Friday, August 29, 2014

Building Stonehenge: The Beginning (2 of 2)

 In the 1960’s, when builders were excavating a parking lot near the Stonehenge site, they found four post holes that was believed to hold large pine logs. (These holes are said to be about 10,000 years old.) Ancient peoples traveling the Salisbury Plain would see these posts from miles around. Set east to west, these post holes were considered to be the first evidence of the area’s great importance. 

 Starting about 3100 BCE, the Windmill Hill People took the existing post holes and expanded the site. Using various tools such as deer antlers and digging stones, they dug a ditch and formed a bank, with an opening in the northeast. Call the Great Cursus, this ditch was white from the chalk underneath the grass. Outside this ditch, these people dug fifty-six pits named Aubrey Holes (after their discoverer James Aubrey). In these holes, archeologists have found cremated remains of people. One theory is that the Windmill Hill People was commemorating their Dead and their Ancestors.

 Many people have assumed that the Aubrey Holes had an astronomical use. Following the phases of the moon has been important to peoples in ancient times. One theory is that these holes marked lunar eclipses. Another theory is that the Windmill Hill People were marking particular phases of the moon. Other archeologists have noticed that the Aubrey Holes were aligned north-east and south-west. These holes then lined up with the sun at the solstices and equinoxes. This has lead to another working theory that the Aubrey holes are a calendar of equinoxes, solstices, lunar eclipses, and solar events. The underlying assumption to this theory is that many early peoples followed lunar-solar cycles for practical and religious reasons.

From the beginning of Stonehenge, numerous ancient peoples have added their particular visions to the site. Each succeeding generation built on the previous one’s efforts. We modern people will never know what the original purpose to Stonehenge was, but we can stand in awe of these early peoples who built it. Whatever Stonehenge was originally intended to be, it became a monument to the vision and tenacity of the Ancestors of Europe.
Works Used:
Aveni, Anthony, “People and the Sky,” Thames & Hudson: N.Y, 2008.

 Bradshaw Foundation, “Stonehenge: The Age of the Megaliths,” 2011,, .

 M, Richard, “Stonehenge,” MEgALiThiA, 06 Jan. 2006,, .

 Magli, Giulio, “Mysteries and Discoveries of Archaeoastronomy,” Copernicus Books: N.Y., 2009.

 Richards, Colin, “Rethinking the Great Stone Circles of Northwest Britain,” Orkney Archaelogical Trust, 2004,, .

 Smagala, Suzzanne, “Stonehenge,” August 2007,, .

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Building Stonehenge, the Beginning (1 of 2)

During the Neolithic Period (5000 – 1000 BCE), along the Atlantic coast of Europe and in the British Isles, local peoples built and maintained great stone circles and megaliths. This activity started about 5000 BCE and continued on to about 2500 BCE. One of the last monuments to be built, Stonehenge was constructed in three distinct phases over a 1,500 year period, starting in 3000 BCE. The process of building this monument included digging large ditches as well as erecting the more famous stones. In the case of Stonehenge, three different cultures added their particular refinements to this monument.

When discussing Stonehenge, people often forget to place this monument in a greater cultural context. Nearby Stonehenge is a similar stone monument at Avebury, which was built around 2500 BCE. Meanwhile, there are signs of a similar circle at Durrington Walls, which was believed to be built before Avebury.  These megaliths, built by Neolithic peoples, had multiple uses. The purposes that archeologists believed that Stonehenge was used for included: worshipping the Ancestors, watching the heavens, and marking the cycles of the sun and other astronomical occurrences.

The building of Stonehenge can be regarded in the same light as the building of a Gothic cathedral. From the beginning of the project, the entire community is dedicated to seeing the building finished. Everyone involved understood that this construction project would take several generations to complete. Therefore, the entire community dedicated themselves to the process, and organized themselves accordingly. Some people regarded it as a fulfilling of their religious duties, while for others it was their community obligations. Though the specific vision may have been altered through the years, the newer residents of the community resolved to finish the original project.

The first group to shape Stonehenge into what we know today was the Windmill Hill People. Thought to be semi-nomadic hunters and gatherers, these people also grew some crops. What archeologists noted about these people was their propensity to orient their burials and monuments in the east-west axis. These directions were important to them, perhaps because of the rising and setting of the sun.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Native to Asia and the Congo Region of Africa, Peacock (Blue Peafowl) is a relative of the Pheasants. (The difference between the Two is their plumage–red and gold for Pheasants, green and blue for Peafowls.) As India’s National Bird, Peacock (AKA Male Blue Peafowl) is known the world over for his bright train of feathers. Because of this, Peacock has been introduced to other places, starting in Mesopotamia about 4,000 years ago.

Displaying his train is part of Peacock’s courtship with the Peahens. The longer his train, the more impressed will Peahen be. Unlike her male counterpart, Peahen is chestnut brown and bronze green but has the same crest as Peacock.

Blue Peafowl are Birds of habit, eating and sleeping in the same area all their lives. Peacock even displays his train in the same chosen place. During the day, Blue Peafowl sit in thickets. At dusk, They return to the same watering hole before roosting for the night. As They go to their tree roosts, Blue Peafowl screech to each other.

Known for their screeching, Blue Peafowl hoot loud alarm calls when They see a Tiger. During the monsoon season in India, people hear loud meowing calls from Blue Peafowl. Indians claim that Blue Peafowl are predicting the next rainstorm with their calls.

Blue Peafowl teaches the love of home. They emerge from their area of the dense forest in early dawn to feed at their regular spot and find water. Then They go about feeding on Insects or Mice. At dusk, They return home. To Blue Peafowl, there is something comforting about being a homebody. (Just remember to have a little adventure in your life once in a while.)
Male Peafowl are Peacocks; Females Peahens; Chicks Peachicks.

Monday, August 11, 2014

KOOKABURRA: Resolving Family Issues

The Kookaburra of Australia is the largest member of the Kingfisher Family. Unlike other members of the Kingfisher Family, Kookaburra lives in woodlands instead of near wetlands. Perched on a tree branch to spot prey, Kookaburra will swoop down and seize a tasty Insect in his long, dagger-like bill. Instead of Fish, Kookaburra eats Insects, Worms, and Reptiles.

Known for his distinctive call, Laughing Kookaburra will sing in a loud chorus, “Koo-koo-koo-koo-koo-koo-kaa-kaa-kaa”. Blue-winged Kookaburra sings a coarser call that ends abruptly. Some people have described Kookaburra’s call as a rollicking laugh. What is strange about Kookaburra’s call is how many people are familiar with it, without knowing. American filmmakers often feature Kookaburra’s laugh as background noise for jungle scenes.

What makes Kookaburra unusual is his family life. When his Young are fledged, They remain with their Parents to help raise the next group of Siblings. Kookaburra Brothers and Sisters will raise the second brood, while Parent Kookaburras raise the third brood. If one of the Parents dies, the Children continue to help the other Parent raise the rest of the Family.

What people can learn from Kookaburra is how to be a good family member. Kookaburra can teach you how to resolve many family issues. Learn from Kookaburra what makes for a strong family.
Important Kookaburra Teaching: Laughter and Joy
“He has a distinctive laughing call that when heard makes one feel like laughing along with him. Stirring the joy that lives deep within your being. When you hear a Kookaburra remember to allow yourself to laugh, for laughter and joy are the very essence of our being.” Copyright: “Wisdom of Australian Animals”, Ann Williams-Fitzgerald.

Kookaburra’s Teachings Also Include
“A silent Kookaburra is a far more uplifting sign than the raucous laughter emanated by a chorus of mockery and taunt.” Copyright: “Animal Messengers”, Scott Alexander King.

Monday, August 04, 2014


By JJ Harrison ( (Own work)
Although, They share a common name, Australian Magpie is NOT a relative of Magpie of the Crow Family. Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) is a relative of Currawong. Found only in Australia, Magpie is among one of the most common of local Birds there. Australian Magpie tends to live in one place in a large group.

Australian Magpie has a complex social structure. He lives either in a tribe of about two to ten Birds or in a flock of many Birds. The difference between the two is that a tribe has a breeding territory. Members of his tribe defend their territory from all other Magpies. Australian Magpies who are members of flocks are usually Birds who were unable to join a tribe. These Birds do not breed until They join a tribe. When an Australian Magpie is about two years old, He is forced out of the territory of his birth tribe and must look for another tribe to join. The only way that an Australian Magpie can join a tribe is when another Bird leaves.

Australian Magpies forage by walking over open land, probing the soft parts of the ground, turning over stones, and other hiding places for Insects. Not particular in what He eats, Australian Magpie is quite versatile in eating whatever He finds. He and his tribe will exploit every part of their breeding territory for food.

What makes Australian Magpie dangerous is when He believes that a person is a threat to his nest. Father Magpie will attack by swooping down on intruders and pecking their heads. Australian Magpie is so aggressive in defending his nest that the local governments in Australia issue Magpie warnings and advise people to wear a helmet and carry an open umbrella. Since Magpie is protected in parts of Australia, the best defense is to avoid Him completely.

Australian Magpie teaches how to defend your home through offensive action. You watch and then attack before the home invader can come for you. But do not go so overboard in your defense that you become a menace to the neighborhood.
Australian Magpie’s closest relative is the Currawong of Australia. Although Australian Magpie resembles Magpie of Crow Family, They are not related.