Saturday, August 16, 2014

Roman Fort at Clunderwen?

Originally Posted on  by hsauro

About ten years ago, a roman road was discovered tracing a path west of Carmarthen. Currently the road is known to reach as far as Wiston where a roman fort was recently found in 2013. This was the first roman fort ever found in Pembrokeshire. Excavation at Whitland as a result of road improvements also confirmed the presence of the road (and witnessed by the writer).

While looking along the route of the roman road on Google maps I recently noticed a rectangular structure very close to the roman road as it passed south of Clunderwen. The image below was taken from Google Maps. The rectangular structure is shown inside the red square (SN12311893). The red line is the rough alignment for the roman road. North is at the top of the image. The houses to the left of the enclosure mark the southern part of Clunderwen with the railway line arcing just at the top of center of the image. The Royal Commission marks this site as a generic ‘ENCLOSURE;DEFENDED ENCLOSURE;HENGE’ but the rectangular dimensions do not match the usual shape for an iron age or post roman site. The site was only recorded in 2011 and even the Royal Commission is unsure how to interpret the site and suggests a possible roman origin. Of more interest is that the distance between Wiston where there is a confirmed roman fort and the one suggested here is between 9 and 10 miles which is a common roman distance between marching camps. The forts that extend from Edinburgh to the north of Scotland are roughly 10 miles apart. The size of the enclosure is roughly 1.3 acres. (94 meters by 54 meters). This is small for a marching camp but not unheard of. For example Knockcross in Cumbria is only 1.5 acres.  The Wiston camp is a little bigger at about 130 by 160 meters. 

The circumstantial evidence is therefore suggestive that the rectangular enclosure south of clunderwen is in fact another Pembrokeshire roman fort. Only excavation can confirm this hypothesis. 

Rhod Kemp says:


Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 3729
Trust : Dyfed
Community : Clynderwen
NGR : SN12311893
Site Type (preferred type first) : Neolithic Henge / Bronze Age Henge
Legal Protection : scheduled ancient monument

Summary :
Large oval-shaped enclosure with the lowered bowl-like interior giving the impression of an amphitheatre. Defined by an exterior bank with a possible entrance on the SSE side. The field is still cultivated and the banks have been spread by ploughing but the monument remains impressive on the landscape. This site is similar to the henge at Castell Garw (1024) and is likely to be a ritual rather than domestic/defended enclosure, dating to the late Neolithic/early Bronze age. NB 2000

Description :
Character as described by Greives, & unlike any settlement enclosure I have ever seen. Lowered interior gives impression of a large amphitheatre. Similar to Fynnon Neueydd. Nantgaredig, in respect of this lowered interior, resulting drop to inside of entrance shape. Under alternating arable/pasture regime. GH Williams 1980″

from Archwilio website ( 04/01/16

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Skynet Edges Closer

Originally Posted on  by hsauro

There is a fascinating article in science this week about the construction in hardware of a neural chip. This isn’t a new idea but scale and flexibility is novel. The chip is made by researchers from IBM and Cornell and can emulate 1,000,000 ‘neurons’. The developers claim that the approach is scalable, and efficient. Apparently chips can be cascaded to make even bigger networks.

I did a back of the envelope calculation to guestimate how many transistors it might take to emulate the brains from different organisms since we know how many transistors it took to make the chip.

This sentence was taken from Ars Technica: “The new processor, which the team is calling TrueNorth, takes a radically different approach. Its 5.4 billion transistors include over (1 million neurons) 4,000 individual cores” Assuming 100 billion neurons in a human brain that means it would take:

54 Trillion transistors to make a human brain, that is or roughly equivalent to 5,200 modern PCs, assuming 10 billion transistors per PC.

In other words not currently possible (In addition the fact that the chip only talks to 256 or neurons whereas the each brain neuron talks to about 7000). The IBM team would have to connect over 5000 chips to make a human brain, not that many it seems. Some other numbers:

Jelly Fish: ~ 4 Million transistors
Pond Snail Brain: ~ 60 Million transistors
Fruit Fly Brain: ~ 540 Million transistors
Honey Bee Brain: ~5.2 Billion transistors
Cockroach: ~5.3 Billion transistors 
Frog Brain: ~86 Billion transistors
Rat Brain: ~1 Trillion transistors
Human Brain: ~54 Trillion transistors

The single chip could just about simulate a Cockroach brain.

Brain data from … of_neurons1 and