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New Thoughts on Neolithic Artifacts From England

Monday, January 28, 2019

Neolithic measuring deviceLONDON, ENGLAND—The Folkton Drums, a set of 4,000-year-old decorated chalk cylinders discovered more than 100 years ago in a child’s grave in northern England, and a similar carved chalk cylinder recovered more recently near England’s southern coast, may have been replicas of wooden measuring devices employed by Neolithic monument builders, according to a Live Science report. Anne Teather and Andrew Chamberlain of the University of Manchester and Mike Parker Pearson of University College London determined that the circumferences of the objects were based on the “long foot,” or about 12.7 inches—a standard length found in the concentric circles of standing stones and timber posts in Neolithic monuments. Winding a string around each of the different-sized drums various numbers of times, the researchers were able to produce measurements of exactly ten long feet. The various sizes of the drums may have come into play when fractions of the measure were needed, Teather suggested. “Another explanation is that the drums were instructional teaching aids that would have been used to demonstrate some of the principles of mathematics and geometry,” she said. For more on Neolithic England, go to “The Square Inside Avebury’s Circles.”

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