Megalithic shipping and trade routes

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Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby Mick Harper » 8:02 pm

Countryfile tonight revealed the origins of Tarifa and Portland. All migrating birds follow land routes south to north from Africa to Europe and the British Isles. Flying across sea is the only hazardous bit because they can't eat (or rest) so naturally they seek the shortest sea crossings. There are only two of these -- the straits of Gibraltar and Contentin to Dorset. (Maybe the Isle of Wight is one too.)

The Megalithics exploited these routes by carving out (it's quite easy given Megalithic hydrological chalk skills) special promontories that will attract birds. All birds will seek out these specially-visible-and-sticky-out landfalls, especially if prepared food is known to be on offer. The birds presumably don't object to losing a small percentage of their number.
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Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby hvered » 12:58 pm

The Cotentin peninsula may have been a tidal island originally.
Cotentin was almost an island at one time. Only a small strip of land in the heath of Lessay connected the peninsula with the mainland.[3] Thanks to the so-called portes à flot (fr), which close at flood and open at ebb[4] and which were built in the west coast and in the Baie des Veys, on the east coast, the Cotentin has become a peninsula.


Lessay is an east-west stretch of marshy land, described as "unique in character", now a national park and popular with bird-watchers
The regional nature Park is located on the migration path of birds that leave northern Europe to winter on the African continent and thousands of migratory birds stop off in the regional nature Park during the winter.


According to French geologists, the oldest rock, called Cadomian granite, in France is at Cotentin
The oldest stone in France is found in outcroppings on the coast of Cap de la Hague, at the tip of the peninsula.

How they reach this conclusion isn't clear. Why would Cap de Haugue rock be any older than the rest of Normandy or, say, on Jersey, Guernsey, Chausey Islands?
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Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby Mick Harper » 5:47 pm

Cotentin, good spot. It would make Cotentin the biggest of all tidal islands and right at the centre of the Megalithic world. Let's have some Cotentinian exploration, including the possibility of hollowing out the bays on either side to form the peninsula and thereby discouraging birds taking any old route across the Channel.

It's clear that this is a major new line of enquiry. What came first, the birds or the boats, is not important at this stage but suffice it to say that everything we know about the relationship between Megalithics and birds (and terraforming) points to the control and/or exploitation of bird migratory passages being an immense building block in the evolution of the Megalithic Empire.
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Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby hvered » 10:36 pm

There is a small tidal island called Tatihou off the lee coast of the Cotentin peninsula
It is located to the east of the Cotentin peninsula just off the coast near Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue. It is almost uninhabited, and is usually reached by amphibious craft although, being a tidal island, it is also possible to walk there over the local oyster beds at low tide. Access to the island is limited to 500 visitors per day.

It was recently named an 'ornithological reserve'
The island is a stopping place for many migrating birds, including the herring gull, great black-backed gull, common shelduck, little egret, eider, wigeon and yellow-legged gull.

Strangely, or perhaps not, Tatihou is 'twinned with' Brownsea Island (in Poole Harbour).

The Isle of Wight does seem to be part of the picture. The southernmost point is marked by St Catherine's lighthouse, established in 1323. Flying directly south leads to a sandy bay on north-east Cotentin called the cove of Gattemare. Gatteville lighthouse is a mile away.

Behind the coastal dunes is a pond, the Etang de Gattemare, separated from the sea by coastal dunes. The pond is a conservation area and birdlife is reportedly abundant e.g. gray herons, white egrets and crested cormorants. It's an unusual-looking site. The explanation (French) is
Currents carrying sand and pebbles closed the original cove and resulted in the formation of this coastal pond fed by streams.

Somehow the currents ignored the rest of the northern Cotentin coast.
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Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby Mick Harper » 11:55 pm

Gattermare presumably equals Margate, the most megalithic town in Britain (allegedly). They should be compared. This business of shell beaches (etc) not being made by currents, as all academics maintain however unlikely the local circumstances, will have to be pursued. To the west of Cotentin are the famous galloping tides and world record tidal ranges. Again, say the academics, all completely normal, move along, nothing to see here. How dull their lives must be.
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Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby hvered » 11:19 am

Perhaps the best-known and least understood voyagers are the Polynesian sailors of old. They are said to have used the stars and their knowledge of currents etc. and the flight of birds. Wiki says
One theory is that they would have taken a frigatebird (Fregata) with them. These birds refuse to land on the water as their feathers will become waterlogged making it impossible to fly. When the voyagers thought they were close to land they may have released the bird, which would either fly towards land or else return to the canoe

Frigate birds are black with long red necks and forked tails, easily recognised. Their ability to fly long distances is phenomenal.
The five extant species are classified in a single genus, Fregata. All have predominantly black plumage, long, deeply forked tails and long hooked bills. Females have white underbellies and males have a distinctive red gular pouch, which they inflate during the breeding season to attract females. Their wings are long and pointed and can span up to 2.3 metres (7.5 ft), the largest wing area to body weight ratio of any bird.

Able to soar for weeks on wind currents, frigatebirds spend most of the day in flight hunting for food, and roost on trees or cliffs at night.

So they need to be attached to land. The two main species are Christmas Island and Ascension.

Frigate bird fossils are classified as freshwater species. This is also true of corvids apart from cormorants or 'sea-ravens' which surprisingly are put in the same family as frigates by the bird experts.
The Fregatidae are a sister group to Suloidea which consists of cormorants, darters, gannets, and boobies.

Darters are also called snake birds presumably on account of their long necks.

As with frigate birds, an oddity of cormorants is their feathers aren't waterproof, surely a disadvantage for a bird that dives for fish for its living. But there seem to be two main categories of cormorant, the 'continental' and the 'Atlantic' sub-genres. The former live and feed inland unlike their smaller, Atlantic cousins. Quite strikingly different life styles in fact.

The classification system went a bit awry during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Frigatebirds were grouped with cormorants, and sulids (gannets and boobies) as well as pelicans in the genus Pelecanus by Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae. He described the distinguishing characteristics as a straight bill hooked at the tip, linear nostrils, a bare face, and fully webbed feet....

...Martyn Kennedy and colleagues derived a cladogram based on behavioural characteristics of the traditional Pelecaniformes, calculating the frigatebirds to be more divergent than pelicans from a core group of gannets, darters and cormorants, and tropicbirds the most distant lineage.[14] The classification of this group as the traditional Pelecaniformes, united by feet that are totipalmate (with all four toes linked by webbing) and the presence of a gular pouch, persisted until the early 1990s.[15] The DNA–DNA hybridization studies of Charles Sibley and Jon Edward Ahlquist placed the frigatebirds in a lineage with penguins, loons, petrels and albatrosses


Cormorants are not sociable but do set up colonies in locations offshore not easily reached by sailors, such as the reefs of the Chausey islands (one of the most dangerous sections of the Channel). Unlike land-based corvids they don't caw but make a grunting sound described as 'the oinking of pigs'

[in Greek myth Odysseus's men were turned into pigs by Circe the sorceress and eventually rescued by Hermes who is in turn linked to the underworld, geese, swans, alphabet, travel, etc. Odysseus stayed on the island for a year which is suitably cyclical.]
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Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby hvered » 9:57 am

Just came across Berges Island, a former tidal island on the north coast of the Gower peninsula. It's at the end of a spit of land jutting out north/north-east of Burry Holms (and Bluepool Corner) which ends at Whiteford Point and a lighthouse.

Image

On the western side are sand dunes and Whiteford Sands, a two-mile stretch of sand inaccessible by road and the most northerly beach in Gower. On the east of the spit is a huge area of saltmarshes called Landimore Marsh, just north of Llanmadoc. The expanse of mud and sand which is the Loughor estuary can be seen from Worm's Head and Rhossili Bay.

The whole area between Burry Holms and Whiteford Sands are Burrows. Inland from the coast and the very beautiful Rhossili Bay, it's an especially dreary part of the Gower

Image


Llanmadoc/Llanmadog is believed by historians to be an Early Christian settlement founded by the 5th or 6th century St Madoc (not much to go on before his 12th century 'Life') who for some reason is believed to be the (7th century) Irish St Aidan, perhaps because his relics are at Armagh Cathedral and the National Museum of Ireland. St Madoc's church is "probably 13th century", with a Norman font and what appears to be a Roman graveslab that had been incorporated into the rectory wall.

It is the smallest church in Gower but Llanmadoc is, I think, the only llan that was owned by the Templars until their suppression (for heresy) whereupon it was given to their successors, the Knights Hospitaller. Could there be a connection between Welsh Madoc and Gascon Médoc? The Médoc is also an area of sand dunes and pine trees, the Landes, on the left bank of the Gironde estuary and had a Templar presence, presumably controlling the Santiago 'pilgrim' route. They are credited with first planting vines in the region even though it's not deemed particularly suitable for vine-growing.
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Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby Boreades » 6:32 pm

hvered wrote: Just came across Berges Island.


Sounds like Burgh Island?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burgh_Island
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Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby Boreades » 6:55 pm

I get sent interesting emails from a zero-emissions sailing outfit.

http://sailboatproject.org/sail-cargo-se/

They are sailing an old-fashioned sailing ketch Nordlys (built 1873 on the Isle of Wight) from Portugal to Devon each early-summer with a crop of Portugese organic olives and olive oil. Yours for just £50 per 5 litres. Mostly aimed at the organic sales market based around Brighton and Newhaven. Or Croydon or Hackney. (No mention of Notting Hill Market or Marlborough High Street yet).

They say:
Cabotage can be loosely defined as shipping cargo along the coast from port to port and this is our inspiration for this year’s delivery of organic olive oil and whole olives from Porto to Newhaven, as well as Fleur de Sel sea salt from the Breton island of Noirmoutier. Derived from Cabo, Portuguese for headland, the Caboteurs of the 1873 engineless sailing ketch Nordlys will deliver our cargo from Porto, via Noirmoutier, to Brixham in the south west. From there we will transfer the cargo to our own Jalapeno and set sail for Newhaven.


Cabotage : OK got that, so is Cabo really the Portuguese for headland? Or is Cabotage the art of moving cargo via coastal navigation from Cabo to Cabo?

"Cabotage" also reminds me of John Cabot / Giovanni Caboto. A pseudoname for his trade? Like a John Smith.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cabot

I've not found out yet what their return cargo is going to be. These days, not likely to be Cornish Tin or best Welsh Anthracite? Perhaps Brighton Rock? If only they came via Chateau Boreades; we could offer large quantities of empty wine bottles for refilling in Porto.

Here's a link to some lovely pictures of the kinds of sailing ships they are using:
http://sailcargoalliance.org/
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Re: Megalithic shipping and trade routes

Postby Mick Harper » 8:30 pm

Anyone who trades port-to-port in this fashion is going to go bust in a single season or anyway doomed forever to be hippy-sailors like this lot. In any age. The reason being that one port exports and imports exactly the same as the next port. Navigating from headland to headland would last less than a season on lee shores like Portugal, the Bay of Biscay and the western Channel.

Cabotage is a legal term for foreign ships plying between two ports in somebody else's country and presumably always attracted the ire of the local carriers. It's a chief bone of contention between US and European airlines because the Europeans want to schedule, say, Schiphol-New York-Los Angeles but the Yanks don't like Yanks going Dutch between New York and Los Angeles. But they can schedule Los Angeles-New York-Schiphol and there's not a damned thing the Europeans can do about it.

On the other hand there are the tramp steamers which were the mainstay of international trade for such a long time so maybe cabotage used to mean something else.
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