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Brit-Am Megalithic Bulletin Update (BAMBU)


Tracing The Israelite Paths of Migration
according to the Directions of the Prophet Jeremiah 31:21

Dolmens and Megaliths
Brit-Am Megalithic Bulletin Update
1. Astronomically Aligned Standing Stones at Ballochroy, Kintyre, Scotland
2. Loughgrow (Central East Ireland) Cairns
3. Desmond Johnston: Ireland in prehistory- Selected Extracts

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1. Astronomically Aligned Standing Stones at Ballochroy, Kintyre, Scotland
Best time of year to visit : Summer solstice around the 21st of June.

The alignment also indicates the setting sun at the winter solstice, but the horizon in that direction is now hidden by trees. However the sunset can still be observed.

2. Loughgrow Cairns
Extracts from  "The Megalithic Portal" on the Loughgrow Cairns
The sunrise on the eve of the autumn equinox illuminates ancient carvings on the backstone of Cairn T. See photography news item about the equinox alignment at Loughcrew.

Frank Prendergast's investigations show that two of the largest focal tombs are oriented towards the rising Sun at the equinoxes. On these days, at dawn and for a period of some 20 minutes afterwards, the interior of the tombs
are spectacularly illuminated by a shaft of sunlight. At these times, the elaborate engravings on some of the stones within both chambers are clearly visible in the otherwise dark interior. Equinoctial orientations are not common and their interpretation is controversial.

Loughcrew equinox sunrise illumination featured at National Astronomy Meeting (Score: 1)
by Andy B
It is well known that many such tombs found elsewhere in Ireland and beyond, such as at Newgrange, are oriented towards the direction of the rising Sun on the solstices. These are the days in December and June when the Sun's motion in the sky reaches a 'turning point'. The direction of the rising Sun reaches its most northerly and southerly points on these dates and these are observable events. Our prehistoric ancestors would therefore not have required any advanced understanding or knowledge to pinpoint them. By contrast, the equinoxes, which occur in late March and September, are midway between the solstices and are not obvious unique events: to locate them, an observer must track the total annual range of the Sun's rising direction and then divide it in half. The question that immediately arises is, "Why would the tomb builders wish to do this?" Even more intriguingly at Loughcrew, there is a pattern of orientation between many of the smaller satellite tombs - both towards each other and towards the two focal tombs.

See Equinox at Loughgnow Sept 4

This image photographed at 7:32am shows the sunbeam illuminating the centre of the backstone.

3. Ireland in prehistory
A concise account by Desmond Johnston

Limited Extracts Only:
Early Ireland

The best known source which has survived is -- perhaps misleadingly -- called "the Book of the Invasions". (Lebor Gabala Erren). This and other sources deserve to be treated seriously as a basis for getting clues to the early history of Ireland. In such works there is a lack of chronological sequence, gross exaggeration, possible intrusion of "manufactured" events, magic, and all the stuff of mythology. Nevertheless there will be a hard core of real people and events. Another problem is that in the ancient world heroes tended to become "gods" and lose their earthly identity. ( Classical Greece being a good example of this trend). Thus mythology can be regarded almost as a manifestation of religion. Imperfect as Irish sources are they are unique to Ireland and not to be discounted as a source of historical knowledge.

Megalithic Ireland
The NW European megalithic era is represented in Ireland on a very big scale. Great passage mounds, dolmens, stone circles, standing stones, alignments are all an important feature of the landscape. Each aspect of the megalithic of course tends to have its own unique "Irish" form, as is true for other megalithic areas -- Brittany and Scotland for example. It is as if each time a new culture came in contact with an existing culture the original inhabitants adapted and amended it to fit in with their ideas. Also Ireland possesses on a large scale examples of its own form of rock scribings, now generally agreed to represent astronomical events.

The passage mound building...Passage orientation is by now generally accepted to tie in with solar, lunar, and stellar alignments. The term "passage graves" is on its way out. Even when used for burials that would not have been the original purpose -- any more than a cathedral is a tomb.

Ireland is also well supplied with such features as dolmens and circles of standing stones. It seems to be generally agreed that such features of the European megalithic came after the passage mounds --... It is however interesting that Professor O'Kelly in "Newgrange - Archaeology, Art, and Legend" (Thames and Hudson 1982) produced the argument that there is evidence that the stone circle at Newgrange predates the mound. ...Again the stone circles so prevalent in the British Isles and Western Europe are being studied from the aspect of astronomical orientation. It could well be that they will indicate an infinitely wider variety of astronomical sightings than the more rigid and limited passage mounds. Interestingly almost all are ovoid rather than circular, a characteristic shared with the older henge and related monuments.

 Dolmens and individual menhirs or standing stones are particularly prevalent in Ireland. The construction of the former has involved the placement of massive capstones -- a major feat in many cases. It is presumed that all were covered with a layer of earth and small stones to form minor mounds and erosion has created the bare stone frameworks we see today. Each has an astronomical orientation -- particularly to the East.

At some point in time they became used as tombs -- presumably for local chieftains or the families thereof. But whether or not they were constructed for this purpose originally is a moot point.

Allied to the dolmens are the chambered mounds with short passages, such as court cairns, with a ceremonial area marked out in front by stones in a horse-shoe shape. Again these, too, were at some point used as tombs, but their apparent provision for ceremonial gatherings and their astronomical orientation could give a clue as to their real function.

There is a general tendency for stone monuments, in Ireland as elsewhere, to appear in areas giving a wide view of the horizon, making an astronomical function the most likely. It has been suggested that such monuments are a legacy of the copper-using Beaker Culture of around 2500 BC. However Ireland has been stated to have comparatively few indications of this culture.

A somewhat dated -- but nonetheless interesting -- book is Sonia Bryant's "Celtic Ireland." (Kegan Paul 1889). She produces an interesting analysis of the origins of the population of Ireland in each significant area -- with Ulster largely represented by "Belgic" stock, with the exception of areas of Lagan Valley, S Donegal, Tyrone, Fermanagh where the dominant group is "Ugrian" originating in Scotland. Connaught plus SE Ireland she represents as" Celtiberian", of Iberian coastal origin. From the centre of the E coast across to SW Ireland she gives the origin of the population as "Pure Celtic" with origins in Gaul, NE and Central Spain, Central Europe, N Greece. It could be interesting , using modern techniques, to check out these ideas -- typical Victorian reliance of course on the use of the word "Celtic."
  Ancient Ireland - Outside Influences

There is a tendency to dismiss such sources as the "Book of the Invasions" as "mythology" and as such not relevant to the work of archaeologists and historians. This in spite of the work in the 19th century of Schliemann in Troy and Mycenae and of Evans in Crete. Both followed their dream that behind mythology there lies historical fact.

Cesair and Partholon : Here we have an attempt to explain the earliest arrivals. Both groups were wiped out by natural disasters -- flood and plague respectively. ...Partholon's people are credited with the introduction of the first cattle and ploughs - -...The home of this group was reputedly "Greece".

Nemesians : The plague-depopulated land was next visited by the followers of Nemed -- supposedly of " Scythian" origin. Former achievements had to be repeated. Again there were "lakebursts" (a good or a bad thing?) and further land clearance. The lakebursts were accompanied by a "pestilence of fire" and a rushing noise. (Seismic activity - comets - meteors?) Collision occurred between the followers of Nemed and the "Fomorians". This could well have represented sheepmen versus cattlemen or herdsmen versus agriculturalists.

Nemed's followers were defeated and scattered in various directions. (1) Some departed to "the North of the world" -- Scotland/Scandinavia? Perhaps they returned generations later as Tuatha de Danann. (2) Some settled in "the North of Alba" -- North Britain. (3) Some went to" the land of the Greeks" where they suffered slavery, being made to carry soil up hillsides in leather bags to create new agricultural land. One can easily relate this to the eroded slopes of Greece. It is said that when the Phoenicians occupied the barren island of Malta they imported shiploads of soil for farming. (4) A group stayed in Ireland to survive as best they could.

Fir Bolg : The term Fir Bolg is used to represent the next group to influence Ireland's prehistory. These represent one group of Nemesians. The Fir Bolg themselves took over Connaught and Munster. The Fir Domnan occupied Leinster. The Fir Galioin went to Ulster.

The Fir Bolg are credited with establishing the first effective system of law and justice in Ireland. An interesting comment is made that during this period a change took place in Ireland's trees with "straight" trees ( Conifers?) being replaced by "knotted" trees (deciduous?). Perhaps an indication of climate changes which we know took place? The Fir Bolg were supplanted by the next culture to impact on Ireland -- the Tuatha de Danann.

Tuatha De Danann : This new infusion of life-blood into Ireland is the one which has suffered most from the shortcomings of myth. Their technology, particularly in metalcraft, their learning, military skills, etc. have become distorted into "magical" attributes. Their leadership became sanctified -- deified -- by subsequent generations.

They were reputedly a fair-haired race different from the Iberian characteristics of the most ancient Irish. They came from -- or via -- the Northern world. All the indications are that they were representatives of a Bronze Age culture. A Middle Eastern origin has been suggested too -- a source of Bronze Age culture. Their name has been associated with the goddess Dana -- a recurring name as in the rivers Don and Danube, in the old name for the Greeks (Danaos), in the Danaoi -- one of the groups known as the Peoples of the Sea, and in Denmark.

They are identified with an intellectual - druidic class who were trained in religious, legal, astronomical skills among others., which system, alongside other aspects of their culture, was later adopted by the Iron Age Celts.

They were opposed by the Fomorians whom they eventually defeated, and with whom interestingly they had some common points of origin. The remaining Fir Bolg population they confined to Connaught.

A whole body of "theology" grew up around the leaders of the Tuatha de Danann who included such names as the Dagda, Oengus, Lug, Manannan mac Lir, Ogma, Goibniu, Dian Cecht, and Creidne. This subsequent "deification" is a tribute to the impact of the superior skills and knowledge of this gifted race. As a people they were associated with light and the sun.

Eventually they were supplanted by yet another culture, that of the Milesians. So great was the status of the Tuatha de Danann it was deemed unthinkable that they should vanish from human ken and they acquired the status of immortality, being said to vanish into the already ancient and sacred passage mounds --the Sid -- whence they wandered the earth as spirits.

Fomorians : Having now "disposed of " the Fomorians it is a good time to review their influence on Ireland. Chronologically they do not fit easily into our picture. They appear first in the antique period of Partholon and continue to reappear until their ultimate defeat by the Tuatha de Danann. Long as their tenure was they are not represented as the "aboriginal" Irish race but as a sea-roving people who established themselves on a base in Tory Island, off the Donegal coast. Their influence seems over the years to have extended over a large part of the country. Sheep-farmers in life-style, they are given a "bad press" by their more civilized (?) rivals. Thus we hear they were associated with evil - night - death. They are described as grotesque -- sometimes with one arm, one eye, one leg. Interestingly there are drawings of the" unusual" people found in the West Indies and in America after Columbus which have many points in common with the Fomorians! (Psychological reaction to the new - unfamiliar - and therefore terrifying) .They were also stated to practise child sacrifice, not unknown among many ancient peoples, and certainly attributed to the Phoenicians/Carthaginians -- another seafaring race and avid colonists. The name of one of their leaders -- Balor -- has been suggested as being derived from the Phoenician/Carthaginian god Baal (also spelt Bealiah). As sea-rovers they are also suggested to have a Scandinavian origin. (Rock scribings in Norway indicate the use of quite large ships from the Bronze Age at least).

Milesians :- If the coming of the Tuatha de Danann represents the coming of the Bronze Age to Ireland then the arrival of the Milesians embodies the Iron Age. The story of their wanderings before reaching Ireland is an elaborate one. It is generally assumed that they -- or at least their culture -- were Celtic in origin. Their point of origin, for what it is worth , is Scythia in SE Europe. Part of their mythology is made to associate them with Egypt at the time of the Exodus, but this chronology would upset Celtic/Iron Age connections...

One way or another a group of Milesians reached Ireland via Spain and confrontation with the Tuatha de Danann led to the defeat of the latter....

Contributions of the Milesians to Irish culture -- apart from the introduction of iron implements which greatly increased agricultural yield -- include fine craftsmanship in metal generally, astronomically-determined dates for popular assemblies, weaving of variegated-coloured cloth. Their astronomy and agriculture were both advanced.///

The Milesians already had a strong cultural heritage, as embodied in the warrior-poet Amairgen. Poetry and harp music were particularly revered. They followed the Tuatha de Danann in the intellectual, religious, artistic, Druidic system with its privileged role in society.

As part of the militaristic Iron Age tradition hill-forts were established throughout the land. The Milesians were said to have divided Ireland into two halves administratively -- with the River Boyne being the dividing line. ...The Milesians are said to have set aside the province of Leinster for the prior inhabitants. This however would presuppose their arrival in greater numbers than was probably the case

Desmond Johnston - April 2004


Megalithic Monuments may serve as proof of the Migratory paths of the Israelite Exiles.
For a Map and List of Israelite Migratory Routes see:
For more maps of the Megalithic Trail of Migration see:
There is much archaeological evidence some of which we have quoted in the past.

Dolmens and the Bible
Pictures: Dolmens from Around the World
Answer to Queries on Archaeology Question no.3:
"What do Dolmens and other megalithic monuments such as Stonehenge tell us?
Dolmens by Yair Davidiy
Dolmens in Biblical Codes
Immanuel Velikovsky and the Change in Our Calendar

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