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Vitrified Forts?
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dreenessOffline
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PostPosted: 15-12-2004 23:32    Post subject: Vitrified Forts? Reply with quote

What's the current state of knowledge on vitrified hill forts?
Has the method ever been duplicated in modern times, or is it a lost art?
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StormkhanOffline
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PostPosted: 15-12-2004 23:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dunno about recreation - the Health And Safety Executive might have a thing to say about a mammoth "firing" but the theory is sound. Best example I saw was on a hill in Cornwall, near Chaucester.
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LividBullseyeOffline
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PostPosted: 16-12-2004 00:00    Post subject: Re: Vitrified Forts? Reply with quote

dreeness wrote:
What's the current state of knowledge on vitrified hill forts?


Do you mean the Brochs (sp) in what is now Scotland?.
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pizzed_offOffline
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PostPosted: 16-12-2004 00:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

i think they did a "reconstruction" for arthur c clarkes "mysterious world" tv series

try here for more info:- http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~aburnham/scot/cragp.htm
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PostPosted: 16-12-2004 00:25    Post subject: Re: Vitrified Forts? Reply with quote

Bullseye wrote:
dreeness wrote:
What's the current state of knowledge on vitrified hill forts?


Do you mean the Brochs (sp) in what is now Scotland?.
No. Brochs are enormous circular, drystone towers that must have looked a bit like power station cooling towers with their broad supporting bases. They were often surrounded by a huddle of huts covered over with turf. Vitrified forts were larger structures, walled enclosures where the mix of stonework and timber was either fired on purpose, or by accident, or by attackers, leading to temperatures inside the walls so hot as to partially melt the stonework holding it together.

Vitrified forts range from Central Europe through to Scotland and the Celtic fringes. Like Brochs, they seem to be a feature of the Iron Age Celtic culture.

Vitrified means turned to glass.
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PostPosted: 16-12-2004 00:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there are some brochs that have been vitrified, (enormous ?well, I would'nt go that far ! big,well some where, yes but....)thanks for clearing up what vitrified means!. (for some reason I always assume that ftmb'ers have a slightly better understanding of knowledge in general than the average Sun reader ! ) Cool
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Imperial_CallOffline
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PostPosted: 16-12-2004 01:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

melf wrote:
i think they did a "reconstruction" for arthur c clarkes "mysterious world" tv series


I saw that, IIRC they didn't manage to do it (melt the rocks), they either couldn't get the fire hot enough, or they ran out of wood ...
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PostPosted: 16-12-2004 08:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bullseye wrote:
I think there are some brochs that have been vitrified, (enormous ?well, I would'nt go that far ! big,well some where, yes but....)thanks for clearing up what vitrified means!. (for some reason I always assume that ftmb'ers have a slightly better understanding of knowledge in general than the average Sun reader ! ) Cool


Some broch's may have been vitrified, I'm not sure about that. I believe some dun's were. These were slightly bigger enclosures, often backing onto the sea.

The Broch of Mousa on Shetland is still standing to a height of 14+ meters. That's fairly enormous for a free standing construction built using drystone walling techniques, I can assure you.

I mentioned the fact that vitrified means turned to glass, because I still think it's also pretty impressive that it got so hot in there that the stones themselves started to fuse and melt. Beared repeating.

Broch of Mousa
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many_angled_oneOffline
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PostPosted: 16-12-2004 10:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I know it's still classed as pretty impossible, yes it's possible to vitrify stone and they have recreated this small scale with great effort but think on this:

Now take a vitrified fort near Aberdeen, on top of fairly steep hill. It's quite big, so think of the wood needed to surround the structure's walls. Then set it on fire, keep that fire fueled for a damn long time, weeks at least I think, at a sufficient level to keep generating the heat needed to do it, assuming of course that it's possible to keep that sustained heat going think of the manpower that would be needed to keep the fire fueled. The hill was probably already completely deforested by the time it happened, for local firewood and crafts, being as they probably lived there for a good while before that fort was vitrified and it's more secure to do so where enemy cannot sneak up on you, they would have had to build it after all as well which woudl take a good while. They would have had to drag all that fuel from at best a short distance away, and then UP that fairly steep hill. Thats at least say, 200 people I would think, doing nothing but keeping the fire fueled, day and night, which assumes many times that number doing their work and feeding them etc. If we assume they had some unknown method to make vitrifying easier we definately dont know it.
If we tried to vitrify a whole stone fort as they did we would fail miserably.

And then there is the WHY of it. Why do it? It makes your walls weaker than they were before so its not for security. Why go to all that effort to vitrify a stone fort if it actually weakens it? It is hideously expensive, both in time, materials and manpower and is very labour-intensive. I believe some vitrified forts seem to be vitrified from ABOVE as well, though I cant verify that with my own eyes.


All in all its a bit of a puzzler.
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intaglioreallyOffline
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PostPosted: 21-12-2004 19:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok a couple of observations

Firstly what evidence is there for the fuel? A powerful fire like that would have left several feet of ash

Secondly, has anyone factored in the wind as a contributary factor for increasing the amount of oxygen available for the fire. This can have a large effect, for example at St Agnes Beacon the remains of Roman(?) period glass furnaces have been found designed to face into the prevailing wind and in Sri Lanka Iron and steel were made by furnaces using the Monsoon winds
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many_angled_oneOffline
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PostPosted: 22-12-2004 09:23    Post subject: Reply with quote

And then there is the little point that we are talking about SCOTLAND here. Try and keep a fire going for that long without it raining at least a few times, and more likely a fair bit. Scotland is a wet country, lol, this would tend to also help to diminish the "build a big fire" theory.
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StormkhanOffline
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PostPosted: 22-12-2004 12:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ancient flame-thowers anyone?

Neolithic World Today wrote:
"Dangerous Greek Fire in Building Industry Scandal!"


These whacky ancients, hey? They come up with incendiary building methods and we, younger people, go and forget everything! Perhaps the resultant ash was shipped off to use as the land bridge between Atlantis and Skegness.
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BreakfastologistOffline
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PostPosted: 22-12-2004 14:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is very probable- after all, the Atlanteans would have wanted somewhere pretty special to go on holiday.
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gyrtrashOffline
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PostPosted: 23-12-2004 19:34    Post subject: Atlanteans up north! Reply with quote

They also came to Huddersfield for a day trip...


Not too far from me is Castle Hill (also known as 'Almondbury Hill Fort'). It looks just like a Yorkshire version of Glastonbury Tor, from a distance!

The interesting thing is; according to several researchers, sometime around 430 B.C. the timbers in the walls of the fort spontaneously combusted Shocked resulting in the formation of one of England's few vitrified hill-forts.


What causes timbers to spontaneously combust?
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StormkhanOffline
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PostPosted: 24-12-2004 09:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very big Boy Scout rubbing them together.

I also understand that wood, when compressed in huge piles, can generate enough heat to start a smoulder like on coal tips.
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