Parallel history... what was happening somewhere in the US when...
First of all, 1779 is a common late year that you'd encounter in the UK. Here, this is Iron Bridge - the first bridge to be made of cast iron in the world. Industry sufficiently advanced to create the huge castings this thing required shows just how far things had progressed in the UK. While the bridge was being built, the Revolutionary War was raging on the US east coast. And it had been only 3 years since the first western building of any kind had been raised at San Francisco. It would be 13 years in the future when George Vancouver would bring HMS Discovery into Puget Sound for the first time, making it known to the western world.
But as I said, the 18th century is late times in the UK. Let's step back a little further, 240 years further back.
|Ruins of St. Mary's Abbey, York|
OK, let's step back another couple centuries, to 1312, when one William Binnoch snuck some warriors into Linlithgow castle in a hay wagon to take it for Robert the Bruce (see the movie Braveheart for a visual portrayal of the era, tho not this incident). Why do I bring this up? Because Binnoch was a forbear of mine on my mother's side. For his efforts, Robert the Bruce awarded Binnoch 1000 acres near Linlithgow, at Ecclesmachan.
|Ecclesmachan - part of the Binnoch grant|
OK, now a bigger step - back to AD 50 when the Romans did their first construction at Bath, site of a natural hot spring in southwestern England. The Roman Baths are a World Heritage site and are very well managed.
|Are those two Roman ladies?|
And finally, this:
The first construction at Stonehenge proper was in about 3000 BC, when a circular ditch about 100 yards in diameter was constructed. About 500 years later the first of the big stones were raised. But Stonehenge is not the first prehistoric structure on the Salisbury plain. Other structures have been dated as early as 3800 BC, and new discoveries in Durington Walls (a couple of miles from Stonehenge) could push this back to 4500 BC - we are approaching the end of the last Ice Age here.
In this period, the city states of Sumer and the kingdom of Egypt were established and grew to prominence. Agriculture spread widely across Eurasia. World population in the course of the millennium doubled, from approximately 7 to 14 million people. Ötzi the Iceman died near the present-day border between Austria and Italy, and silver was discovered.
This trip made me dizzy - I feel as tho I am standing on the edge of a very high cliff, looking down into the past. And in Great Britain, that view goes a long, long way down.