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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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  • Which have long gone means "which have disappeared long ago". A wooden pole is a pole made of wood. Google it. 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."
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Aug 9 '12 at 23:31
  • I have a hunch that this is talking about Stonehenge, am I correct? 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
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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.

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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! Aug 13 '12 at 21:48
  • I appreciate everyone's participation. I got it.
    – joker13
    Nov 7 '12 at 1:47
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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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