Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Not Such A Mystery

Maybe it’s because I spend a fair amount of time around construction sites that articles like this jump out at me. Quite often, discoveries of ancient structures bring about the question, how did they do it? Which is usually met with the reply, it’s unbelievable or even impossible. According to the excavation director of the wall in Israel, "To build straight walls up 8 meters ... I don't know how to do it today without mechanical equipment … I don't think that any engineer today without electrical power [could] do it."

Which brings me to the mystery of Stonehenge. Every few years a documentary will spring up claiming it couldn’t have been done by humans with their limited technology. Aliens must have helped. Well, this guy demonstrates how it was probably constructed (hat tip to Francis Callahan for the link). End of mystery, right? I doubt it. The question will likely come up time and time again because it seems each generation has to learn it for themselves.

Now, here’s a mystery that really fascinates me, the 2,000 year old battery. Have its origins ever been figured out? And please tell me we didn't destroy it in the last couple wars.

18 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Humans are pretty ingenious. We've seen again and again how they solve problems using different kinds of methods. They had different technologies, sometimes ones that we don't understand well. I figure humans can figure out how to build a wall like that, or a battery.

Leah J. Utas said...

Fascinating stuff. Thanks.

Reb said...

Amazing stuff David. Thanks for the links.

I still want to believe that Stonehenge was raised by Merlin though :)

Of course the Aztec, Mayan and Egyptian pyramids were built by humans, but under the direction of beings from another planet.

All kidding aside, the human race has become so reliant on new fangled methods that we have forgotten that other ways are out there. We tend to forget that hard work is needed to accomplish these things, but hard work was a way of life then.

Don said...

There is an explanation for everything but humans need to find a supernatural behind every door.

David Cranmer said...

Charles, My sentiments exactly.

Leah, You bet.

Reb, I also like the "Friar’s Heel" or the "Sunday Stone" folklore.

Don, Life is far more exciting that way.

pattinase (abbott) said...

These things always fascinate me too. And I also sort of hope for the fantastical explanation to hold.

David Cranmer said...

It's just a human thing. And why David Blaine and Criss Angel continue to do so well. I mean Merlin building Stonehenge is just more exciting.

Diane Elder said...

2,000 year old battery was cool. My brother and I use to watch In Search Of all the time. A bit cheesy now but it always left you thinking.

David Cranmer said...

Diane, I enjoyed the show as well and caught a few on YouTube recently.

Sarah Laurence said...

You brought up some interesting mysteries.

I'm reading a YA ARC Lesley Livingston's Darklight which claims that Stonehenge is one of the 4 gates from the Otherworld allowing fairies to cross over. Another gate is in Central Park, a third in Ireland and the fourth way up north. It's fiction, but a charming idea.

I read an article recently about how GPS's are making us stupid - people are losing their ability to navigate. I'd believe that there were plenty of fine skills, like herbal medicines, which have been lost in modernization. Two steps forward, one step back?

Bee said...

I'm always marveling at ancient structures. "How did they do it?" We'd still be bunking under trees if it were left up to my engineering skills.

David Cranmer said...

Sarah, I have a very good friend who believes in herbal medicines and shuns doctors. And she is pretty damn healthy and never comes down with a cold. Must be something there.

And, oh, how I wanna believe in "4 gates from the Otherworld allowing fairies to cross over."

Bee, Yeah, my engineering skills wouldn't advance mankind much either.

Richard Prosch said...

Great post, David. I devoured CHARIOTS OF THE GODS and similar books in junior high.

MYTHBUSTERS had a pretty good episode where they try to build a working, zapping Ark of the Covenant.

David Cranmer said...

MYTHBUSTERS is one of the best shows. I missed the Ark episode but will look for it.

Maggie May said...

I jumped here and think it's marvelous to be a pulp writer living in Europe.

To the magic.

Barrie said...

I've actually been to Stonehenge (many years ago, pre-children!). It was amazing!!

David Cranmer said...

Maggie May, Well thanks for stopping by and I hope you jump back... and I will check out your blog a little later today.

Barrie, I will make the trip one day.

james said...

'Tiss true that technology gets lost in time either by accident,time or by man's own greed.I have an idea why the pyramids where built but what was the 2000 year old battery built for?what was it to power and at such a low voltage/amperage ?