*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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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.
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.