The mystery of the vitrified walls of FORTS of ancient Scotland

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Europe is famous for its turbulent history and many ancient castles. Some puzzles of these buildings still remain unsolved.

Between 700 and 300 BC in Scotland on the tops of the hills were built many stone FORTS. The stones were laid without any binding mortar, just a well fitting one under the other.

The ruins of the ancient Fort of Dun Mac Sniachan (Scotland), built between 500 BC and 500 ad

Загадка остекленных стен фортов древней Шотландии

In itself this is not something unique, this method of construction was known around the world. However, everything becomes much more amazing when you learn that some of the stones from the masonry of these FORTS were very firmly bonded to each other … molten glass.

Melted and transformed into glassy substance, stones Fort of Dunagoil (Scotland)

Загадка остекленных стен фортов древней Шотландии

Some areas of the walls consisted of this strange dark glass-like substance, which contained air bubbles and droplets of molten rock. It seems that stone walls once were exposed to very high temperatures, which led to the emergence of layers and «frosting» of glass.

Similar to the glass walls meet and mainland Europe, including in France, as in the photo below. But most of these walls were found in Scotland.

The glazed walls of ancient ruins in Sainte-Suzanne (France)

Загадка остекленных стен фортов древней Шотландии

Загадка остекленных стен фортов древней Шотландии

During the last three centuries, since archaeologists have studied the first stone wall with layers of glass, the researchers tried to unravel this mystery and yet nothing comes.

One of the first British archaeologists, breaking my head over this glass, was John Williams. In 1777 he made a detailed description of several such FORTS in Scotland. Since then, in Europe, mostly in Scotland, were found more than 100 ancient ruins with such walls.

A piece of glass from the ancient ruins of Dun Mac Sniachan (Scotland)

Загадка остекленных стен фортов древней Шотландии

Stones and glass in the ruins of Craig Phadraig near Inverness (Scotland)

Загадка остекленных стен фортов древней Шотландии

So far it is unclear who built these FORTS and what technology has transformed the stones into the glass. Scientists may be missing something and the solution is very close or they are moving in the wrong direction in the study of these structures.

Officially all these mysterious glass walls are called FORTS or Glazed Vitrified FORTS (Vitrified fort). According to some experts, in order for these stones in this way turned to glass, the desired temperature as the explosion of a nuclear bomb.

70 of these FORTS are in Scotland, the others in France, Bohemia (Czech Republic), Thuringia (Germany), Hungary, Turkey, Silesia (Poland and Czech Republic), Iran, Portugal and Sweden.

Stone with a vitreous layer from the ruins of the Tap o Noth (Aberdeenshire, Scotland)

Загадка остекленных стен фортов древней Шотландии

What is even more mysterious, the presence of this glass in the walls is very heterogeneous even in the ruins of the same buildings. Somewhere this stream of smooth vitreous enamel, covering the rocks where something porous, and very rarely, when solid glassy mass covers a considerable part of the wall.

Some scientists believe that with the help of some technology the ancient people specially coated glass part of the walls to strengthen them. But such coverage only made it more fragile.

The appearance of glass also could occur as a result of fires after the raids of the enemies, and if happened, the flame has to burn for at least a day at a temperature of 1050-1235 Celsius. It’s not impossible, but very unlikely.

Stones with glass from the ruins of the castle of Dunnideer Castle (Aberdeenshire, Scotland)

Загадка остекленных стен фортов древней Шотландии

In the 1930-ies, archaeologists Vere Gordon Childe and Wallace Thornicroft conducted an experiment with a giant fire directed against a stone wall. The same experiment was carried out in 1980 by archaeologist Ian Ralston.

In both cases, the experiment showed a slight glazing of individual stones, but could not explain how it could be produced on such a large scale as in the glazed FORTS.

Glazed FORTS remain one of the most important archaeological anomalies, however, their now only few studies.

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