I do not know how many times I have been asked about this. Every time the word “vitrification” is stated in my research as well as that of Jan Peter de Jong’s, Jesus Gamarra’s and Bob Newton’s, a lot of folks cite the research on the Scottish Vitrified Forts. As Jan Peter will tell you, the vitrified vestiges in Peru are a different kettle of fish. No ne seems to have addressed the research and the investigations into the 60 or more vitrified forts in Scotland. For this short article I will try my best to explain the Scottish vitrification process and will focus on what is known as “Fully Vitrified” .
What is Full/Total Vitrification?
Total vitrification appears to be the application of an extreme temperature evenly throughout the entire length or significant section of the rampart for a significant time, to the extent that the rock face of the rampart actually melts and forms a glassy or bubbled surface. Craig Phadrig for example shows signs of intense heat vitrification along the entire 230m circumference of its interior rampart.
There have been many theories as to how vitrification has occurred in some ancient forts, ranging from the use of special chemicals to the composition of the rocks used for the forts. As a result of research it has been concluded that the in order to create a “true” vitrified rampart, the heat required is in excess of 1000 degrees centigrade applied consistently over large areas of the wall, in close proximity for a significant period of time.
Site Record for Craig Phadrig : http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/13486/details/craig+phadrig/
Attempts to re-create vitrification
So far only limited experimental research has been done to re-create the vitrification process, usually in order to prove a particular theory and often with dubious results. However these albeit limited experiments can give further evidence of the determined effort required to produce a truely vitrified fort. A team of chemists on Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World subjected rock samples from 11 forts to rigorous chemical analysis, and stated that the temperatures needed to produce the vitrification were so intense–up to 1,100°C–that a simple burning of walls with wood interlaced with stone could not have achieved such temperatures.
Examples of Fully Vitrified Scottish Forts
Barra Hill in Perth : http://www.brigantesnation.com/SiteResearch/BronzeAge/BarraHill/BarraHill.htm
Finavon in Angus : http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/34813/details/finavon/&biblio=more
Tap o’Noth in Inverurie : http://www.brigantesnation.com/SiteResearch/BronzeAge/TapONoth/TapONoth.htm
Research Theories/Myths and Legends
For over 250 years, archaeologists studying ancient Scottish ruins have reported a type of construction said to defy explanation. About sixty of these rough stone wall enclosures have been found throughout Scotland, and even a few scattered across mainland Europe. Most are prehistoric. Called vitrified forts, they’re notable for a unique and surprising feature. The rocks that make up the walls were originally stacked dry, with no mortar; but have been fused together into a solid surface through a process called vitrification, the transformation into glass. A Welsh poem written by Taliesin speaks of King Arthur and a glass castle. Many fairy tales have featured glass castles, a somewhat improbable concept if one is thinking of a castle as a strong fortress, but if vitrified rock is what is meant, then it becomes much more plausible.
The Castle of Glass Quote
“It is relevant that we should try to interpret the meaning behind the well-known legend that Merlin was confined on Bardsey Island in a glass castle with the thirteen treasures of Britain. He apparently lies there in an enchanted sleep awaiting the return of Arthur.
Legends in most cases are based on folk memories and even though they may appear to be nothing more than fairy stories, they sometimes contain an element of truth. We found the idea of a glass castle particularly interesting and it deserved further investigation.
In the bard Taliesin’s Preiddiau Annwfn (‘The Spoils of Annwn’), we found that Annwn is depicted as a four-cornered glass fortress standing on an island. Lewis Morris, in his Celtic Remains, (1878), locates the Ty Gwydr (House of Glass) of Merlin the Wild on Bardsey Island and, according to the 16th century Peniarth Manuscript (No. 147), he went there, accompanied by nine bards, and took with him the thirteen treasures of Britain. The Oxford Manuscript of La Folie Tristan informed us that Morgan, the Queen of Avalon, lived in a chamber of glass on which all the rays of the sun converged. We were consistently finding statements in Welsh and Irish tradition which referred to Annwn as Caer Wydr (Glass Castle). Gradually, we began to consider the possibility that such a building might have been the equivalent of a modem glass house. In other words, a chamber with glass windows which might conceivably be used as a solarium where illness was treated by therapeutic light. The ‘Castle of Glass’ was clearly a solar paradise.”
Robert Schoch has produced a paper on the subject, stating……..
As usual, theories range from Aliens to Nuclear Weapons – I know what I think, how about you?
Anne Tittensor, Robert Schoch, Brigantesnation, Skeptoid, Journey to Avalon, Canmore site plans (Scotland)