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No. 18: Nov-Dec 1981

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The Senegambian Megalithic Monument Complex

When one thinks of megaliths, one's thoughts usually turn to Britain and Brittany, forgetting that North Africa is covered with them. M.H. Hill sketches out in this paper the full extent of the great tract of megalithic remains on the Atlantic coast of Africa near Cape Verde, which he calls the Senegambian Monument Complex because it sits astride both Senegal and Gambia. An archeological inventory of the region discloses 212 pillar-circle sites and 251 "tombelles," which are stone cairns or heaps often surrounded by ring-like stone walls. Hundreds of sites with tumuli also dot the area. One of the pillar-circle sites boasts all of 50 individual pillar circles. Some of the pillars are topped with cupules, raised discs, or balls. The fanciest pillars are V- or Y-shaped with crossbars. Archeological exploration of these impressive sites is incomplete. Preliminary dating makes the Senegambian Complex over 1,000 years old. The functions of this vast array of megalithic sites is unknown, although it is not obviously astronomical.

(Hill, Matthew H.; "The Senegambian Monument Complex: Current Status and Prospects for Research," in Megaliths to Medicine Wheels: Boulder Structures in Archaeology, Michael Wilson, et al, eds., Calgary, 1981, p. 419.)

Reference. Much more information about these North African sites may be found in our Handbook: Ancient Man. This volume is described here.

Lyre-shaped megalithic monument in Senegal Lyre-shaped megalithic monument in Senegal

From Science Frontiers #18, NOV-DEC 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

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  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987