Megalithic service stations?

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Megalithic service stations?

Postby Boreades » 12:36 pm

Imagining the purpose, by scenario...

So, there you are, on another day on the megalthic path/track/road, trudging along with your donkey(s) laden with your trade goods. Or your team of oxen pulling another sarsen stone to be delivered to the new henge down the road. It's been a long day, your spouse is complaining (its too hot/cold/dismal/wet/different from home), and your children are complaining (I'm tired, are we there yet).

What you need is a safe place to pull off the road and have a rest or stay for the night. Let's call it a "hill fort".

- It's on the top of the hill so that people can more easily see it from megathic miles away and head in that direction.
- It's probably gaily decorated with banners and signs to let travellers know it's open for business.
- It has a nice big protected space in the middle to park your transport (donkeys on the left, heavy goods oxen on the right)
- You can refill your water bags from the moat.
- It probably has a few shops & stalls from local folks keen to cater for hungry/thirsty travellers (mega burgers special today, local goat a speciality)
- The local AA/RAC/hermit can tell you about the road conditions ahead, and how far it is the next service station (hill fort).

How does that sound?
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby Mick Harper » 12:51 pm

Ridiculous! The last thing you want to do is drag your load up to the top of the hill. Why not adopt the Megalithic Empire solution which says that everything you say is absolutely true except that the 'hillfort' is at ground level. No need to advertise it, it's on the bleedin' road!

However, since the 'rest stop' was built, erosion of the entire landscape has taken place everywhere apart from where all the animals, people etc have created an erosion-proof surface ('wattle-and-daub effect', pp 175-8 of TME) leaving the rest-stop over time to become a hillfort.
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby Boreades » 1:18 pm

:-)

Well, I did put "hill fort" in brackets.
As in, it's not necessarily a hill and it's not necessarily a fort.
Better?
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby Mick Harper » 1:45 pm

Harrumph. And let's not forget that the 'road' is subject to the same effect ie forms a 'ridgeway' over time. TME only says that hillforts are animal kraals but obviously rest-stops (and for that matter markets) will be subject to the same effect.

This general (historical) view of erosion always outrages geographers and Earth Scientists generally because they think of landscapes only on geological time-frames. Even though they know perfectly well that every bit of British erosion has taken place since the last Ice Age ie in the last twelve thousand years.

Of course TME-style erosion requires a fair amount of steady-state in British affairs but an interesting side-light was thrown onto the general situation by last night's Tales of the Wildwood [BBC4, available on the I-player]. Looking at a coppiced clump of trees, the bloke said that DNA testing had shown they were all from the same tree and that the coppicing had started 2,000 years ago and would have required continual human intervention at least once every twenty-five years from then till now. As TME insists: British history is boring, nothing much ever changes.
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby Malmaison » 1:47 pm

If Mick Harper is right, hillforts are unintended as well as untended sites, arising from stables rather than hostelries. Must have been an awful lot of waste, human as well as animal, accumulating from countless journeys so perhaps all this muck is the reason why drovers' roads are so 'green'?
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby Mick Harper » 3:13 pm

Not quite. As TME points out, erosion works both ways. It gets removed from yer and it gets dumped over yer. Drovers Roads are not typically green, they are a bit sparse ie ridgeways. But whenever drovers roads go into (natural) valleys, where erosion can't take place as it were, then Green Lanes get formed since, yes, here fresh erosive spoil is constantly getting laid over manure et al.
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby hvered » 11:45 pm

If all the major trackways were lined with 'service stations' catering for men and beasts, the result would presumably be hundreds if not thousands of putative hillforts.

It would be interesting to know how many hillforts are officially listed, the map we used showing distribution of Iron Age forts in England and Wales (from James Dyer's Hillforts of England and Wales) is about twenty years out of date according to Dyer.
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby Royston » 12:33 am

An essential ingredient for travellers, especially with animals, is water so presumably the top service stations are to be found at springs, wells, river crossings and so on. Having read your Ogbourne walk, dry areas such as chalk uplands (which covers most of central southern and south-east England!) would have been particularly problematical.

It is interesting though no doubt well-known to walkers that when crossing a bridge you have a church on one side and a pub on the other. A landmark opposite a toll-point/ water stop?
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby Martin » 9:46 am

Royston wrote:It is interesting though no doubt well-known to walkers that when crossing a bridge you have a church on one side and a pub on the other. A landmark opposite a toll-point/ water stop?

As with copses (= coppices), springs are more or less eternal. When the Catholic monks commandeered the drovers' roads many of the springs became church property and drinking troughs conveniently placed alongside became church coffers. All droving routes were predicated on a day's journey.

Pilgrims may prefer bottled water rather than trusting in springs, water is still a huge industry. Some of the relatively minor waystations e.g. Glastonbury were turned into destinations in their own right (cf. Santiago de Compostela). Taking the waters even in more secular times was both holiday and penitence (the water often tastes disgusting).
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby Boreades » 3:01 pm

Mick Harper wrote:However, since the 'rest stop' was built, erosion of the entire landscape has taken place everywhere apart from where all the animals, people etc have created an erosion-proof surface ('wattle-and-daub effect', pp 175-8 of TME) leaving the rest-stop over time to become a hillfort.


While out walking our dogs, we paused while crossing the river Og. At last, it is in full flow. I noticed the water looked very white. Why? Seemples! More rain, more erosion of the soft chalk by deposition.

But, in winter time, with lower temperatures, can the water hold more dissolved CO2 than it can in summer time? Therefore, is there also a greater concentration of Carbonic Acid which will dissolve it as well?

I remember enough O'Level Geography to get that far. But I can't remember enough O'Level Chemistry to apply a basic formula for the solubility of chalk.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_ca ... d_solution

Can anyone get more neurons bumping into each other than I can, and work out a rule of thumb for how many Kg of chalk will get eroded per year? With basic assumptions for volume of rainfall etc.
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