Saturday, 14 July 2012

Mysterious places - Stonehenge pt1

The towering, mysterious circle of rocks that rises out of Salisbury Plain has inspired awe in millions of people over the ages. But the reason for its existence baffles archaeologists to this day. Various theories suggest a ritual site, an astronomical observatory, or a focus for some mystical form of ‘earth energy’.

Rocky Evolution

In piecing together the complex Stonehenge jigsaw, we can at least be confident of some basic facts. Using radiocarbon measurements, scientists have dated the earliest work on Salisbury Plain to around 3,100BC. At this time the site was far more primitive, comprising a circular 97.5m diameter ditch, a single entrance and a central wooden ‘temple’ or sanctuary. Around the edge of the ditch were fifty-six holes, each containing cremated human remains. On the summer and winter solstices the whole structure aligned with rising and setting points of the moon.

By 2,500BC, the wooden sanctuary had been replaced with two circles of the  famous bluestones that had been transported 390km from the Preseli mountains of south-west Wales. An entrance avenue of parallel ditches which aligned to the midsummer sunrise was added, together with outlying single megaliths such as the Heel Stone, Slaughter Stone and Station Stones. However, the bluestones were pulled down within a century and recycled for a new design.

The new Stonehenge had a very different emphasis. At its centre was the Altar Stone (now fallen), a large sandstone shipped from the Cleddau Estuary in Pembrokeshire. Over the next 500 years, some of the re-used bluestones were raised around it in a horseshoe shape. Beyond these were placed five massive sarsen trilithons (two uprights bearing a horizontal), a ring of bluestone pillars and an outer ring of sarsen uprights linked by lintels. The bus-sized sarsen blocks are by far Stonehenge’s largest, typically weighing 30 tons and at least one as much as 50 tons. Most are thought to have been transported from the chalklands of Marlborough Downs, some 32km west.

from The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal by Rupert Matthews.
Buy your copy HERE

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