500 Word Essay On Stonehenge

Stonehenge Essay

Stonehenge is a huge megalithic monument situated on Salisbury Plain, Mid-Wiltshire, England. The ruins of Stonehenge contain stones from three stages of building. These stages took place over a period of roughly 1600 years from 3100 BC to 1500 BC (Chippindale, 1983:271). Stonehenge has been severely damaged by things as different as tourists to weather. What it is today is quite different from what scientists suggest it may have looked like when it was finished (Fig1 and Fig2). Since Stonehenge was built long before recorded history it has brought forth great suspicion and curiosity. Who built Stonehenge and why was it built? These two questions have been argued for hundreds of years since Stonehenge was rediscovered from a three thousand year rest after its abandonment. Numerous theories have arisen over who built Stonehenge including the Druids and Merlin, and about what it was built for such as a calendar, an observatory and a ritual burial ground. My theory, however, is that Stonehenge was built by Early Britons for religious purposes.

Some of the theories about why Stonehenge was built are not supported by substantial evidence. However, even theories about Stonehenge that have been proven false, still flourish (Chippindale, 1983; 263). The suggestion that Stonehenge was built as a burial ground is clearly questionable. Although there are many burials around the site of Stonehenge, this is because Stonehenge started as a burial site, but from stage two onwards its purpose was changed (Merkur, 1990:24). Similarly there is also no evidence to support the theory that it was used for sacrificial purposes (Anon, 2001;np). This is clear since the altar stone on to which this theory is based shows no traces of blood stains or marks from sacrificial knifes. The theory Stonehenge was built as a calendar or an observatory is extremely unlikely. The enormous effort needed to build this structure indicates something much more important than a calendar. The bluestones were transported by sea from the Presllie Mountains in Ireland to Salisbury plain, via the Bristol Avon (fig3). Burl (2001:21) stated that 'Transporting the bluestones from Wales to Wessex would have been a form of Seafaring Suicide' and would not be undertaken for anything less then religious purposes (Davies, 2000:21)There are three factors that point to religious purpose in the building of Stonehenge is as follows. Firstly, Stonehenge took an incredible amount of time to build. Gerald Hawkins, calculated that the undertaking of building Stonehenge would take nearly 210, 000 man-hours of labour, to move nearly 80 bluestones, weighing about four tonnes over 216 miles (Burl, 1999:114). This amount of time and effort, and manpower, could not be achieved with anything less than a strong religious belief....

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Essay on Stonehenge

824 Words4 Pages

Stonehenge

Stonehenge was a stone structure established a long time ago by civilizations before the Druid age. More than 4,000 years ago, the people of the Neolithic period supposedly decided to build a massive monument using earth, timber and eventually, stones.They placed it high on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England about 137 kilometres southwest of London. The purpose to build Stonehenge still remains a mystery. Stonehenge could have been a temple, an astronomical calendar, or a guide to the heavens. Stonehenge acts as a prehistoric timepiece, allowing us to speculate on what it would have been like during the Neolithic Period, and who could have built this megalithic wonder. Over 25 generations, 3 phases of…show more content…

To drag the sarsen stones, weighing up to 45 tons, or the weight of six elephants, from Marlborough Downs 30 kilometers to the south of Stonehenge would have been quite a accomplishment. The bluestones, in contrast, were about four tons but are believed to have come from a much farther place like the Preseli Mountains nearly 385 kilometres away from Stonehenge. Popular theory suggests the stones were rolled to the Welsh shore, carried on raft around the coast and into the River Avon, at Bristol. Other prehistorians do not believe they were carried that far. These bluestones came from the same Preseli Mountains, but glaciation brought the bluestones to the area surrounding Stonehenge during the last glacier period in history, the period was called the Plyoscene period, it was 650,000 years ago. Out of the other 1,300 stone circle in Britain, Ireland and Brittany, France, most are made of local stone brought no more than seven or eight kilometers. If humans were to have carried these stones all the way from these mountains, they would have only taken the good stones. The bluestones found on Stonehenge are a mix of good, bad, and medium rock. Good bluestones were found in the vicinity of Stonehenge thousands of years before the monument was

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