Stonehenge

Stonehenge is a massive, fascinating stone structure that is one of the most baffling monuments in England, and indeed all the world……It has existed for thousands of years, and almost everybody who goes to England on a tour usually includes a visit to Stonehenge on their itinerary…..It is perhaps the most famous prehistoric monument in the world…

It’s original purpose and true meaning is shrouded in the mists of time, but archaeologists have determined that it was originally constructed as some sort of a religious monument…..But astronomers have also discovered that it is also a measuring device for astronomical calculations…The mystery grows deeper when you consider the age and antiquity of this charismatic monument, to whom and for what purpose we still have no clue…

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According to my Google sources: “Stonehenge is over 5,000 years-old, with construction beginning on the first stage of the monument c3100 BC. It is older than all the pyramids of Egypt. The design would be changed, with stones added and removed, over the next 1,500 years. Built in several stages, Stonehenge began about 5,000 years ago as a simple earthwork enclosure where prehistoric people buried their cremated dead. The stone circle was erected in the center of the monument in the late Neolithic period, around 2500 BC.

And also,“Stonehenge is a massive stone monument located on a chalky plain north of the modern-day city of Salisbury, England. Research shows that the site has continuously evolved over a period of about 10,000 years. The structure that we call “Stonehenge” was built between roughly 5,000 and 4,000 years ago and forms just one part of a larger, and highly complex sacred landscape….

The purpose of Stonehenge’s existence is another hotly debated issue as records are so sparse from the time of its construction. It may have been used as a memorial to commemorate leaders of the nearby tribes; a site of miracle healing; a burial ground; or an astronomical observatory to mark the winter solstice. Whatever its purpose, it was built with a sophisticated understanding of mathematics and geometry, as it is aligned with the rising and setting of the Sun.

The biggest of Stonehenge’s stones, known as sarsens, are up to 30 feet (9 meters) tall and weigh 25 tons (22.6 metric tons) on average! It is widely believed that they were brought from Marlborough Downs, a distance of 20 miles (32 kilometers) to the north. The biggest of Stonehenge’s stones, known as sarsens, are up to 30 feet (9 meters) tall and weigh 25 tons (22.6 metric tons) on average! It is widely believed that they were brought from Marlborough Downs, a distance of 20 miles (32 kilometers) to the north.

Smaller stones, referred to as “bluestones” (they have a bluish tinge when wet or freshly broken), weigh up to 4 tons and come from several different sites in Western Wales, having been transported as far as 140 miles (225 km). It’s unknown how people in antiquity moved them that far. Scientists have raised the possibility that during the last ice age glaciers carried these bluestones closer to the Stonehenge area and the monument’s makers didn’t have to move them all the way from Wales. Water transport through raft is another idea that has been proposed but researchers now question whether this method was viable.”….But what was the purpose for all this work?

“Stonehenge has a long relationship with astronomers, the report explains. In 1720, Dr Halley used magnetic deviation and the position of the rising sun to estimate the age of Stonehenge. He concluded the date was 460 BC. And, in 1771, John Smith mused that the estimated total of 30 sarsen stones multiplied by 12 astrological signs equaled 360 days of the year, while the inner circle represented the lunar month.”

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“The Druids, a religion that was nature based, reportedly worshiped at the monument of Stonehenge…Today, the most notable date in the calendar is the summer solstice, when British Druids gather at Stonehenge for a sunrise service. The Druids were especially associated with oaks and the mistletoe that grows as a parasite on it. According to Pliny, they gathered the mistletoe in a ritualized manner, used it in their rites, and drank its juice for its medicinal value.”

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“Druidism was the ancient magical religious faith found to be operating in Gaul and later England and Ireland as the Romans pushed northward that has been revived as a twentieth-century Neo-Pagan religion. The name derives from an old Welsh term for oak, implying that they are the people who know the wisdom of the trees. Julius Cesar encountered the Druids in Gaul in the first century B.C.

From that time forward, a number of Romans chronicled their life, especially after the conquest of Britain in the next century. Among the most controversial practices associated with Druids was human sacrifice. In their priestly service among the Celtics in Gaul, it was noted by Julius Caesar and Strabo that they oversaw the sacrifice of humans.

Caesar mentioned the immense images which they filled with living victims and burned to death, a practice that was vividly pictured in the 1975 movie “The Wicker Man.” Gradually, Christianity was introduced into England and then in the fifth century into Ireland. Over the next few centuries, it replaced the Druid religion.”

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Tressock Films Ltd.The Wicker Tree, Publicity & Production Stills.stonehenge18wicker5good

“Stonehenge stood so eminent by its isolation on the Plain, and second, some degree of veneration may—that critical word in the recent literature of Stonehenge which implies “or may not”—may have clung to it through the Celtic period and the Romano-Celtic period until the Saxon invasions.

Also, Stonehenge has an English name which must vividly have conveyed its nature at one time, though the interpretation is uncertain. It may mean that the stones appear to be hinged, or that they look like gallows for hanging, or (the most likely solution) that the lintels were hanging stones, or stones poised in the air”…

So it would seem that the purpose and reason behind Stonehenge is still a source of mystery and controversy amongst the experts even today, but the astronomical facts alone are outstanding…If it did evolve from a simple pagan burial ground into a Druid sacrificial rite compound, as witnessed by no less eminent a historical personage as Julius Cesar, then perhaps the two, the astronomical and the religious, were somehow combined, intertwined over the centuries….

I think that the mystery of Stonehenge will never be fully explained, but I would certainly like to visit there myself sometimes and see what strange vibrations I could pick up….Apparently there are many….Stonehenge remains to this day a confusing, contradictory monument, for what real purpose it was constructed, by who and why, nobody  has yet discovered….It is a true mystery!

For more information about Stonehenge, check out: “Stonehenge” Live Science, “History Extra-10 Facts About Stonehenge”, History Today: Stonehenge and Druidism http://www.encyclopedia.com/topics/druids/aspx

For more articles by John Whye, click on http://www.johnwhye.com@wordpress.com

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