We know a lot about the wonders of the world, be them Ancient, Middle Ages, or otherwise. With the exception of Stonehenge. Everything about it is delightfully uncertain. Where did it come from? Who created it? Why? When? And most of all...what the hell is it? Armies of archaeologists and engineers, of historians and ethnologists, of kooks and crazies of every stripe, have tried to answer these questions. One aspect, however, is without doubt. Stonehenge is no crop circle or Bigfoot. It represents a very serious undertaking, one that required intelligence, purpose, strategy and persistence.
The word "Stonehenge" has an Anglo-Saxon meaning of "hanging stones." But the composition actually began around 3100 b.c. on the Salisbury Plain in southern England when a ditch with a diameter of 320 feet was excavated, likely by Neolithic people using deer antlers. Evidence of such a primitive implement suggests the obstacles yet to be faced by Stonehenge's creators. Their ditch was banked, and along with the other features there were two parallel entry stones. This building, now often referred to as Stonehenge I, was in use for some five centuries before being abandoned.
Stonehenge II, commencing about 2100 b.c., saw the site dramatically altered. About fourscore bluestone pillars, as heavy as four tons apiece, were placed vertically in two concentric circles, which were probably never completed and years later were dismantled. In 1923 it was established that the bluestones had likely been sourced at the Preseli Hills in southwest Wales, 240 miles distant. That would be quite a task now with a heavy rock; then, it was downright grinding. And yet, it was clearly not dispiriting: Bluestone was the stone - the only stone - that would suffice for these people, so they went and got it.
About a century later, Stonehenge III presented a different transportation challenge, this one from a mere 20 miles away but even more daunting as it involved sarsen stones that were as long as 30 feet and weighed up to 50 tons. Not content with simply building yet another ring, 97 feet across with a horeshoe shape within, it was deemed necessary to top the circle with sarsen stones and then painstakingly pound the surfaces till they were amazingly smooth. In subsequent years several other devilishly complicated structures were assembled. The purpose of each of them remains open to innumerable interpretations.
Stonehenge As It Was To Be
Whatever Stonehenge was devised for, it was still in use as late as 1100 b.c. Old notions that it was built by Druids or Romans have been discarded, as it had been made long before those groups ever visited the area. most theories envision Sontehenge as a grounds where people worshiped in some manner, or perhaps as an astronomical computer of some sort.
Even if the stones have suffered the ravages of time and man, people are more than ever magnetically drawn there, especially during the summer solstice when the sun rises perfectly over the Heel Stone. Stonehenge is truly a mystery among mysteries.
Stonehenge As It Is Today