Stonehenge. What’s with all the rocks?
Stonehenge. What does it make you think of?
Stonehenge has infiltrated many parts of our modern culture. It’s been the background of literature from Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy to modern works of fiction too numerous to list. It has been featured in blockbuster movies, including the latest from the Transformer’s franchise (2017). It found its way into Doctor Who (2010). Scientists and common men have puzzled over it for centuries.
But what is it?
In short, it is a ring of standing stones set within earthworks in the middle of a complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments. There are many burial mounds. Some of these may be from sacrifices. (Yes, we’ll explore that further.) What remains, a tall circle of standing stones, some toppled, with lintels connecting many that remain standing, is but a small portion of a greater complex of structures. Stonehenge is thought to be older than the pyramids of Egypt. To put that in perspective, that means it could have been built somewhere between 3100 and 2800 B.C. Along with the pyramids, Stonehenge is the most recognized landmark in the world.
But who built it? And why? The answer isn’t so simple. Because of that, and to do the subject justice, I plan to break the subject “Stonehenge” down into several smaller subjects to provide a better understanding of this complex site. Stonehenge is not unique. While it is historically significant and unique, there are other henges similar to it located around Britain, Ireland, the United States, and other places in the world. These need to be explored as well.
Some think Merlin built Stonehenge. That’s right, Merlin, as in the wizard of Arthurian legend. This just opens another can of worms though. Who was Merlin? Man or myth? Perhaps a bit of both. I’ll dedicate a blog specifically to him. He didn’t build Stonehenge, even if there’s a fascinating legend fully of magic describing how he transported the stones from Ireland and allegedly built Stonehenge.
Some have considered the Druids. While Druids and today’s neo-druids may practice their faith at Stonehenge, it is older than they are. Another blog will explore this.
The more we look at Stonehenge, the more the mystery grows.
Later this year Jamie Poole Books will release a book about a day in Stonehenge’s history. The Battle of the Beanfield took place in 1985. I would like to explore the archaeological details of Stonehenge and the places like it.
At the moment Stonehenge is under threat. While many World Heritage Sites may be under threat from natural forces, Stonehenge is under threat of another kind. The UK Government plans to widen a roadway which would tread across land that archaeologists are still researching. Doing so would likely destroy vital information that could lend new insight into the builders of Stonehenge and prehistoric England. Once a site like this is destroyed, there’s no restoring it. It’s important to know our history. In this case, some consider the landscape around Stonehenge to be the “most archaeologically significant land surface in Europe.”
If this is something that interests you, stay tuned here for further blogs. If you’re concerned about Stonehenge and wonder what you can do to help, check out organizations working to protect this World Heritage Site.