Learning never exhausts the mind
Home >  Paranormal > Ancient World > Stonehenge – A Neolithic Henge and Stone Circle

Last Updated on by

Stonehenge is one of the most famous megalithic monuments located on the Salisbury Plain in Southern England. Its construction and purpose have been a constant source of mystery.

Stonehenge comprises thirty upright stones, which weigh in excess of 26 tonnes each, as much as four adult elephants, positioned in a circle, with thirty capstones of 6 tonnes each, placed horizontally atop the posts in a continuous circle. There is a single erect stone called the "Heel Stone" that forms an "entrance path" to the circle, which is set at a distance from the other stones. The stones were excavated from a quarry at Carn Menyn, high in the Preseli Hills of Pembrokeshire. The stone was then carved and transported over 240 miles to Salisbury Plain; the method of transportation is unknown.

At a dig site in the Preseli Hills, a team led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson found evidence that the stones used to create Stonehenge were first used in a different monument in Wales.

Summer Solstice Sunrise over Stonehenge

Summer Solstice Sunrise over Stonehenge

Wikipedia

The heel stone is said to have been thrown by the Devil at a monk who was spying on him between the stones. The stone pinned the unfortunate clergyman to the ground by his heel.

How Was Stonehenge Built?

Aliens, giants, or even team-building exercises are some of the theories that attempt to explain Stonehenge's origins.

The construction, and purpose, of Stonehenge has been a mystery and still remains one. Whoever built it left no written record and few clues behind for us to piece together this ancient puzzle.

Like the ancient Pyramids of Egypt, there are many theories around how Stonehenge was built and the stones transported. Some are perfectly rational explanations, while others are waaay out there.

What we do know is that Stonehenge was built in phases. The first phases being a great circular ditch about six feet deep with a bank of dirt within it about 360 feet in diameter. A large entrance was located to the northeast and a smaller one to the south. The circular ditch and bank together is called a henge. Within the henge were 56 pits, each slightly more than three feet in diameter, called Aubrey holes and date to around 3100 BC.

The second phase of work at Stonehenge occurred approximately 100-200 years later and involved the setting up of upright wooden posts. During this second phase, it was used for burial. At least 25 of the Aubrey holes were emptied and used for cremation burials. Another 30 cremation burial pits were dug into the ditch of the henge and in the eastern portion within the henge enclosure.

The third phase of construction at Stonehenge happened approximately 400-500 years later, the remains of which we see today.

All three phases required a great deal of planning and labour.

How did they shift 24 tonnes of rock and stand it upright? The most popular theory is that tree trunks were cut and carved to make sledges and rafts. These were then dragged by workers and oxen. When the stones were near their final resting place, they were tipped into holes using levers and counter levers.

Some of the more out-there theories include claims that ancient aliens came to Earth and provided the necessary knowledge and tools, or that the Nephilim, a race of giants who were almost totally wiped out by Noah's flood, used their greater height and strength to help build Stonehenge.

Purpose of Stonehenge

It has been suggested by Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambrensis), a historian of the 12th century, who wrote a book titled The History and Topography of Ireland that Stonehenge was designed and engineered by Merlin. He said that Aurelius Ambrosius, King of the Britons, had Merlin bring the stones to Britain. However, the archaeological evidence at Stonehenge does not support an Arthurian date of construction. The evidence points to a date between 3,000BC and 1,000BC.

Some believe Stonehenge has supernatural origins and some neopagans think was a place of worship for the "old religion." Archaeologists note that the monument is older than the Druid religion which dates from the Iron Age.

The construction and alignment of Stonehenge suggest a relationship with astronomy. In a recent book entitled "Stonehenge Decoded", Gerald Hawkins, a Professor of Astronomy, concluded that Stonehenge is a sophisticated astronomical observatory designed to predict eclipses. The positioning of the stones allows an observer to accurately predict every important lunar event for hundreds of years. The computer needs resetting about once every 300 years by advancing the stones by one space.

"Stonehenge was like a giant computer, a huge observatory capable extremely complex calculations based on the sun, moon and stars. The men that built it had proved that very feat that they were not primitive."
Gerald Hawkins

If the academics are right and Stonehenge (and other standing stones) were designed as astronomical observatories, it is likely that there was an intellectual elite within the primitive stone-age farmers. An age when planetary alignments can be calculated, whilst at the same time, there is no form of written word.

Religion at Stonehenge

Stonehenge is a place of annual pilgrimage for neo-druids and those following pagan or neo-pagan beliefs. The midsummer solstice began attracting modern visitors in the 1870s, with the first record of recreated Druidic practices dates back to 1905 when the Ancient Order of Druids enacted a ceremony.

In more recent years, the setting of the monument has been affected by the proximity of the A303 road between Amesbury and Winterbourne Stoke, and the A344. In early 2003, the Department for Transport announced that the A303 would be upgraded, including the construction of the Stonehenge road tunnel.

Leave a Reply

Fields marked with * are mandatory.

We respect your privacy, and will not make your email public. Hashed email address may be checked against Gravatar service to retrieve avatars. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.