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Archeologists Find "Magical" Crystals in Neolithic Burial Grounds

Recently, archeologists made a significant find in a ceremonial burial site used during the Stone Age. The quartz crystals were found throughout the Dorstone Hill site in the U.K. but were concentrated on the burial sites. The quartz crystal found is triboluminescent, which means when individual crystals are broken apart, rubbed together or struck together, a sparks of light is emitted. This is would create a very special ceremonial function for the stones, which were brought to this site from roughly 80 miles away, over mountainous terrain.

The crystals were transported to Dorstone Hill in the form of large crystals up to 4 inches long, possibly through a trading network that brought them from farther afield. An analysis of the crystal chips found suggests that the larger crystals were expertly "knapped" with the techniques used for flint (deliberately broken into smaller pieces) but the resulting fragments were not formed into tools afterward. Instead, many of the tiny chips were collected and deposited at structures on the site, especially over the burial mounds.

"The largest piece we have is 34 millimeters [1.3 inches] in length," Nick Overton said. The 337 fragments from Dorstone Hill represent the largest collection of worked rock crystal pieces ever found in Britain and Ireland; quartz rock crystal pieces have also been found at other Neolithic burial sites in Britain and Ireland, but they've mostly been overlooked before now.

"I felt it was really important to point out just how wonderful and how interesting this material is," Overton said. "And it might help us think about other aspects of [the Neolithic] period, such as connections of trade or exchange, and also the way that people think about and engage with materials."

This article is interesting because it shows that more than 6,000 years ago, crystals were revered by ancient people and also used ceremonially. Most often, people assume that the use of crystals is a New Age phenomena. It is fairly well known that Native Americans in North America revered the Stone People - rocks and mountains - as the record keepers of the earth. Since everything has a spirit in Native American belief systems, mountains are the oldest spirits that have witnessed many generations, hence the belief that they record and hold this wisdom for future generations. Crystals are certainly stones, although we tend to hold specimens with recognizable crystalline structures and showy colors over what I call "potato stones" or regular rocks/stones.

You can also try and test quartz triboluminescence at home - start first with inexpensive quartz, such as milky quartz in beach pebbles (in our coastal Delaware). It would to interesting to hear your thoughts if you tried it.



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