The Mystery / Secrets of Stonehenge
The Mystery / Secrets of Stonehenge
The South English megalithic structure Stonehenge could take its rightful place in the list of wonders of the world if the Greeks knew about its existence at the time the list was compiled. However, even today it remains one of the most amazing finds of archaeologists – and a serious test for historians, ethnographers and writers. More than 4,500 years have passed since its construction, but no one has yet come to the final conclusion why it was built. The fact is that the ancient inhabitants of Britain did not leave behind handwritten evidence, clay tablets or any other sources that allow us to find out.
Mystery shrouded in mystery
The past of this megalith, hidden in the mists of time, has created many theoretical hypotheses in an attempt to explain how and why it was erected.
There is a folklore version according to which Stonehenge was not built, but simply created by the great wizard Merlin, the character of the epic about King Arthur, the kingdom of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table. Through magic, he transferred blocks of stone from Ireland , where they were collected by giants. All this is very beautiful, but it hardly claims to be realism, even to a small extent.
According to another version, the stones were installed by the Vikings from Denmark to commemorate the establishment of their dominance after the Danish invasion at the beginning of the 11th century.
A slightly less popular version explains the origin of the circle of stones by the fact that there was supposedly a Roman temple there.
Finally, new versions that are not related to science and lie to a greater extent in the field of myths and legends are no less colorful: they say that it was at this place that one of the first contacts between terrestrial and extraterrestrial civilizations took place. There are even originals claiming that this is nothing but an ancient spaceport, or a symbol of the feminine, designed to bring good harvests and milk production. And what? It looks like it does.
The first archaeologists reached Stonehenge in the middle of the 17th century, when the stones were examined by an antiques expert named John Aubrey. He was mistaken in assuming that the ruins were erected much later, as a Celtic religious center under the leadership of a college of druid priests.
Layer upon layer, stone upon stone
More recent studies, including over a century and a half of work in the fields, prove that the megalithic structure was created over a thousand years, starting from the 50th century BC. era as a round earthen rampart and a moat, reinforced with burnt wood pillars. Subsequently, they decided to replace the pattern with 80 dolerite blocks delivered to these parts from the Welsh outback. This happened 25-26 centuries ago, after which the stones were moved several times (obviously, choosing the most convenient location).
Then, about 400-500 years ago, the composition was supplemented by larger blocks of sarsen – sandy stone mined in quarries three dozen kilometers from the structure. They were used to create a continuous outer ring with five triliths, barred stone arches, set in a horseshoe shape within the circle.
In total, according to researchers, the construction of Stonehenge took more than twenty million hours of work. However, all this still does not give us an answer: what is it?
Holy place or Stone Age Greenwich?
Modern scientists seriously consider only two hypotheses about the functional purpose of the monument: it could be a sacred place or an observatory that allowed the ancients to observe cosmic phenomena for an unknown purpose.
Oddly enough, the adherents of both theories do not rely on scientific, but rather on cosmogonic versions, on the supposedly underlying idea of aligning the Sun and Moon with an object in order to perform certain rituals tied to the cycle of the seasons and both solstices – summer and winter.
The alternative says that this is a calendar mechanism of the megalithic era, which was used to predict solar and lunar eclipses, which played a great role in the rites of archaic pagan cults of that time.
Not so long ago, another version appeared. Allegedly, Stonehenge is a kind of ancient Lourdes: a place where people came for medical help. This idea is based on small blue stones. According to the researchers, there is no rational explanation for the movements of objects of such a mass – except that they were used in witchcraft or witch rites. In 2005, scientist Tim Darvell of the University of Bournemouth said that his group managed to find the canyon where the blue stones were mined, and expressed an original hypothesis: that the stones allegedly arrived at the place on their own, without human help. Well, almost: they were dragged in their body by a glacier, and people only added symmetry to the object. Excavations carried out at the site three years later showed that Darvell was right with a high degree of probability!
Living and dead
From time to time, other researchers join the competition in search of historical reality. For example, among those trying to storm the secret of Stonehenge, researcher Michael Pearson Parker from the University of Sheffield is not the last: he conducts surveys with the support of the US National Geographic Society and the Royal Geographical Society. His discoveries confirm that the ruins were a place of worship intended for the worship of dead ancestors. Its location is due to its proximity to the Avon River. In addition, there were alleys for ceremonies and a second circle made of wood: unlike stone, it symbolized the living principle.
Thus, we are dealing with a pair of places of interest: one was made of stones, and the second of wood, just one was preserved, and the second was lost completely and irrevocably, since raw wood was used in the construction.