Dolmens are enclosed stone structures that usually consist of a large monolith horizontal stone slap, supported by three or more vertically placed slabs or pillars. they are found all over the world, in the highest concentrations they are present in Western Europe and in Asia, particularly in Russia’s Caucasus region. Archeologists generally agree that most of these stone structures were initially covered with earth or smaller rocks to form a mount or tumulus, though in most cases that covering was removed by weathering, erosion or human intervention, leaving only the exposed stone ‘skeleton’ with its table-like appearance intact.
The word dolmen is believed to be Breton and means ‚table of stone’, The Oxford dictionary claims the meaning to be ‘hole of a stone.’, derived from French, perhaps via Breton from the Cornish tolmen. They are also known as cromlech, anta, Hünengrab (German: Giant’s Grave), Hunebed, (giant’s bed) quoit and portal dolmen. Although the celtic/ breton word is used for this type of structure (which suggest a connection to the Celts and thus the Bronze Age/early Iron Age), dolmens are typically assigned to a much earlier period, the Neolithic. Few of these dolmens were dated properly by for instance radio-carbon dating. Most of the ascribed dates of construction are the result of archeological deduction dominated by artifacts found at or near the site. For most examples of dolmens, the date of initial construction is unknown and could only be estimated by degrees of erosion of the stone, which is inadequate if the time period during which they were exposed to the elements, is unknown. Many of the dolmen (mostly the well preserved specimen) have a small round or oval access opening protruding the front wall stone, also known as ‘Seelenloch’ (German ‘soul hole’). According to the traditional believe, still held within academia, this hole was created to leave a passage way for the soul of the deceased. Other structures have a very narrow entrance gap composed of two stone slaps. We will see shortly why the explanation, that these small openings were for the transfer of the soul of the deceased, makes no sense, these openings must have been simply entrances and the small size of these openings makes it implausible that these dolmens were use for housing or even for storage.
I am going to propose that most of the dolmens were initially built for protection from extreme Earth changes events, primarily from cosmically induced disasters, such as meteor showers, atmospheric meteorite explosions (of the Tunguska type) extreme storms, electric discharge events in the atmosphere and space radiation influx. Only in a few cases, the use as burial sites is supported by evidence of human remains and artifacts, and in these sites this seems to be a secondary use of recent millennia. In many of those cases, even the archeological finds do not make it clear that we are looking at a ritual burial, some of the people were found in disordered position without any precious burial gifts, they had few stone tools or simple ceramic pots with them, some may even have died in the enclosure. Several of the large dolmen mounts were even refurbished with modern military bunkers in WWII.
This is my original hypothesis. I will not dismiss other proposed purposes that have been suggested, for instance the notion that dolmens were astrological arrangements or fertility cult sites; it may suffice to say at this point most of these ideas are not supported by substantial evidence.
What the present archeological evidence does suggest is that the original function of dolmens must have been primarily rather practical and pragmatic, and that ritual or ceremonial use was of secondary importance or an adaption to later circumstances, wherever it played a role at all.
In some cases, as mostly found in Russia, a plug-like round stone that fits the entrance has
survived. An example of such a plug in a Siberian dolmen is presented in the documentary production by dostoyanie planeti.ur. A cone shaped stone plug was also found in the dolmen of Degernau, Germany (see below)
Such stones are suited to seal a dolmen from the outside and thus the structure would be capable of sustaining a considerable pressure wave and/or heat influx.
Scarce evidence of burials
La Hougue Bie on the English Channel island Jersey consists of an 18.6-meter-long passage chamber covered by a 12.2-meter-high earth mound. The site is believed to have been in use around 3500 BC. The mount is so stable, a medieval church (12th century) and a tower were built on top of it. If the mount had been removed by natural processes such as wind or water erosion or human intervention, the megalith chambers would present themselves as a complex dolmen with a very long access tunnel.
The site was first excavated in 1925 by the Société Jersiaise. Fragments of twenty vase supports were found along with the scattered remains of at least eight individuals. Dolmens of this type are generally termed “passage graves“, believed to have been ‘ceremonial sites, whose function was more similar to churches or cathedrals, where burials were incidental’. A modern military command bunker was built at the base of the mount in WWII. A similar tunnel-like dolmen is found in Antequera Spain.
In ‘Magischer Schwarzwald`, Roland Kroell (2004) points out that bones found in dolmens are by some researchers believed to be five hundred to a thousand years younger than the dolmen itself.
Further ceremonial and ritual purposes are ascribed to dolmen, for instance it is speculated whether fertility or healing ceremonies were performed in of around them. It is known that such rites were indeed performed in recent centuries, but as far as the building period is concerned, this is speculation. Even as late as the 20th century, people in western Europe practiced rites for good fortune and health benefits at dolmen- and at other megalith site, even as this was frowned upon or criminalized by church and society. Laws were introduced in the Dark Ages to prevent such witchcraft.
Often, babies were passed through the ‘Seelenlöcher’ of the front stones in the believe in protection from evil spirits and disease. Women who could not conceive, were sent to sleep on a dolmen or other presumably ‘magical’ megalith site. Even today in Schwörstadt, children of the nearby school reportedly crawl through the Seelenloch for good luck prior to an exam or similar, probably with less seriously practiced intent then their distant ancestors.
Even though many contemporaries (including the author), can attest for certain energetic positive effects at such sites, such effects have not been scientifically proven to apply to many people and no one can provide a conclusive model of how these effects would have been manifested in these ancient societies.
In a later article I will delve into the topic of menhirs and stone cycles and astronomical arrangements, the evidence of electric discharges on such stones and the possibilities that some standing stones could have played a role as some sort of ‘lighting dischargers’.
Proposed dates of construction
The dates of the original construction of any dolmens is disputed. They are conventionally ascribed to the Neolithic or the last period of the Stone Age, which for instance in Western Europe is assigned to the timespan from about 5,500 BC to 2000 BC. The Neolithic began in the Levant at 10,200 BC. In Europe the highest concentration of dolmen sites is found along the Atlantic coast from Spain to the British Isles the sites are located as far north as Scotland and Scandinavia, which indicates that these northern sites were not built during the last Ice Age when these regions were covered with ice until around 15,000 years ago and then again during the Younger Dryas. At least some of these Dolmens were indeed used as burial sites at some time and it is possible that several late Neolithic examples were originally built for this purpose.
In the Caucasus region alone, there are about 3000 well preserved examples, most of them have intact access holes (Seelenloch) and in rare cases the plug like closing stone is found. Here, many on the monolith walls have carvings of zig-zack patterns.
I had the chance of visiting most of the different known sites with dolmen remains in Switzerland and southern Germany, were surviving examples of dolmens are relatively rare as compared with the Atlantic European Coast. For at least two of these sites, historical sources exist that document the salvaging of the stone and the re-use as building material in recent centuries, so it can be assumed that in regions that were continuously populated throughout the last 4 millennia, more dolmens could have existed at some point and that these were destroyed and/or salvaged by later inhabitants of the land. Dolmens generally attract less public interest then other megalith structures such as pyramids, obelisks, menhirs and the like, so they are studied less intensively, although they are remarkable in their own right.
Known prehistoric underground shelters.
All over the world, prehistoric underground compounds are found, some of the most famous group being the underground cities of Cappadocia, Turkey, including the famous Derinkuyu, which is partly open for visitors. These systems of tunnels and chambers were unmistakably made as shelters for protection from harmful outside influences. In the mind of mainstream archeology these influences were invading armies. The systems of
tunnels and stairways are equipped with ventilation shafts, storage rooms, rolling stone doors of several tons in weight. Many of the underground cities were not actually below the surface but built into hills and rock faces, much like modern day military bunkers.
The assumption that these underground structures were used in warfare as shelters cannot be supported by any evidence and defeats common sense. In the case of the Cappadocia underground cities, these caverns could only be used successfully as hideouts, not defense bunkers, since they are equipped with an elaborate system of ventilation shafts. If an underground bunker system were left without above ground defense, it would be extremely vulnerable. the ventilation shafts could be clogged and the dwellers could be ‚smoked out of their holes’, to use George Bush’s term. Needless to say, a small space of an average dolmen is indefensible from the inside against aggressors. Underground shelters for warfare were only established in the age of airplanes and missiles. Cave dwellings and bunker sites would not give any advantage for their occupants other then in ’times then gods were battling in the skies’With the knowledge of the geological evidence, we are beginning to see, how what the people’s myth and legends claim to be ‚gods and dragons‘ and the like‚ may often be descriptions of what they experienced during meteor showers, close passages of comets, including electric discharge events. Here comes to mind the story of Yima in the Zoroastrian tradition, who was instructed by the god Ahura Mazda to build an underground enclosure called a ‘var’ in order to preserve a specimen of every species in preparation for a global cataclysm, much like Noah in the Judeo-Christian tradition. In the case of Yima, the event was an Ice Age or ‘great winter’, following battles of good against evil forces in the skies.
There are many examples of underground or enclosed structures, that would be well adapted to be used as shelters in cases of extreme earth changes. But other then the Cappadocia caves, they are usually assumed to be temples or burial sites or locations for ceremonial purposes, for instance the underground temples called Hypogeum on the island of Malta, which have all the prerequisites of underground shelters.
Here is a list of man-made enclosures that could serve for the same purpose;
– Hypogeum on the island of Malta
-The Treasury of Atreus, Mycenae, Greece. Megalith masonry vault (tholos) covered with a mount. The interior is 13.5 m in height.
-Erdställe (singular Erdstall. German: ‘earth stables’), narrow tunnel systems in Germany, Austria of unknown age.
-cliff dwellings in southwest of modern day USA, etc.
-the stone chambers ‘root-cellars‘ of New England especially in Vermont
-‘burial chambers’ in man made caves in Petra, Jordan
-Underground tunnels of unknown purpose in the Egyptian desert near the Giza plateau. One of them is near the Unas-Pyramid von Sakkara 15km south of Giza.
-Osirion at Abydos in Egypt, traditionally believed to be an underground tempel.
If the above-mentioned structures were not intended to be bunkers, then the people would at times of celestial instability or bombardment certainly quickly try to take cover in them.
Here are a few examples of surviving dolmens in central Europe that I have visited:
-In the case of a site discovered in Oberbipp, Switzerland which was excavated in 2012, the bones of about 30 humans were found piled up in the small space of 3 square meters. At the time of its discovery, the dolmen was almost completely buried in the soil of a meadow, only a part of the cover stone protruding from the grass. The team of the Archeological Service, Bern concluded from objects belonging to roman and mediaeval periods, found in the immediate vicinity at the level on the
Dolmen, that the main structure must have been fully exposed above ground until the 13th century, when sediment accumulation began to elevate the soil surface level until the dolmen was covered and thus preserved from destruction by salvaging and weathering. The stones were moved and reassembled in a nearby site.
As far as the evidence for burials is concerned, no bones were found in the “Table des Merchands“ in France.This dolmen has a very large cover stone of 4.1 by 5.7 meters, the stone ‚skeleton’ lie bare until the 20th century, when the tunnel stones and the mount were reconstructed using newly carved stones. The bare table skeleton had been described since the 18th century. Excavations in the 1980’s and 1990’s have shown that the Neolithic edifice was probably erected around 4000 BC, after a stone row of 16 flat menhirs, dating back to 4500 BC, was destroyed. The dolmen seems to have been used until the Bronze Age around 2000 BC.
-The so-called ‘Heidenstein’ is located in Schwörstadt, southern Germany. The badly damaged front stone slap of seashell-limestone with a ‚Seelenloch’ of about 45 cm in width is the only surviving stone element. The remains of at least 19 humans were found in the floor area of the original chamber, only 1 person seems to have been placed in a deliberate burial position in an East- West alignment, the others were found in no organized arrangement. Further, a few stone knives and pierced marble-sized pebbles were found. These artifacts are generally presumed to be burial gifts.
The stones of the side and back walls were reportedly smashed up and the debris was carried off for re-use in road construction in the 19th century, the top slab was claimed by a local smith for the use as sharpening stones. The complete structure was mentioned by chroniclers in the early 19th century and for some time it was even used as a storage shack
by a vintner. The dolmen is dated to the end of the Neolithic at around 2500 BC. The surface areas of the damaged front stone appear smoothed as if weathered over centuries and show no marks of pointed tools such as chisels or hammer. The site is located some 500 meters from the bank of the river Rheine on a gentle slope at an elevation of about 50 meters above the river.
The access holes in the front stones of the dolmens of Schwörstadt, Germany as well
as the dolmen in Courgenay, Switzerland (see below) are both about 45 cm in width and the author (Height 186 cm, shoulder width: 48 cm) was able to fit his upper body just snug through the opening in Schwörstadt (see image).
-In the west of Switzerland, in Courgenay in the Canton of Jura, we find the Pierre-Percée (French: pierced stone) Here, the front slab is also the only remaining piece of this dolmen. As mentioned before, the entrance hole is about the same size as the pendent in Schwörstadt (ca. 45cm). The piece is made from Kimmeridgium- lime stone and is in badly damaged condition. This type of stone can be shaped with pounding stone tools with relative ease as compared to compact limestone or even silicate rocks. Chunks of the conglomerate can be chipped away, indeed, the spaces between the large grains were secured with mortar in a recent restoration project to prevent further disintegration. Again, it is located on top of a low hill as most other dolmen, that are not in vast plains.
-In nearby Laufen, Switzerland, the remains of two dolmens were discovered in 1846 and 2000. Here again, bones of about 24 adults and 8 children were recovered, but no artifacts, weapons or decorative objects that would indicate burial rites. In front of the dolmen, remains of a small house were found. Only one stone arrow point was unearthed in the vicinity. Much of the stones of the two dolmen are believed to have been salvaged in roman times and most of the material was probably re-used as construction material for a nearby Roman villa.
–In Onnens, near Yverdon-le-Bains the stone elements of a destroyed dolmen were excavated after they were accidently found in the course of a construction project. The stones, including the 8-tons cover stone lay scattered, and their reconstruction was performed according to some decree of interpretation by the archeologists. While only 5 of the 8 stone slabs were found, 3 elements were replicated from scratch. As the front stone, including the entrance hole was also made from a new stone, the final appearance of the dolmen is a work involving much speculation, and does not give us much indications as of its original function, all we know it was destroyed in a violent motion of terrain (landslide, earthquake or similar). More interesting finds include a 22-meters long trench in the shape of a coma, which was filled with large stones and a nearby early Iron Age tumulus (hill grave). Further, post holes are interpreted to stem from a nearby settlement, which is a rare find for dolmen sites.
-In southern Germany, we find the reconstructed dolmen of Degernau near the Swiss border. In 1936, remnants of pottery of the Neolithic- early bronze age period were excavated. in 1954, the remains of the Neolithic megalith ’grave’ including the lower edge of a ‚Seelenloch‘ was discovered and dated to 2000 BC. Interestingly, a conical, plug- like stone was found that fits the prospected soul hole entrance. This is a rare find, usually these entrance plugs are only preserved in a few Caucasus region’s dolmens. Unfortunately, the plug is not on display and I have not yet found its current whereabouts.
In today’s reconstruction, this access hole measures only 36-38 cm. On a practical experiment, it turned out to be too narrow for me to crawl through.
The site was reconstructed in the 1970’s. The scattered surviving fragments of the dolmen had been recovered together with bones and stone tools in the immediate vicinity. Here again, ceramic fragments were present, ascribed to the Horgener Culture of the early Bronze Age, but no precious items or gems that would suggest a ritual burial of an important person.
The cover stone weighs 3.3 tons. Again, we find the pattern of damage is not consistent with simple weathering or salvaging projects. No reason is proposed why Romans should toss around giant stones, including a 3-ton slab, without making any use of them.
The dolmen of Auvernier, Colombier at the Laténium in Hauterive; Neuchâtel, Switzerland
This dolmen was moved several times since its excavation in the 19th century and is currently exhibited in the Laténium Archeological Park and Museum in Neuchatel. This specimen is somewhat of an exception as far as its location is concerned. At the time of its discovery in 1876, it was buried in about 2,5 meters of soil accumulation. In about 2300 BC, the lakes water level was 1-2 meters lower then today. From 2300 BC onward the lake level rose about 5 meters and was lowered artificially only in 1868-1891 in the course of a lake water management projects (Erste Juragewässerkorrektion).
This means the dolmen site was either under water or in a swamp for most of the last 4000 years. Although the top slabs had fallen in, the other stones and human remains were found in place in a good state of preservation, which means the sediments were not deposited by a violent land slide or tidal wave. The remains of 20 humans were identified in no particular order.
Only in a few cases, we find other megalith edifices ascribed to the time of the dolmen builders along with the oldest parts of dolmen. These are then menhirs, different stone- rows and circles, i.e. other megalith projects of uncertain purpose, not stone houses or buildings for practical use as we understand it. A great volume of evidence suggests that many standing stones and stone circles had at least in part the function of astronomical observatories, generally, astronomical connections are interpreted as attempts to ‘appease the angry sky gods’ or the like, but they must also have had a simple and pragmatic use of observing and forecasting the movements of celestial objects, such as comet fragments in earth crossing orbit.
At any rate, the dolmen builders left little else, in short, the picture presented by the mainstream thinking is this: The people of the 6th through 3th millennium BC were supposedly living in very simple huts or tents of organic materials, while they went to extraordinary lengths to provide accommodation for the remains of a select few of their leaders.
While it is not impossible for most of these dolmens to be built with Stone Age technology, it must be considered that the sheer amount of time and effort invested would threaten the survival of the group (are we looking at tens or hundreds of thousands of man hours?) Further below, we look at modern day reenactments of megalith construction methods.
When we look at contemporary so-called primitive peoples using stone age tools, we find that they are either occupied with the basic necessities of survival, providing food, shelter and defense or they rest to preserve energy and these very resources. To make a dolmen with Stone Age technology could only increase the chances of survival of the tribe if they had an important practical use. It may turn out, that shamanic rituals or any other mystical practice did indeed constitute a practical advantage for these groups, so the effort was indeed ‘worth it’. But as of today, the real life validity of such uses has not been proven in any way, and most attempt on such a line of thinking can be related to our own modern day state of mind, which is much more inclined to superstition then many self-declared rationalists would like to admit. A popular assumption of some of these rationalists is the claim that stone alignments for astronomical observations were made to determine the right day in the year for planting of any given crop. But we know that farmers don’t plant a crop on a particular rigid calendar day, but according to whether patterns and instinct. For instance, a certain crop needs to be planted after the last frost, this day changes from year to year and is not ‘written in stone’, so the last frost must be predicted.
So, what could be a practical use?
Humans were exposed to cosmically induced natural disasters throughout the ages, much more so then people realize, since we have been living in relatively quiet times as far as celestial bombardment is concerned for the last 2000 years. Clube and Napier made a solid case in their works the Cosmic Winter (1990) and the Cosmic Serpent (1982), that humanity was subjected to continental and global catastrophes by comet debris impacts throughout the ages. About 30,000 to 20,000 years ago, a comet disintegrated and the fragments were captured to form the Taurid meteor stream.
“The crossing of the dense parts of the stream twice a year led to repeated lethal encounters with Earth.”
Clube and Napier also calculated that, because of subtle changes in the orbits of Earth and the remaining cosmic debris, Earth crosses through the densest part of the giant comet clouds about every 2,000 to 4,000 years. When we look at climate and ice-core records, we can see that pattern. For example, the iridium, helium-3 nitrate ammonium and other key measurements seem to rise and fall in tandem, producing noticeable peaks around 18,000, 16,000, 13,000, 9,000, 5,000 and 2000 years ago. (Or in other terms: 16,000 BC, 14,000BC, 11,000 BC, 7,000 BC, 3,000 BC, and around the time of Christ.)
To be mentioned as a side note, Clube and Napier (1984) also predicted that “in the year 2000 and continuing for 400 years, Earth would enter another dangerous time in which the planet’s changing orbit would bring us into potential collision course with the densest parts of the clouds (of the Taurid meteor stream) containing some very large debris.”
(Laura Knight-Jadczyk: The Apocalypse: Comets, Asteroids and Cyclical Catastrophes p.51)
Since the publications of West, Firestone, Kennet et al, beginning in 2007, it has become indisputable that an encounter with comet fragments (most likely of the Taurid meteor stream) caused, at about 10,800-10,900 BC, simultaneously:
-the extinction of 75% of all Pleistocene mega-mammals (heavier then 50 kg) in the Americas and in Europe,
-the sudden disappearance of the Clovis Culture,
-continental biomass burning,
-the abrupt melting of the North American and northern European ice sheets, triggering semi-continental flooding and tsunamis.
-in the same time frame, the Carolina Bays, 50,000 impact craters along the southern East Coast of the USA, were formed and and
-abrupt global cooling set in that was to last for 1200 years, called the Younger Dryas cooling Period.
The second Younger Dryas boundary event at 9,600 BC, went along with an extremely abrupt warming event, probably caused by further comet impacts into the oceans and comet explosions in the atmosphere, the amount of warming, deduced from the Greenland ice core data, was thus far narrowed down to 10C° in 10 years, amounting to 100 times the degree of global warming measured until the year 2000. (see Jim White, University of Boulder, Colorado at the ACU conference 2014).
Such an abrupt heating of the atmosphere brought about a new series of flooding and tsunamis. All in all, sea level rose 140 meters between 13,000 BC and 9,000 BC, submerging the continental shelves of all continents and moved the coast lines further inland hundreds of kilometers. Which means, if there were any human developments along any coastlines prior to 9,600 BC, then it would have been obliterated by tidal waves or their remnants are now submerged off coast in depths of up to 140 meters, where no scuba diver stumbles onto them.
Well, needless to say, to be in a small enclosure that cannot be made entirely watertight, would do no good in case of a tidal wave of several hundred feet and in case of extremely severe earthquakes, the structure is not save from collapse. So, what other type of catastrophe (cosmically induced or other) could it be, that a complete dolmen, including the earth or stone mount covering it, would provide protection against (given it included a plug or door or movable stone slab to seal the entrance)? Atmospheric explosions, touch-down fireball activity, extreme lightning and space radiation related events are valid candidates.
Let’s have a look at a few historical, well documented examples of celestial calamities of modern days, keeping in mind that the last 2000 years were comparatively tranquil here on Earth as far as cosmic encounters are concerned. Nevertheless, minor impact events occur on a regular basis.
-In 2013, the Chelyabinsk meteor explosion in Siberia injured 1600 people, temporarily blinded 20 and opened the eyes of many others to the reality of a continuous hazard from outer space. This event is well documented with video footage. The entering bolide was estimated to have been 12 meters across.
-On February 12, 1947, at 10:40 a.m, an incredibly bright fireball seared its way across the sky of eastern Siberia and rained around 70 tons of iron meteorites onto the rugged landscape. Because it was so well documented, the Sikhote-Alin fall proved a great boon to meteorite science.
-Then of course, there was the Tunguska meteorite explosion in 1908 in an extremely remote and scarcely populated area of Siberia, which leveled an area of forest the size of a
large city (40 km in diameter). A meteorite of only 60 meters in size exploded in an altitude of 15 kilometers, had it arrived 3 hours later, St. Petersburg or Helsinki could have been wiped off the map. The blast wave was felt to a distance of 1000 kilometers, damaged buildings 650 kilometers from the epicenter. The sky was illuminated over Moscow and Europe for two nights; enough so that people could read at night without additional lighting. Due to the inaccessibility of the site, the epicenter of the atmospheric impact was only discovered in 1927 by Leonid Kulik. A small lake had formed but no major crater is visible. Had the site not been located by this expedition, the true cause of the illuminated skies could have been lost to history as the forest reclaimed the area.
In such a scenario, a completed dolmen would be a favorable shelter, at least in the areas not directly in the epicenter.
But successful use of such a shelter would demand that either advanced notice of the impact event was given, or, on the other hand, that there was a standard procedure in the form of a tradition of hunkering down for a few days every year, for instance around June, 30th and October 31st (the later being Halloween, the globally celebrated, ancient festival of the dead). These dates mark the times of the greatest probability of a direct encounter with the debris of the Taurid meteor stream. Earth’s crossing of the stream takes about 10 days each season, whereas the densest part is crossed at the before mentioned dates. Incidentally, the Tunguska impact took place on June 30th as well.
Another example of the coincidence of fire from the sky (or fire IN the sky) and extensive damage on the ground in recent history was pointed out by Laure Knight-Jadczyk, in the Apocalypse, comets Asteroids and Cyclical Catastrophe.
The great fire of Chicago, the Peshtigo fires and a number of unexplained and unprecedented wildfires coincided with the expected reappearance of comet Biela in 1871.
Here are some eyewitness accounts:
“At sundown there was a lull in the wind and comparative stillness. For two hours there were no signs of danger; but at a few minutes after nine o’clock, and by a singular coincidence, precisely the time at which the Chicago fire commenced, the people of the village heard a terrible roar. It was that of a tornado, crushing through the forests. Instantly the heavens were illuminated with a terrible glare. The sky, which had been so dark a moment before, burst into clouds of flame. “
“A spectator of the terrible scene says the fire did not come upon them gradually from burning trees and other objects to the windward, but the first notice they had of it was a whirlwind of flame in great clouds from above the tops of the trees, which fell upon and entirely enveloped everything. The poor people inhaled it, or the intensely hot air, and fell down dead. This is verified by the appearance of many of the corpses. They were found dead in the roads and open spaces, where there were no visible marks of fire near by, with not a trace of burning upon their bodies or clothing. At the Sugar Bush, which is an extended clearing, in some places four miles in width, corpses were found in the open road, between fences only slightly burned. No mark of fire was upon them; they lay there as if asleep.”
“(…) For instance, we have in our possession a copper cent taken from the pocket of a dead man in the Peshtigo Sugar Bush, which will illustrate our point. This cent has been partially fused, but still retains its round form, and the inscription upon it is legible. Others, in the same pocket, were partially melted, and yet the clothing and the body of the man were not even singed. We do not know in what way to account for this, unless, as is asserted by some, the tornado and fire were accompanied by electrical phenomena”.
Hon. William B. Ogden wrote at the time:
“The Athens marble burned like coal!”
“The intensity of the heat may be judged, and the thorough combustion of everything wooden may be understood, when we state that in the yard of one of the large agricultural-implement factories was stacked some hundreds of tons of pig-iron. This iron was two hundred feet from any building. To the south of it was the river, one hundred and fifty feet wide. No large building but the factory was in the immediate vicinity of the fire. Yet, so great was the heat, that this pile of iron melted and run, and is now in one large and nearly solid mass.”
More ancient single events are less well documented, and just as the Tunguska events nearly slipped through the cracks of history, for it took place in a scarcely populated region, so many other bombardment events are discredited as myth and legends. As most of the earth’s surface is water and half of its land is uninhabited, it is statistically probable that Tunguska type objects have impacted several times since.
In another article, I laid out how the mass die off known as the black death was closely connected to and even preceded by decades of extreme geological and meteorological phenomena, fire ball activity and comet sightings.
But it is throughout the millennia we find that upheavals in human history is closely connected to cosmic disturbances.
Among the best known periods are:
– ca. 1600 BC (Thera eruption, collapse of most empires, mass migration, abrupt climate change etc.) This time is marked by a reduction in tree growth in 1628 BC.
“Since its discovery by LaMarche, the 1628 BC event has been recognized as a global event, probably involved in the collapse of the Hsia dynasty in china and its replacement by the Shang dynasty and marking the disturbed Second Intermediate Period in Egypt (…) (Baillie (2006)
–1160 / 1190 BC the Bronze Age Collapse
–3195 BC: global tree growth disturbance. This time also marks the ‘rise of civilization’ (which seems to turn out to have been rather a restart of civilization), the emergence of city states in Mesopotamia and Egypt and the beginning of the Mayan calendar. At the same period, Ötzi, the Ice Man was quickly frozen and remained preserved since. (The radiocarbon dates are given between 3359 and 3105 BC, which is, as a side note, indicative of the accuracy of this method.)
Mike Baillie identified a climatological event in the tree ring data of the year 3192 BC
“This date marks a distinct interruption in the middle of the Neolithic period in Ireland and Britain. The later Neolithic is different from the preceding early Neolithic. Two tree-ring chronologies, from low-lying areas in the east and west of England, both start within a decade of this date. In the Near East this date pretty much marks the start of literate civilization. There are anomalous levels of sulfate in the ice cores in the early 3100s BC and these have been interpreted as ocean- derived rather than volcanic. “ (Bailliey, Mike 2006, new light of the black death p.64)
3200 BC is roughly the conventionally accepted time period of the start of the megalithic cultures in Europe, which also means dolmen building.
“Household names such as the Orkney Islands, Boyne Valley, Carnac, Salisbury and Malta, were all functioning at the same period of time (c. 3,100 – 2,400 BC), at the height of the Neolithic period.” source: ancient-wisdom.com
“Towards the end of the Neolithic period, various elitist Chalcolithic civilizations began to rise in various “cradles” from around 3300 BCE. Chalcolithic civilizations, as defined above, also developed in Pre-Columbian Americas and, despite an early start in Egypt, Axum and Kush, much later in Iron Age sub-Saharan Africa. The Bronze Age collapse was followed by the Iron Age around 1200 BCE, during which a number of new civilizations emerged, culminating in a period from the 8th to the 3rd century BCE” (Wikipedia)
“In about 3200 BC the two earliest civilizations develop in the region where southwest Asia joins northeast Africa. Great rivers are a crucial part of the story. The Sumerians settle in what is now southern Iraq, between the mouths of the Euphrates and the Tigris. Egypt develops in the long narrow strip of the Nile valley.
Rivers offer two main advantages to a developing civilization. They provide water to irrigate the fields, and they offer the easiest method of transport for a society without paved roads. Rivers will play an equally important role in two other early civilizations – those of the Indus and of northern China.” Source
If any of the dolmens were used as shelters, why were they not below the surface?
As most archeologists agree, dolmens were generally covered with rubble and soil to form a ‚burial‘-mount also called tumulus or cairn. In most cases this material was removed by weathering, erosion and/or re-use of the rubble by later generations. Only few chambers are today below the top soil level, in regions with enough top soil accumulation. However, there are a few dolmens in very arid regions where the stones are standing on the bedrock, and no accumulation of ruble is found in the immediate surrounding which makes it unclear what the climate and vegetation presented itself at the time of construction. Apart
from these exceptions, most chambers were designed to remain above the soil level. If dolmens were indeed originally constructed as fall out shelters, as I claim, then why not underground, like modern day tornado or bomb shelters?
And why didn’t the people just hunker down in caves?
In regions with an abundance of natural caverns in stable rock, these caves can provide adequate protection from celestial fall out events, meteor showers, fires by precipitation of comet dust, electric discharges and extreme space radiation. However, if these events coincided with earthquakes, a cave entrance maybe blocked by rock fall debris, trapping the occupants inside. If the upheavals involve heavy rainfall, a cave can be flooded by water running through cracks in the rock, whereas a dolmen in the right location can remain above the level of surface soil saturation for a prolonged time. In short, in the absence of stable natural caves, without the availability of steel reinforced concrete, even a modern-day military or civil defense engineer would probably build a bomb- or fall out shelter in the style of a dolmen with an earth mount and a stone entrance plug. Indeed, several Neolithic dolmen mounts were used by having modern military bunkers added to them in WWII.
Compare this dolmen to a 20th century military bunker:
Bed stead of The Giant of Basham
In ‘Uriel’s Machine’, Lomas and Knight refer to a line in the old testament which had been connected by scholars to the dolmen culture.
One of the principal cities of the ill- fated kingdom of Bashan was Edrei, which was an amazing underground city based on a complex of caves of hard, black basalt rock. King Og was said to have possessed a bedstead of great dimensions described in Deuteronomy 3:11:
“Og king of Bashan was the last of the Rephaites. His bed was decorated with iron and was more than nine cubits long and four cubits wide. It is still in Rabbah of the Ammonites.”
According to Hooke, S.H., Peake’s “Commentary on the Bible”, this ‘iron bedstead’ was a dolmen. The size given for this stone slab of nine by four cubits is said to equal thirteen-and-a-half feet by six feet. (4,5 X 2 meters), which would be a typical size for such a stone in Britain.
Location and floods
All the examples of dolmens that I visited, are in locations either in plains or on slightly elevated positions, on the top of low hills (but never on the highest hill in the immediate area), on top of outcrops on gentle slopes and so on. But they were not built in troughs or on the bottom of valleys or along streams. Only a few are found near lakes such as the dolmen of Colombier near Neuchatel, as mentioned above.
The problem of gradual glacier flow
Now let’s look at the connection of the use of glacier erratic blocks for cover slaps of many dolmens on the one hand and the catastrophic mechanisms that can scatter these erratic over a landscape on the other. To be clear, I’m not claiming, that all or any dolmens were built during the last ice age, although we know since the discovery of Göbekli Tepe that megalith construction was undertaken at least as early as 10,600 BC, i.e. at the end of the Younger Dryas.
The cover stone of the Oberbipp dolmen is a glacier erratic block of granite and is said to have been carried from the Aare Glacier from the region of present day Fribourg, over a distance of 100 km during the last Ice Age. This assertion in itself is problematic under the assumption of a slow transformation out of ice age conditions, as we discussed in the context of the Younger Dryas boundary impact events. Rarely, geologists point out that glacier erratic blocks on flat ground are moved at the end of, not during a glaciation period. Fribourg is at 580 m altitude and Oberbipp at 500 m. An 80-meters-decline per 100 km does not generate any measurable glacier flow. Gradual ice movement on a vast plain occurs in all directions. An alpine glacier requires a decline of about 5 degrees to initiate a steady downward flow and a much greater decline to push along large boulders.
The Oberbipp top stone is an example of how the transport of a big rock at the end of the last ice age happened quickly and catastrophically. Such a rock could only have been transported in an enormous melt water surge, most likely on top of a floating ice block.
Such a process is most obviously exemplified in erratic rocks found in the Channeled Scabland and throughout the north-west of present day USA and Canada. The Big Rock near Calgary, Canada, was carried over a mountain range in one piece and was apparently dropped and thus broke into two major chunks, the boulders still have rugged edges and were not dragged along the bedrock in the relocation process, but they were carried quickly by what must have been an ice block the size of an aircraft carrier, according to Randal Carson.
Certainly the inhabitants of the non-flooded parts of North America, such as the Clovis People, at about 10,800 BC, would have been glad to have a complete dolmen at their disposal as they were buried under a charcoal layer indicative of continental wild fires, the so-called Black Matt, which covered the continent at that time.
The contents not only of the dolmen of Colombier, but also of that of Oberbipp were well preserved as the former remained fully buried in the soil until recently (2012). However, some of the wall stones were at some point slightly tilted to the side due to what archeologists believe to be a flooding event. As the cover stone slab weights 7.5 tons, an extremely violent flood would have to be required for this.
The construction of the dolmen of Oberbipp is ascribed to a Neolithic culture between 3,400 to 2850 BC. (This sets its roughly at the period of the Ice Man ‘Ötzi’, who was found ca. 200 km farther east in the Austrian Alps, see above). However, let’s keep in mind that radiocarbon dating is not an absolute dating method, and stone itself cannot be dated, so it is only possible to determine the time at which the organic material inside the dolmen was deposited. It would be possible to determine the initial building date with certainty only if it can be proven that the used organic material had been unmistakably locked in between two stones since the time of construction. This was not done at this excavation and to my knowledge; this has not been achieved in any dolmen site.
Such a dating was successfully undertaken for instance in Göbekli Tepe in present day Turkey, where the earliest parts of the megalith structures were determined by the late Klaus Schmitt and his team of the German Archeological Institute to date back to 9,500 BC. From this and other examples we know that human cultures were capable of creating megalith structures at least as far back as the beginning of the Holocene. We also know from the study of the catastrophic two Younger Dryas boundary impact events, that any previous megalith site, particularly along the coast line, would likely be destroyed, if they had existed at the time.
The fact that glacier erratic boulders were often used as cover stones for dolmens, as in the Oberbipp example, is also interesting in regard to the possible building techniques for these edifices.
How were they built
I will not dwell on the many theories and speculations on unknown or lost technologies available, although there is obviously much that we don’t know. I refer the reader to a video by the researcher “newearth” about a documentary on Russian dolmen sites. Here we see evidence of what looks like geo polymer artifacts and machine tooling. These findings demand further studies.
The dolmens and menhirs I visited are made from genuine rock. From what we can recreate today, it is indeed humanly possible to construct an average size dolmen with stone age tools, although a spectacular achievement it would be. We don’t need supernatural powers, lost ‘anti-gravity’ devices, alien technologies, time travel and so on to explain the construction of most of the examples at hand. What we can be sure of is that a Neolithic tribe would not survive if they spent generations of labor and resources to build megalith sites for ceremonial and ritual purposes, if these sites didn’t have a very important practical application.
A few of the table-like assemblies interpreted to be man-made might indeed be natural creations, spectacular freak accidents of nature, where a flat erratic boulder came to rest on top of upright stones. The existence of thousands of unmistakably artificial dolmens must have driven the controversy about the ambiguous cases (called pseudo-dolmen). The dispute over the authenticity is also encouraged, as the real scope of the Ice Age floods (melt water pulses) and the ferocity of erratic block transport is still disregarded. Further, academic opinion leaders are still ignorant to the at times violent Earth changes that humans of the past went through and therefore the need for such protective measures as ‘fall out shelters’ have not yet been considered.
Some archeologists like to make fanciful illustrations to explain many of the megalith building processes without providing any hands-on comparative examples. This has so far failed to explain the building of the pyramids and similar megalith edifices.
In the case of dolmens, several models are proposed on how to build a large dolmen from scratch, these are mostly of speculative nature. But practical experiment results also exist. That it is possible to transport large stones with primitive techniques was demonstrated for instance in 2013 by 300 people of the CPIE group in France, when they moved and erected a 11.5-ton-menhir using only wooden rollers, wooden levers and ropes.
These techniques can be combined and used for dolmen elements in sequence. Although it is apparently possible, the puzzling aspect remains that the labor and material invested into the making of an entire large dolmen would be hundreds or thousands of times greater then in this single stone experiment.
Then there is Willy Wallington, a former construction worker, who demonstrates in an EXN.ca documentary, how he moves and lifts an elongated, rectangular concrete block weighting 10 tons horizontally, using only simple wooden supports and ropes. Such contraptions can be made with Stone Age tools. Although a perfectly rectangular concrete block cannot be compared with a roughly shaped stone slab, there is nothing that suggests that the same technique of raising up a flat slab could not be applied on a rough stone.
The technique that Wallington uses in the second step to erect the block into a standing position could also be used to place wall stones of a dolmen under the top slap which is than lowered by undermining the soil ramp.
In any case, whatever can be humanly achieved, the crucial point is whether a group of Neolith or even Bronze Age people can afford to invest such an astonishing amount of time and effort of tens of thousands of men hours, while at the same time being occupied with providing daily food, shelter, and defense.
Since erratic blocks are often used for cover stones, we can consider that the people of the post Younger Dryas period (including the Neolithic), found some of these slabs lying on large piles of smaller rocks and rubble. Thus it could be possible to move upright support stones under the cover stone by digging under the cover stone and lowering the side stones into slots under it, one by one. Than the interior could be hollowed out, thus lowering the cover stone into position. In such a process, the cover stone would not have to be moved in any way other then the ultimate lowering. But these are speculations, the feasibility of this method is only partly supported by the above mentioned examples.
Alternatively, side stones can be erected with the above mentioned techniques and the space around them filled in with compacted earth and the cover slabs can be dragged over the spot and lowered into place. As shown in the somewhat fancifully animation below.
‘Seelenloch’ as entrances
The notion of the Seelenlöcher’ being designed as passage ways for the soul, defeats itself. No concrete concepts has been put forward as of how this should have been operated, whether the hole was left open all the time for the soul to travel back and forth at leisure or whether it was opened at a particular time and than sealed again. In the former case, the procedure would defeat the main purpose of a burial tradition in most cultures, that is to prevent the body from being ravaged by scavenger animals. Almost all cultures dispose of the bodies of the deceased by either burning or burial. Traditions of sky burials, as practiced in Tibet, by which the bodies are exposed to be eaten by vultures are exceptions.
‚Seelenlöcher’ at Göbekli Tepe
Göbekli Tepe, a megalith compound, that dates back to 10,500 BC was termed a temple facility by Klaus Schmitt. One of the main enclosures reveals two vertical carved stone slabs with holes similar to an access hole of a dolmen. However, I do not suggest that the enclosures we see today was anything like a stone roofed vault or underground shelter. The floor plans are too wide to carry a single spanning cover stone, but the creation of stone slabs with such large holes could have been inspired by or even be part of a re-use of an earlier dolmen project. If these stones were at one point indeed used in a shelter like structure, and the soul hole served as an access opening, then they were made exclusively for small people or children. For the holes measure only 11-12 inches (28 – 30,5cm) and 7-8 inches (17.8 – 20.5 cm) in diameter. In comparison, the holes in the front stones of the dolmens in Schwörstadt Germany and Courgenay, Switzerland are both about 45 cm in with and the Author (height: 186 cm; shoulder width: 48 cm) was able to fit his upper body just snug through the opening in Schwörstadt. (see image above)
The picture that is conventionally painted for those sites where human remains are found is this: bodies of the deceased are believed to have been shoved through the tiny Seelenloch and left in no particular position. In other cases, bones were tossed through the Seelenloch randomly in secondary burials. Seldom, precious or decorative objects were given for the journey to the afterworld. If the dolmens were built as tombs, the bleak burial practices are in stark contrast to the monumental labor for construction of such a site. If a tribe went to almost inconceivable lengths to create a burial chamber in which the carcass of a dead leader or venerate person could rest undisturbed indefinitely, it would be expected that the body was placed there in a more respectful position, equipped with precious items or his hunting weapons as was customary throughout the millennia in question.
What we do find, other then bodies piled up in clusters, is rather what we expect to find of people who were trying to hunker down in a shelter. An occasional stone tool and, as for instance in the before mentioned ‘tunnel grave’ of la Huage Bie, ceramic vessels. (one wonders whether some of these vessels contained water or food provisions for the living rather than the dead.
World wide culture?
-Does the coherent practice and style of building dolmens imply the builders were in close communication or even members of a global civilization?
In order to share such similar burial rites or unknown ceremonial practices, two groups of people would have to be in close contact, especially if those practices demand such enormous efforts for the construction of the tombs. As for other megalith structures, the evidence for a global exchange (in whatever form) can hardly be disputed. The pyramids of Giza and Mexico have in common that their individual basic measure units (the sacred Ell and the Hunap respectively) are closely connected to the polar radius of the Earth, which has an almost infinitely small probability of being a luck accident. Such coincidents and the simulations rise (or more likely rebirth of civilization) at around 3200 BC does suggest a global exchange of knowledge in some way.
But if, on the other hand, dolmens were originally built as shelters to protect from meteor rains, comet dust precipitation, electric storms and so on, the building style and the used material would be almost imperative in regards to the availability of resources and technological knowledge of the neolith or earlier times, so an global culture wound not be required to explain their similarities.
Imagine, the elders of the group transmit a living tradition of repeated heavenly firestorms like the Peshtigo Horrors, or Tunguska type explosions and the like, if there are no strong natural caves that can be trusted not to be flooded or to collapse, then what type of structure would Stone Age people choose for making small ‘fall out- shelters’?
Those dolmens that are intact today resemble modern-day military bunkers. In absence of steel reinforced concrete and steel hinged doors,
the use of a large vertical stone slab as the weight bearing ceiling of the chamber is almost the only choice. Another option would be a roof made of weight bearing, wooden beams as in a Celtic burial mount, in a Hogan (traditional dwelling of the Diné), or a kiva (underground ceremonial chamber of different pueblo tribes). A stone ceiling slab would obviously be more suitable for the catastrophes listed above.
Not surprisingly, some of the large dolmen mounts were used in modern times and refurbished with an additional concrete bunker with steel doors in WWII, examples are la Huague and Cairn Du Petit Mont, France.
Bases of wooden poles or post holes are occasionally found nearby. Considering the severity of experienced abrupt earth changes throughout the millennia, especially of the Neolith, we might expect that the builders would have better things to do concerning long term survival, their spending so much time and energy to celebrate burial rites. The living were exposed to not only everyday challenges of “non-developed” peoples: predator animals, weather, hail storms and so on, but also to the effects of a, at times, cosmically active environment, meteor showers, possibly spikes in solar radiation influx due to atmospheric disruptions and other dangers from the skies we discussed above. A dolmen of the type as preserved in Antequera (see figure), equipped with a heavy door, or movable stone blocks to seal the entrance could provide sufficient protection to survive a Tunguska type high altitude explosion a few miles away from the epicenter. If anthropologists are correct, and we consider the precarious circumstances of the time, investing so much time and labor in ritual burial projects would not just be a matter of motivation and priorities, but of survival.
The idea, that primitive people were so superstitious that their obsession with cults and rites gave them superpowers to build such unpractical megalith structures, may be a product of our modern lack of purpose in life, manifesting in general boredom to mask unaddressed fears.
Addendum April 2017
Dolmen Russia showing carved wave pattern on the inside sandstone wall. image: Megalith.org