Assen, Netherlands.

Plano point

In archeology, Plano point is flaked stone projectile points and tools created by the various Plano cultures of the North American Great Plains between 9000 BC and 6000 BC for hunting, and possibly to kill other humans.

They are bifacially worked and have been divided into numerous sub-groups based on variations in size, shape and function including Alberta points, Cody points, Frederick points, Eden points and Scottsbluff points. Plano points do not include the hollowing or 'fluting' found in Clovis and Folsom points.

Racloir

In archeology, a racloir, also known as racloirs sur talon (French for scraper on the platform), is a certain type of flint tool made by prehistoric peoples.

It is a type of side scraper distinctive of Mousterian assemblages. It is created from a flint flake and looks like a large scraper. As well as being used for scraping hides and bark, it may also have been used as a knife. Racloirs are most associated with the Neanderthal Mousterian industry. These racloirs are retouched along the ridge between the striking platform and the dorsal face. They have shaped edges and are modified by abrupt flaking from the dorsal face.

Round barrow

A round barrow is a type of tumulus and is one of the most common types of archaeological monuments. Although concentrated in Europe, they are found in many parts of the world, probably because of their simple construction and universal purpose.In Britain, most of them were built between 2200BC and 1100BC. . This was the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age. Later Iron Age barrows were mostly different, and sometimes square.

Tool stone

In archaeology, a tool stone is a type of stone that is used to manufacture stone tools,

or stones used as the raw material for tools.Generally speaking, tools that require a sharp edge are made using cryptocrystalline materials that fracture in an easily controlled conchoidal manner.

Cryptocrystalline tool stones include flint and chert, which are fine-grained sedimentary materials; rhyolite and felsite, which are igneous flowstones; and obsidian, a form of natural glass created by igneous processes. These materials fracture in a predictable fashion, and are easily resharpened. For more information on this subject, see lithic reduction.

Large-grained materials, such as basalt, granite, and sandstone, may also be used as tool stones, but for a very different purpose: they are ideal for ground stone artifacts. Whereas cryptocrystalline materials are most useful for killing and processing animals, large-grained materials are usually used for processing plant matter. Their rough faces often make excellent surfaces for grinding plant seeds. With much effort, some large-grained stones may be ground down into awls, adzes, and axes.

Tor enclosure

A tor enclosure is a prehistoric monument found in the southwestern part of Great Britain. These monuments emerged around 4000 BC in the early

Neolithic.

Unchambered long barrow

The unchambered long barrow earthen long barrow, non-megalithic long barrow or non-megalithic mound (German: kammerloses Hünenbett or Hünenbett ohne Kammer), is a type of long barrow found across the British Isles, in a belt of land in Brittany, and in northern Europe as far east as the River Vistula (the Niedźwiedź type graves - NTT). The term "unchambered" means that there is no stone chamber within the stone enclosure. In Great Britain they are often known as non-megalithic long barrows or unchambered long cairns.

Since the 1980s, barrows of the Passy type, part of the Cerny culture, have been discovered in the French département of Essonne in the Paris Basin. These are not, however, megalithic structures.

Neolithic monuments are an expression of the culture and ideology of neolithic communities. Their emergence and function are a hallmark of social development.

Uniface

In archeology, a uniface is a specific type of stone tool that has been flaked on one surface only. There are two general classes of uniface tools: modified flakes—and formalized tools, which display deliberate, systematic modification of the marginal edges, evidently formed for a specific purpose.

Yubetsu technique

The Yubetsu technique (湧別技法, Yūbetsu gihō) is a special technique to make microblades, proposed by Japanese scholar Yoshizaki in 1961, based on his finds in some Upper Palaeolithic sites in Hokkaido, Japan, which date from c. 13,000 bp.

The name comes from the Yūbetsu River (湧別川, Yubetsugawa), on the right bank of which the Shirataki (白滝遺跡, Shirataki Iseki) Palaeolithic sites were discovered.

To make microblades by this technique, a large biface is made into a core which looks like a tall carinated scraper. Then one lateral edge of the bifacial core is removed, producing at first a triangular spall. After, more edge removals will produce ski spalls of parallel surfaces.

This technique was also used from Mongolia to Kamchatka Peninsula during the later Pleistocene.

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