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        Holed Stones: (Stones with holes in them)

Cutting holes in stones was a recurring theme in the ancient world. It is likely that many  holed-stones had ritualistic or symbolic functions.

 

 

 Maltese Holed Stones:

There are a number of Holed stones in the Maltese temples such as Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, and the Hypogeum

Stone-cut doorways

Hagar-qim. Holed Stone.

The stone in the photo (above-left) can be seen to have had a 'frame' carved around it, It is not clear whether these were functional or just decorative. The same design feature can be seen between chambers in the underground Hypogeums.

 

The Maltese temples also have several smaller carved holes, which are suggested as having originally served as 'oracle' holes. Although there is no particular evidence to support this theory it is tempting (because of their setting in the temples), to attach a ritualistic function to them.

(Click here for more about Malta)

 

 

   The Great Pyramid:

The Great pyramid of Ghiza contains examples of holed-stones in it. In particular, are the three stones that encircle the ascending passage called the 'Girdle-stones'. Their placement means that anyone wishing to enter the upper parts of the pyramid has to pass through them.

 

These three giant holed-stones are composed of granite (in distinction to the rest of the passage). It has been suggested that they are a part of a previous exterior casing, although their composition, size and the angle of slope between them (26) makes this unlikely. Their particular relevance has yet to be identified, but as they offer no particular structural benefit (over that already employed in the design of passages), and they are not found in any other pyramid, it can be assumed that they had a ritualistic function.

There are also two Holed-stones in the walls of the 'Queens-chamber'. Although the blocks they were cut into are themselves several feet in length, the holes are only a few inches wide. They were left unfinished and only discovered in 1872 by Waynman Dixon and D. R. Grant.

The Queens Chamber 'star-shafts' were originally left sealed with 5 inches of uncut masonry on their inside ends, the blocks they start from having been skilfully hollowed out for several feet behind. The following is Piazzi Smyth's record of the Dixon brothers' own testimony:

'Dr. Grant and Mr. Dixon have successfully proved that there was no jointing, and that the thin plate was a 'left', and a very skilfully and symmetrically left, part of the grand block composing that portion of the wall on either side' (10)

The star-shafts run up to the 50th course of the Great pyramid (the same level as the Kings-chamber above). They were apparently never intended to enter or exit the pyramid as they were sealed at both ends.

In 1993, Rudolph Gantenbrink sent a remote viewer up the so called star-shafts only to find each one ending with a symbolic 'door' (with handles on the the inside). In 2002, another robot was sent to the end of the southern shaft to investigate further. A 3/4-inch hole was drilled in the slab and, on 17 September, a miniature fibre-optic camera was inserted to reveal a rough-hewn blocking stone lying 7 inches beyond the original southern shaft slab. All access to the shafts has since been refused.

(More about the Star-shafts)

 

 

   British Holed Stones:

England has several examples of 'Holed stones'. It is believed that many are remnants of dolmens, or Neolithic burial chambers, of which the holed-stones were once the entrances. Whatever their original purpose was, the ideas and customs associated with them are remarkably similar from the Orkneys to the far west of Cornwall.

Men-an-Tol - Cornwall, England - (Also called 'The Devil's eye')

Men-an-tol, Cornwall, England

The stones at this site are no longer in their original setting, which archaeologists have now determined to have once been a triangle. Traditional rituals at Mn-an-Tol, involved passing naked children three times through the holed stone and then drawing them along the grass three times in an easterly direction. This was thought to cure scrofula (a form of tuberculosis) and rickets. Adults seeking relief from rheumatism, spine troubles or ague were advised to crawl through the hole nine times against the sun. The holed stone also had prophetic qualities and, according to nineteenth-century folklorist Robert Hunt: If two brass pins are carefully laid across each other on the top edge of the stone, any question put to the rock will be answered by the pins acquiring, through some unknown agency, a peculiar motion.

 

 

The 'Odin Stone' near the Stennes Circle, Orkneys, Scotland. Now sadly destroyed, any promises made with clasped hands through the hole in this stone were said to be unbreakable. The stone was also used by local lovers to 'plight their troth'. It was destroyed in 1814 by the local farmer, following which locals tried to set fire to his house twice.

(More about the Orkney complex)

 

 

 

It is suggested by Wier (1), that some Irish megaliths had their holes at groin level, and had a diameter suitable for the 'ritual insertion of a living penis'. The following examples are given:

The 'Hole Stone', Doagh, Co. Antrim, Ireland (left), and the 'Craw Stone', Craws, Ireland (right).

 

Bolleit holed stones. Tregasal holed stones

Bolleit (left) and Tregesal (right)

 

 

 

   Other Examples of Holed Stones:

Wris, Belgium:

The two main dolmens in the Wris complex in Belgium both have holed entrances or 'spirit holes'. they are a common feature in Northern European Dolmens.

Northern Dolmen (left), and Southern Dolmen (right). Built in different styles.

(More about the Wris complex, Belgium)

 

The Jaguar Stone - (Photo, Left. 72 in, 1.8m high). This Olmec stone was found at the entrance to a natural cave. It is dated from 800 to 100 BC, and is from Chalcatzingo, Morelos, Mexico.

(More about the Olmecs)

Also from the Mexican Peninsula, Van Sertima (5), mentions that one of the large granite stone heads from La Venta had a hole in it:

'The largest of the four - nine feet high - had its domed top flattened so that it could function as an altar. A speaking tube was found going in at the ear and out at the mouth; it was used as an oracle, a talking god. It was also, according to Stirling, associated with the first construction phase of the ceremonial court.'

(More about the 'African' heads)

 

 

The Caucasus Dolmens, Russia.

This area is littered with dolmens with 'spirit holes' in them (over 3,000 reported). The holes have a  similar design as that seen in megalithic constructions in Sardinia, Sicily ('Tombas di Giganti'), and the U.K. It is not yet determined whether the holes facilitate an astronomical function, similar to the 'light-boxes' seen at Newgrange and Carrowkeel in Ireland, or whether they served another function or sacred purpose.

A selection of the numerous designs of 'Caucasus Dolmens'.

(More about the Caucasus Dolmens)

 

Spanish Holed Stones: The Cueva de Viera passage mound at Antequera has two holed stones in it, one half way along the passage and one at the end separating the passage from the small chamber at the heart of the mound, which is orientated towards the autumn equinox.

Los Millares Tholos, Spain.

In addition, the Neolithic Fortified Settlement at Los Millares has over eighty Tholos mounds, many of which have holed stones for their entrances

(More about the Cueva de Viera and the Menga complex)

(More about Los Millares)

 

 

References:

1). http://www.beyond-the-pale.org.uk/phallic2.htm
5). Ivan. Van Sertima. They came before Columbus. 1976. Random House.

 

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