Desecrated Megaliths:

Throughout history, the remains of prehistoric monuments have been legitimately and repeatedly re-used and re-designed until what we see today is  but a fraction of the original number of prehistoric megaliths that once existed.

The canons of the Church councils of Arles (443-452), Tours (567), Nantes (658), and Toledo (681 and 693), among others, contained passages that condemned worshipping at the pagan sanctuaries and encouraged the Bishops and all Christians to neglect, to hide, to desecrate, and even to destroy them, with the threat of excommunication for those who did not obey. (2)

John Chapman reported that in 1991 barrows in eastern Hungary were destroyed, because "many plainsfolk so loved the view of an unbroken flatness that any deviation from horizontality was offensive to their eyes and they would do their utmost to erase it" (1).

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Christianised Megaliths.

‘A common strategy employed by the Christian Church was the preservation and adoption (i.e. ‘depaganising’ and ‘christianising’), of ancient monuments in order to allow a new interpretation in the Christian sense. By the edict of Honorius (408), it was even forbidden to demolish pagan shrines and instead they had to be rededicated as Christian sanctuaries. In a letter sent in the year 601 Pope Gregory advised King Aethelberht to "repress the worship of idols" and "destroy the shrines", but only one month later Gregory had changed his mind (Marcus 1970), when he wrote to Abbot Mellitus on his departure for Britain, that’..

"We have been giving careful thought to the affairs of the English, and have come to the conclusion that the temples of the idols among that people should on no account be destroyed. The idols are to be destroyed, but the temples themselves are to be aspersed with holy water, altars set up in them and relics deposited here. For if these temples are well-built, they must be purified from the worship of demons and dedicated to the service of the true God. In this way, we hope that the people, seeing that their temples are not destroyed, may abandon their error and, flocking more readily to their accustomed resorts, may come to know and adore the true God.  (2)

Examples of Christianised Megaliths:

Rudstone monument (ancient-wisdom)

Standing at almost 8m metres high, the Rudstone monument is Britain’s largest standing stone. The dominating church and surrounding graveyard were built in such a way that the passer-by could be forgiven for missing the stone altogether.

The name Rudstone derives from the old English words meaning ‘cross-stone’ (4), offering the possibility that Anglo-Saxons may have once placed a cross on top in an attempt to convert it. Similar conversions were performed on several Breton megaliths, such as the standing stone at Duzec.

(More about Rudstone)

In Portugal, there are examples of Christianised monuments still in use as chapels today.

Sao Dinis, Pavia (Left), and San Brissos, Valverde (Right)

The French have found several ways of Christianising their numerous menhir’s.

Menhir ‘Men Marz’ (Left), Lochmariaquer (Centre), Le Mans Cathedral (Right)

Recent examples of Desecrated Megaliths:

Article: By Dilshad Azeem. Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Authorities look away as plunder of Mohenjo daro continues.

ISLAMABAD: Authorities appear to be dragging their feet in preventing the pilferage of precious artefacts from the Mohenjodaro site, according to an official document.
A revised master plan for conservation and promotion of cultural tourism at the Mohenjodaro site awaits the federal government’s nod at a time when President Asif Zardari and PPP senior vice-chairman and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani are at the helm of affairs.
But the Mohenjodaro site, falling under the federal government’s jurisdiction, is regrettably facing a double whammy: non-stop pillage of antiques and severe seepage and damage, reveals the document made available to The News.
Major features of the revised master plan are archaeological conservation, acquisition of land, further excavation and conservation, landscaping and environment development, a tourism monument plan and an interpretation system.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=164200

(More about Mohenjo Daro)

The Prehistoric destruction of the Tara Valley, Ireland. (2009)

The Gabhra (Tara-Skreen) Valley is currently suffering the construction of the M3 motorway, which passes straight through the heart of one of Irelands most sacred prehistoric landscapes – destroying over 100 prehistoric sites in the process.

It is only recently that archaeologists are beginning to view individual sites in terms of their place in the overall prehistoric landscape.

“The monuments around Tara cannot be viewed in isolation, or as individual sites, but must be seen in the context of an intact archaeological landscape, which should not under any circumstances be disturbed, in terms of visual or direct impact on the monuments themselves”

Ref: (N3 Navan to Dunshaughlin Route Selection, August 2000, paragraph 7.3)

Scheduled to open in 2010, the M3’s loudest critics concede much of the damage is already done – 38 archaeological sites unearthed during construction thus far have been carved from the landscape. Among the now vanished finds, a newly discovered national monument at Lismullin that one leading archaeologist described as "the wooden equivalent of Stonehenge."

"All these sites, including the monument at Lismullin, were part and parcel of the greater whole that is the Hill of Tara complex and now they are gone, demolished. The damage is complete and irreversible," said Vincent Salafia of Tara Watch. "Some would say, `Give up the fight. The deed is done.’ But we’re not giving up because what we are most against is the building of the motorway through the valley that is at the heart of the Tara complex. It’s a long ways from completion and there is still time to come to our senses.

Ref (http://www.thestar.com/World/Columnist/article/512894)

Opponents of the M3 have called on the European Parliament and the European Commission to intervene by asking the Irish government to review its plans and conduct an independent investigation into the highway’s impact on the Tara landscape. Campaigners first approached the commission for help in June 2005. The commission subsequently determined that the road construction violated EU law governing environmental impact assessments; however, it has yet to actually submit a case before the European Court of Justice, and that delay has allowed the Irish government and the Roads Authority to continue construction. On April 2, 2008, campaigners came before the EU Parliament’s petitions committee to resolve the problem. An EU Commission spokesman said the commission would be submitting an application to the court in the coming months; however, he said the commission did not have the authority to halt construction in the interim, as road opponents had hoped.

Ref: (http://www.sacredland.org/world_sites_pages/Tara.html)

The Lismullen henge:

Those who are expert in this area and in the area of Tara are of no doubt that this ritual site, really a temple, is part of the extended Tara complex. It is about 500metres from the area of Rath Lugh also flagged as being under threat of the motorway. This is the place about which there was such a furore in January. The NRA is trying to fit the road between these monuments – this was shown in photographs in the past.
This point in the Gabhra Valley is the entrance to Tara. It was more or less expected that a henge would be found in this location. They are usually associated with Passage Tombs. Conor Newman and Joe Fenwick recorded the existence of a straight line of Passage Tombs running from the river Boyne southwards right through the Gabhra Valley and up to the top of the hill. The Mound of the Hostages is surrounded by a henge also, this is 200metres in diameter and is much larger than the Lismullin Henge that is 80metres, still a very large area. These two henges are about the same distance apart as Knowth and Dowth are from each other. No one would doubt that the latter two are related to each other.

It is no accident that this henge is exactly where it is.

(Ref:  http://www.indymedia.ie/article/82427)

What You Can Do

Learn more about the issue and keep abreast of new developments by visiting the websites for the Save Tara campaign and TaraWatch. You can sign an online petition addressed to Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, and join the network of Tara activists through MySpace and Facebook. You can also get involved with the New York-based World Monument Fund, which is working to protect Tara and other endangered sites.

(More about Tara-Hill)

  • Quarrying at Thornborough, England: (2008)

‘The Stonehenge of the North’

Controversial plans to extend a quarry close to the ancient monument in North Yorkshire have recently (Aug 2008), been given the go-ahead for the second time, according to the BBC (Link to article).

The mighty ‘Tarmac’ organisation have highlighted the importance of the Thornborough complex again recently through their plans to continue excavating the periphery of this site. Considering the value of the site, as confirmed by the statement from English Heritage that Thornborough is ‘The most important site between the Orkneys and Stonehenge‘, ones imagination boggles at the fact that contractors have been once again given the go-ahead to continue quarrying.

What seems to be eluding the organisers of this project is that the three henges are not in isolation here. On the contrary, they are the centre of an important sacred landscape, which was used for over a thousand years. The result of quarrying the surrounding area is the wholesale destruction of parts of this landscape, which will be irreversibly lost to future (and perhaps wiser), generations.

(More about Thornborough)

(www.friendsofthornborough)

   (www.worldheritage.org)

  • Rollrights, England: (2004):

April 1st ‘prank’. – Yellow Gloss paint was found the next morning splattered across stones around the circle damaging around 70 stones; In some cases on both sides. The paint could still be seen clearly over two years later, and traces remain to this day.

(More about the Rollright’s)

  • Mnajdra Temples, Malta. (2001):

‘During the night of Friday 13th (Good Friday), 2001 around 60 megalithic stones at the Mnajdra temple site were toppled over and sprayed with graffiti in what was described by a museums department official as the worst criminal act ever inflicted on Maltese heritage… Only days before the vandal act was carried out, the Planning Authority had handed out about 20 stop notices to hunters, ordering them to demolish the illegally constructed huts in the vicinity which were being used regularly as trapping hides. Since the fields close to the temple are being considered as a conservation zone by the Planning Authority, the orders to demolish might have irked some individuals into taking drastic and destructive action’.

Ref: http://www.maltatoday.com

(More about Mnajdra)

  • Avebury, England (1999):

Two of the ancient standing stones at the Avebury World Heritage site in Wiltshire have been damaged by vandals in what may have been a protest against genetically-modified (GM) crops.

The attack happened on the eve of the summer solstice, when Avebury becomes a shrine for hundreds of Druids from all over the UK. Historian Professor Ronald Hutton said the attack was "appalling" and was akin to desecrating a church on Good Friday.

The stones were painted red, green and white by a gang who struck in the early hours of Friday morning. An anonymous caller to the BBC in Manchester said the attack was undertaken as a protest against GM foods. A National Trust spokeswoman said the two stones in question had been "wrapped" to prevent further damage.

Two years before strange symbols were painted on the stones by vandals.

Ref: http://news.bbc.co.uk

(More about Avebury)

  • Cornish Megaliths Vandalized: (1999)

Napalm was poured over two of Cornish (England) most ancient monuments and then set ablaze. In an anonymous letter sent to The Cornishman – the local newspaper – a group calling themselves Friends of the Stone said they had ceremoniously burnt the famous Men-an-Tol holed stone and the nearby Lanyon Quoit. The writer of the anonymous letter to The Cornishman included three photographs of the two ancient monuments covered in burning oil and ablaze with flames.
      The police at Penzance are taking the matter seriously. "We have to assume it is napalm, so I will be talking to the council about getting the sites cordoned off for public safety reasons until the monuments can be cleaned," one of the police officers said. "Until we know exactly what the substance is that was used to burn the stones, no one should touch it, or go near the monuments."
      Cheryl Straffon, a member of Penwith Council’s Sacred Sites Committee, confirmed that the stones were indeed badly damaged on November 5 and that the incident had been reported to the Cornwall Archeological Unit, English Heritage and the National Trust. She said that "Something did occur on November 5 at the Men-an-Tol and discovered the next day. It looks as if resin of some sort has been poured over the holed stone and an attempt made to set it alight."
      When a Cornishman reporter visited the Lanyon Quoit he found three of the upright supports badly burnt by a blackened substance and the huge roof stone also blacked and covered in a sticky mess of black and white gunge.
      The writer of the anonymous letter stated: "You do not deserve the heritage these monuments hold and therefore we intend to act further. By this time next week, Men-an-Tol will be gone. It shall be set up again, correctly aligned with pertinent sacred stones, in my back garden."
Anne Preston-Jones of English Heritage said that she would be inspecting the monuments. "I will be compiling a damage report," she said. "We can’t even remove the substance until permission is given as these are ancient monuments."

Location: Cornwall, Nr Madron. (O/S – SW 4265 3494)
Grid Reference:  50° 9′ 30" N, 5° 36′ 16" W.

The original design of these megalithic remains have evoked much debate in the past, however, following the recent discovery of several recumbent stones lying beneath the turf, it is now realised that these three granite stones were once part of a stone-circle. (2)

Unfortunately this popularity is not without its downside, recently someone tried to destroy the Men-an-Tol by covering it with a homemade napalm mixture and setting it on fire. Fortunately the stones survived the ordeal, but the residue from the attack still thickly coats some parts of the stones

(Click here for Map of site)

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Men-an-Tol: (‘The Crick Stone’, ‘The Devil’s eye’)

The Mên-an-Tol monument consists of four stones: one fallen, two uprights, and between these a circular one, 1.3m (4ft 6in) in diameter, pierced by a hole about half its size in diameter. An old plan of Mên-an-Tol (the name means ‘stone with a hole’ in Cornish) shows that originally the three main stones stood in a triangle, which makes archaeo-astronomical claims for it difficult to support. They could be the remains of a Neolithic ‘tomb’, because holed stones are known to have have served as entrances to chambers. Its age in uncertain but it is usually assigned to the Bronze Age, between 3000-4000 years ago.

Antiquarian representations of the site differ in significant details and it is possible that the elements of the site have been rearranged on several occasions. William Borlase described the monument in the 18th Century as having a triangular layout, and it has been suggested that the holed stone was moved from its earlier position to stand in a direct alignment between the two standing stones. In the mid 19th Century, a local antiquarian JT Blight proposed that the site was in fact the remains of a stone circle. This idea was given additional support when a recent site survey identified a number of recumbent stones lying just beneath the modern turf which were arranged along the circumference of a circle 18 metres in diameter. The recumbent stones are somewhat irregularly spaced but the three extant upright stones have smooth inward facing surfaces and are of a similar height to other stone circles in Penwith.
If this is indeed the origin of the site, the holed stone would probably have been aligned along the circumference of the circle and would have had a special ritual significance possibly by providing a lens through which to view other sites or features in the landscape, or as a window onto other worlds. There have also been suggestions that it may have been a component of a burial chamber or cist. There are instances of burial chambers close to stone circles, as at nearby Boskednan, and a barrow mound with stone cist has been identified to the north-east of the Men-an-Tol, so it seems likely that the site was part of a more extensive ritual or ceremonial complex.
Although the Men-an-Tol is considered to be Bronze Age in date no extensive excavations have taken place. The discovery of a single flaked flint by WC Borlase in 1885 is hardly compelling evidence for an early date whilst the recent works to reset the holed stone revealed only evidence for modern activity.

Holed Stones.

Holed stones are found in many parts of British Isles as well as in other countries of the world; together with holy wells they have retained the ideas and customs associated with them more tenaciously than any other type of ancient sites. Beliefs connected with them are remarkably similar from the Orkneys to the far west of Cornwall.

Holed stones are very rare in prehistoric Cornwall; there is only one other comparable site, the Tolvan Stone near Gweek. All other ‘holed stones’ are much smaller with holes less than 15 cm in diameter; certainly too small to pass an infant through. These stones may have originated as horizontally bedded stones on granite tors, the hole produced by natural weathering processes. They may have been brought to the site to fulfil a specific ritual purpose and perhaps to provide a physical link with the sacred hill. (1)

Note – There are a number of Holed stones in the Maltese temples such as Hagar Qim and Mnajdra. TheGreat Pyramid in Egypt incorporates both Holed Stones and a well into its structure.

(More about Holed Stone)

Tradition – Traditional rituals at Mên-an-Tol (centuries ago known also as Devil’s Eye) involved passing naked children three times through the holed stone and then drawing them along the grass three times in an easterly direction. This was thought to cure scrofula (a form of tuberculosis) and rickets. Adults seeking relief from rheumatism, spine troubles or ague were advised to crawl through the hole nine times against the sun. The holed stone also had prophetic qualities and, according to nineteenth-century folklorist Robert Hunt: If two brass pins are carefully laid across each other on the top edge of the stone, any question put to the rock will be answered by the pins acquiring, through some unknown agency, a peculiar motion.

The Men-an-Tol has generated a wealth of folklore and tradition. It is renowned for curing many ailments, particularly rickets in children, by passing the sufferer through the hole. It was also said to provide an alternative cure “scrofulous taint”, also known as the “Kings Evil” which was otherwise only curable by the touch of the reigning monarch. The site’s reputation for curing back problems earned it the name of “Crick Stone”. The stones were also seen as a charm against witchcraft or ill-wishing, and could also be used as a tool for augury or telling the future; two brass pins laid crosswise on top of each other on the top of the stone would move independently of external intervention in accordance with the question asked. Age old myths of spirits associated with sacred places are echoes from prehistory. (1)

Article: Cornish Megaliths Vandalized: (1999)

Napalm was poured over two of Cornish (England) most ancient monuments and then set ablaze. In an anonymous letter sent to The Cornishman – the local newspaper – a group calling themselves Friends of the Stone said they had ceremoniously burnt the famous Men-an-Tol holed stone and the nearby Lanyon Quoit. The writer of the anonymous letter to The Cornishman included three photographs of the two ancient monuments covered in burning oil and ablaze with flames.
      The police at Penzance are taking the matter seriously. "We have to assume it is napalm, so I will be talking to the council about getting the sites cordoned off for public safety reasons until the monuments can be cleaned," one of the police officers said. "Until we know exactly what the substance is that was used to burn the stones, no one should touch it, or go near the monuments."
      Cheryl Straffon, a member of Penwith Council’s Sacred Sites Committee, confirmed that the stones were indeed badly damaged on November 5 and that the incident had been reported to the Cornwall Archeological Unit, English Heritage and the National Trust. She said that "Something did occur on November 5 at the Men-an-Tol and discovered the next day. It looks as if resin of some sort has been poured over the holed stone and an attempt made to set it alight."
      When a Cornishman reporter visited the Lanyon Quoit he found three of the upright supports badly burnt by a blackened substance and the huge roof stone also blacked and covered in a sticky mess of black and white gunge.
      The writer of the anonymous letter stated: "You do not deserve the heritage these monuments hold and therefore we intend to act further. By this time next week, Men-an-Tol will be gone. It shall be set up again, correctly aligned with pertinent sacred stones, in my back garden."
Anne Preston-Jones of English Heritage said that she would be inspecting the monuments. "I will be compiling a damage report," she said. "We can’t even remove the substance until permission is given as these are ancient monuments."

(Other Desecrated Megaliths)

(Source: The Cornishman. November 1999)

 

Alignments – The circular stone aligns exactly with the centre stone at Boscawen-Un and the church at nearby St Buryan. While this may conceivably be coincidental, the precision of the alignment suggests an intentional positioning of the structures in relation to each other.

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