Today I feature one of the oddest structures in the world - Stonehenge. What is it? Where is it?
Stonehenge is a Neolithic monument located near Amesbury in Wiltshire, Great Britain, about thirteen miles north of Salisbury. Stonehenge consists of large stone blocks in four concentric circles, the outer diameter of thirty meters, consists of large rectangular sandstone rocks that originally were topped by lintels, also of stone, but only seven are in place today. Within this outer row is another circle of smaller blocks of blue sandstone.
The entire complex is surrounded by a circular moat measuring 104 m in diameter. Within this space stands a bench in the pits that are known as the "Aubrey holes". The bench and the trench are cut by "Avenue," a processional path of 23 meters wide and three kilometers long, approximately. Nearby is the 'Stone of Sacrifice.' In front is the "Heel Stone". It consists of a large circle of large megaliths whose construction date to 2500 a. C. The circle of megaliths is considered the oldest part of the monument which has been dated about 3100 a. C.
At its beginning was a circular ritual monuments surrounded by a moat and a slope, similar to many others in southern England. Deer antlers used for digging.
Finally, the monument took its present appearance, which carried 32 blocks of sandstone from the Preseli Mountains, south west Wales and the stone of the "Altar" was brought from a region near Milford Haven.
Stonehenge was part of a much larger ceremonial complex, including stone circles and avenues and wooden ceremonial. The excavations by the Stonehenge Riverside Project, led by archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson of Sheffield University, helped found very close to Stonehenge, a settlement of about a thousand houses. According to the evidence found, these houses were used only a few days a year and it was not a permanently inhabited village.
A little over three miles from Stonehenge in Durrington Walls, was found a large circular working in the field, twenty times larger than Stonehenge surrounded by a ditch and a bank. There was erected a wooden building, now Woodhenge called, with a design similar to Stonehenge and built in the same century. Woodhenge was joined by the River Avon's flood coated ceremonial flint.
The goal to build this great monument is unknown, but presumably was used as a religious temple, tomb or astronomical observatory that was used to predict seasons.
At the summer solstice, the sun rises just across the axis of the building, suggesting that the manufacturers had knowledge of astronomy. The same day, the sun is hidden through the axis of Woodhenge, where they found many bones of animals and objects that show that large parties were held, probably at night.
240 burials have been found - previously cremated human remains, dating from the years 3030 and 2340 BCE. Given the limited number of burials for such a long period, it is estimated that this was not a cemetery to the generality of the dead but to certain selected people. For pagans, the stone meant death and Stonehenge could have been used together with Woodhenge to worship in religious ceremonies for the dead and life perhaps, symbolized by the circle of wood.
In the summer of 1987, Jim Reinders, inspired by Stonehenge, decided to build Carhenge, with the help of relatives. He placed thirty-eight cars painted gray mate in a circle 96 feet in diameter and tried to reproduce the layout of the whole of the megalithic Stonehenge. The site is located north of Alliance, Nebraska.
An Australian brewer planned to build a replica of Stonehenge in England for the tourists of the famous wineries in Margaret River, Western Australia, for the next summer solstice The structure, which will be called "Heng," will be built with 2,500 tons of granite extracted from Esperance on the southwest coast of Australia.
Clancy's comment: Mm ... have been to Stonehenge and found it to be an eerie place. A friend and I spent hours there, trying to imagine why it was there.
Not sure if that winery in Western Australia has built a replica ...