Rumoured to be one of the seven gates of hell, the Stull Cemetery in the tiny 20 citizen village ten miles west and thirteen miles east of Topeka, Kansas. With two terrifying tragedies including a farmer who found his son’s burnt body and a missing man being hung from a tree in the town, there are more rumours that claim “the devil himself holds courts with his worshippers there”
The Poulnabrone Dolmen, County Clare, Ireland. Classified as a portal tomb, this structure dates to the Neolithic period, radiocarbon dates place its use between 3,800 - 3,600 BCE.
During excavations the skeletal remains of up to 22 prehistoric individual were found, which included both adults and children, as well as one newborn. Extensive specialist analysis has been done on these remains, offering us a rare insight into the lives of these Neolithic people.
[…] A variety of artefacts, presumably representing grave goods, were also recovered from the burial chamber. These included a polished stone axe, two stone beads, a decorated bone pendant, a fragment of a mushroom-headed bone pin, two quartz crystals, several sherds of coarse pottery, three chert arrowheads and three chert/flint scrapers.
The burial evidence from Poulnabrone has given us rare glimpse into the lives of our early ancestors. It appears that they endured a relatively tough existence, that involved hard physical labour, childhood illnesses, occasional violent attacks and early deaths. Although only a small section of the community were deemed worthy of burial in the tomb, there is little evidence for gender or age discrimination, with both male and female remains present as well as young and old. Prior to interment their bones appear to have been stored elsewhere and this may indicate that they were venerated as ancestor relics. Why certain individuals were chosen to be buried in the seemingly exalted location of a megalithic tomb, however, remains a mystery.
Photo courtesy of & taken by Nicolas Raymond.
Exploring Iceland with the Abandoned Houses Project
Dwarfed by the powerful landscapes, the abandoned farm houses of Iceland are easy to overlook among the mountains and fjords. Eyðibýli — a project to document these abandoned homes — was started in 2011 to help save these ruins from obscurity.
The nonprofit’s mission is to ”to research and register the magnitude and cultural importance of every abandoned farm and other deserted residences in the rural areas of Iceland.” They started in the south of the county and most recently covered the northwest in a journey to photograph these abandoned houses and interview locals about the areas’ heritage.
The results of this research are published in a series of publications called Eyðibýli á Íslandi. The fourth and fifth books in the series, which are rich with haunting photographs of the homes in the sweeping settings, were published in 2013. The main organizations behind Eyðibýli are R3-Consultancy, Gláma-Kím architects, and the Stapi Geology Consultancy, with collaborators including engineering, architecture, and archaeology students at the Icelandic Academy of the Arts, the University of Iceland, and Institute of Archaeology, as well as the Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland and the National Archives of Iceland.