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*The first artifacts were just wooden poles which have long gone, but these were raised by men in times so ancient*

I can't understand what "long gone" means here.

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closed as general reference by tchrist, Jasper Loy, jwpat7, FumbleFingers, Andrew Leach Aug 10 '12 at 8:51

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Which have long gone means "which have disappeared long ago". A wooden pole is a pole made of wood. Google it. –  Cerberus Aug 9 '12 at 23:31
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There is nothing mysterious about "wooden poles." You can look these words up in a dictionary. "Long gone," on the other hand, might be on-topic. I'm removing the "wooden poles" reference. I'll let the community decide what to do with "long gone." –  KitFox Aug 9 '12 at 23:31
    
I have a hunch that this is talking about Stonehenge, am I correct? –  Arlen Beiler Aug 10 '12 at 1:17
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This question might be a better fit for our proposed sister site for English language learners. Please support it. Thank you. –  RegDwigнt Aug 10 '12 at 12:50
    
@ArlenBeiler yes, that's correct –  joker13 Aug 12 '12 at 1:45

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Because the materials referenced are not very durable, they have broken down and no longer exist. The term gone is used to indicate that they no longer exist in a meaningful form. According to Compact Oxford English Dictionary, gone means

no longer present; departed:

Long is an adverb modifying gone. It means long ago or a long time. It has been a significant period of time since the materials could be seen.

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But, generally speaking, problems are not rooted in misunderstandings ('long ago' != 'a long time') by distorting or forgetting what words actually mean in everyday use! Furthermore, as far as I concern, you get into trouble by trying to understand words outside of the context of their use in spoken language, as - precisely - the OP said! That being said, I cannot vote up this answer! –  Xavier Hernández Balcázar Aug 13 '12 at 21:48
    
I appreciate everyone's participation. I got it. –  joker13 Nov 7 '12 at 1:47

I can't tell for sure with just this little bit, but I'll give it a shot. Context is always important in English. Wooden poles should be pretty self explanatory, so I'll save my breath. Seriously, a picture is worth a thousand words. Most likely it means the wooden poles have long gone, but they were raised so long ago (so far in the distant past) that this is understandable.

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You may need to edit your answer (since the question has been edited), so that you don't define "long gone" as "long gone"! –  Andrew Leach Aug 10 '12 at 8:53

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