By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

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By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

Postby shawomet » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:00 pm

New discoveries reveal carvings best seen at night at megalithic sites. By the light of the moon, carvings not visible in daylight become visible.....

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017 ... eremonies/
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Re: By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

Postby Tiompan » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:23 pm

shawomet wrote:New discoveries reveal carvings best seen at night at megalithic sites. By the light of the moon, carvings not visible in daylight become visible.....

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017 ... eremonies/



Hilarious ."some rock carvings only appear in moonlight." Which is obviously nonsense but it is followed by "“When we went out to some imaging at night, when the camera flashed we suddenly saw more and more art, which suggested that it was meant to be seen at night and in the moonlight." Ahh so it was the flash that illuminated the carvings not moonlight "
Researchers have been taking images of engravings at night , using side flash , for years . Alternatively they can be taken during daylight but with a cover ,the results are much the same .
When the conditions are not ideal they bring out the shadows better .
But nobody until now has suggested the nonsense in the article .

"Traditionally Neolithic structures were believed to align with the movements of the Sun with the huge Wiltshire circle of Stonehenge lining up perfectly with the summer solstice."
Traditionally ? Maybe they could mention some of these Neolithic structures .The solstice alignment at Stonehenge i.e. the Avenue and the alignments between various stones were built in the Bronze Age .
The Neolithic components of the monument were not part of that alignment .
“Stonehenge does have markings, and I think that many more would be found at sites across the country if people were to look at them in different light.” The markings , again , are Bronze Age and were first observed during the day .
"the smashed quartz at Hendraburnick could have been used as part of night time activity on the site in order to ‘release’ the luminescent properties of the quartz around the monument and ‘reveal’ the art in a particular way."
Have they ever seen the flashes from quartz , I doubt it . It is fleeting . Quartz is found in many differing situations at many monuments that don't have engravings , they mention only one monument ,Olcote which doesn't have any engravings , but there are hundreds of others . The engravings will be be readily seen in good conditions like a low winter sun far better than any triboluminescence from quartz , fun though it is .
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Re: By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

Postby E.P. Grondine » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:35 am

Quartz flashes are a great party trick.
Where are the British quartz crystal sources?
That would probably make an excellent site.
Usually people believe what they want to believe until reality intrudes.
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Re: By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

Postby Tiompan » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:03 am

They are great fun , pretty useless for illumination though. Strong smell too . May well have been used as hammerstones in rock engravings .They are friable and crumble quite quickly quickly but can do the job on sandstones .
Quartz ( 2nd most abundant mineral ) is incredibly common and the type found in association with many monuments, not always intentionally , is just that .
But quartz crystals , beloved of the new agers ,are rarely found in association with monuments and are ,much less common .
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Re: By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

Postby shawomet » Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:05 am

When I recorded the Mark Rock petroglyph site in Rhode Island, back in the 80's, I learned a couple of things that did come in handy. One, the images were clearly more visible the lower in the sky the sun was. Very early morning or very late afternoon was the optimum time for photography. The designs were pecked into the sandstone outcrops at that site.

The second thing I learned was by accident, and very interesting. There were areas where the designs had been completely exfoliated away. they no longer existed. Yet, the camera could still see those exfoliated elements. With the negative of the photograph, one would never know the lines no longer existed, they were that clearly still visible. In the developed print, they were not as apparent, but could still be seen. Here is an example. 4 circles set at the corners of a rectangle, with a 5th circle in the center. Notice the circle in the top left corner of the design, with lines connecting it to the rest of the design. That upper left circle is exfoliated and cannot be seen with the naked eye.The lines connecting it to the rest of the design are also partially missing, but can be seen in the photograph. The camera can see what is now invisible to the naked eye. I was able to detect other missing design elements that had been exfoliated in the years since Edmund Delabarre first recorded the site in the 1920's. Hence I was able to record designs that no longer existed on the surface of the sandstone outcrops.
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Re: By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

Postby Tiompan » Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:29 am

shawomet wrote: the images were clearly more visible the lower in the sky the sun was. Very early morning or very late afternoon was the optimum time for photography.

Yes low winter sun is best . Many motifs that would otherwise be clearly seen can be difficult to see in mid summer light . The addition of water also helps to bring out motifs that are degraded . Interestingly 3d /photogrammetry recording is best done in dull conditions when the markings are actually less clear .
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Re: By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

Postby shawomet » Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:31 am

Here's the abstract. The full article will cost. From reading the abstract, I would assume they did observe the carvings in moonlight, as well as by flash. It hardly seems possible that they would not do that, after all. The brief bio of one of the authors would also suggest he has experience recording rock art in different light conditions. Not sure he's simply winging it here. If the carvings are more apparent in moonlight, I don't see anything wrong with the suggestion made, beyond the fact that it is speculative. The question would be whether it was deliberate or not on the part of those who rendered the carvings. No surprise that carvings will be more visible in very low sunlight angles. I have to believe the full article would include images taken in moonlight. If they are more apparent at that time, so be it.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10. ... 17.1341241

Thomas Goskar
Thomas Goskar is an archaeologist with particular specialism in the application of digital technologies to the past. He has worked on the enhancement of rock art and inscriptions using 3D and light-based technologies since 2002. His work laser scanning at Stonehenge resulted in the discovery of new axe carvings (2003), which paved the way for many later discoveries. More recently he published his research on the discovery of carvings of rare early medieval animal-headed depictions of the Four Evangelists at Gulval, Cornwall (2016). He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and lives in Penzance, Cornwall.
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Re: By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

Postby Tiompan » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:52 pm

Lots of carvings can be seen in moonlight , it doesn't mean that is when they were engraved or that is the optimum time to view them .
But , how can rock art be more visible in moonlight . That is the problem . It doesn't make sense .
If the carvings are visible in moonlight then they will also be visible in daylight .

At least they are not suggesting that digital technology was used by the engravers .

What we have is a site with some newly discovered engravings ,it happens all the time .
In this case ,as sometimes happens , that is not enough , they have to gild the lily .
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Re: By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

Postby kbs2244 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:29 pm

I don't understand.

Is moonlight a different wavelength than sunlight?
Or is just the shadow effect?

Do the stones at the quarry site have similar embedded spots?
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Re: By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

Postby Tiompan » Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:57 pm

From the abstract " the rock art ...... was most evident when viewed in low sunlight from the south east or by moonlight."
Guaranteed that the low sunlight will provide a better view of the engravings than the reflected sunlight that is moonlight .
But that won't provide a convenient narrative associated with the quartz and the evidence free speculation of moonlit ceremonies .
btw "Photogrammetric recording revealed the site to be the most decorated stone in southern Britain " is not saying much ,
southern Britain hardly has any rock art .
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Re: By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

Postby Tiompan » Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:47 am

From 2103 .http://theposthole.org/read/article/298

“It was during the latter half of the days spent working at Hendraburnick though that the largest revelation was to occur. It was discovered that what had previously been thought to be only a few cup-marks, were actually just part of the whole design, and far more numerous. Once this had been noticed at ground level, a camera was elevated using a long pole to achieve an aerial shot of the rock art designs. After this had been highlighted, an afternoon sat atop the stone, meticulously peeling off lichen from the designs, revealed the extent of the art in subsequent photos. It was shown to cover most of the entire surface of the stone in long grooved lines radiating out and running down the stone from hollowed out cup-marks. “

Not that the later comments need further critique , but it is clear that 4 years ago much of the engravings were seen in the afternoon i.e. not at night , as is often the case nobody had looked close enough and a bit of lichen clearance made them all the clearer . Splendid , some new finds of markings to go into the database for southern England , not an area famed for it's rock art ,and not a “creative narrative “ in sight .
That is , until they discovered the quartz , a common enough feature at many monuments including (the rare examples ) of excavated rock art sites in the UK .
That's when the gilding of the lily began .
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Re: By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

Postby shawomet » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:04 am

I still prefer to see good photos of the carvings in moonlight. It does not have to prove a damn thing, nor would it. I would nevertheless like to see good photos in moonlight, and good photos in low sunlight. I would like to compare them in both lighting conditions. For that matter, in all lighting conditions. They made the statement for a reason, and I assume that reason has to be related to actually observing the carvings in moonlight. And I also assume good photos of both lighting conditions are a part of their report. I could care less if their hypothetical conclusion carries no weight. I can judge the carvings myself. I'm actually assuming the conditions under moonlight were sufficiently impressive for them to have made the statements they made. Otherwise, why make them at all? So otherwise, here we all are speculating on a study we can't even read....

The nighttime photo at the link I posted was via flash. If they did not in fact obtain photos in moonlit conditions, then shame on them, I guess. That would be ridiculous. I guess I could assume they were ridiculous, but won't for the time being since I can't read their study....
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Re: By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

Postby Tiompan » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:50 am

I think the reason is clear , they were gilding the lily . Making more of a narrative of what is after all , interesting enough in it's own right . Time and Mind wouldn't have published a mention of the simple discovery of engravings .
There is no way that moonlit pics , if they exist , will be any more "enlightening" than pics taken in daylight .
Maybe a bit more romantic but there will no more detail .

Anyway , they are pics , not what people actually saw in the late Neolithic / Bronze Age , and what we see there today would be different too , from when they were freshly engraved .
As I noted in my first post . Hilarious ."some rock carvings only appear in moonlight." Which is obviously nonsense but it is followed by "“When we went out to some imaging at night, when the camera flashed we suddenly saw more and more art, which suggested that it was meant to be seen at night and in the moonlight." Ahh so it was the flash that illuminated the carvings not moonlight "
It doesn't mean that they didn't take any pics in moonlight , but if they did , guaranteed that you would get better results in the daytime ,or at night without moonlight and using a side flash .
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Re: By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

Postby Tiompan » Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:36 pm

I have finally read the paper and it is no better than expected .

P6 “It became apparent that the
art on the surface of the stone was even more complex than had been
anticipated and that the art would also have been visible in the moonlight
(Figure 4). For much of the time the majority of the rock art was hidden from
plain view and must have been intended to be experienced during late afternoon
from the south east and /or under moonlit conditions. “
There have been enough mentions of the problems concerning this comment , but would also add that if you can see it in moonlight and from the south east then “for the majority of the time the rock art was hidden from plain view “ is nonsense .
Fig 4 is captioned “Hendraburnick ‘Quoit’ stone B at night from east.” And shows a part of the stone and grass to the south illuminated , presumably by moonlight , some of the markings can be seen ,particularly the grooves but the cup marks from which the grooves emanate are not to be seen .What looks like a possible large central cup in the moonlight shot looks more like a natural marking in the 3d pics much of the stone to west is in darkness . There are no pictures of the markings in daylight for a comparison ,only the 3d pics .
So “good photos of both lighting conditions “ are not part of the report
I have no doubt that the carvings would be far clearer in daylight .
One comment that makes the creative narrative even more problematic is “As it is likely to have been obtained from the river valley below, it is possible that it had originally been decorated to mark a significant place along the bottom of the valley. “
If that was the case then it is the original site ,the configuration of the rock , and it's connection to moonlight that should be being considered , not where it finished up. It also means that the quartz association was not directly associated with the engraving . Regardless even at the original site the engravings would always have been viewed more clearly in daylight not moonlight .
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Re: By the Light of the Moon at Megalithic Sites

Postby Tiompan » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:22 am

Mibbe they should have looked in the moonlight .( Cough )
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-n ... d-40653877
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