Some people may look at Stonehenge and think it’s just a big, old pile of rocks, thinking “Yeah, so what?” Okay, it is a big, old pile rocks, sure, but it’s much more than that.
I’m not a religious person or even spiritual by any means, but I found Stonehenge quite captivating. Maybe because there’s so much mystery surrounding the monument. Maybe because so many people are drawn to it. Maybe because it has stood on that patch of land for thousands of years. I don’t know. Or maybe it’s because Spinal Tap did a song about it.
There is nothing like Stonehenge anywhere else in the world. It was a burial site, ritual site, temple, community meeting place and a calendar for the people of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Some people say that the Druids used the site for pagan festivals during the summer and winter solstices, but there is conflicting information on whether or not the Druids had anything to do with Stonehenge.
It is thought that the name Stonehenge could mean “stones hanging in the sky,” but the word “henge” means a circular ditch with a bank outside and one or more entrances. At this site, on the Salisbury Plain, this ditch, or henge, was believed to have been created over 5,000 years ago. About 4,600 years go, a wooden structure was built in the center and then about 4,500 to 3,500 years ago the stones were added and re-arranged for almost 1,000 years.
One of the biggest mysteries of the site is how it was built. Over 5,000 years ago there obviously were no tools like we have today. And the population of Britain was much, much smaller, so there wasn’t an unlimited supply of workers. The stones are not from the area, some coming from 240 miles away in Wales. So, how did these gigantic stones get transported to the site and lifted into place? The largest stones weight about 45 tons each! It is thought that it could have taken several thousands of years to build Stonehenge. I can see that. What else did these people have to do with their lives?
If so much time and effort was spent on building this monument, it must have had great importance. It was originally much, much larger than it is today. It was in use for more than 1,500 years by nomadic people as a gathering site for different events. But as civilizations evolved, becoming more settled than nomadic, Stonehenge became less important and began to erode and fall apart. That’s why it looks like it does today.
Theories abound regarding Stonehenge’s construction. My favorite one is that aliens built Stonehenge. Aliens have been credited with the creation of crop circles, the Nazca lines, the statues on Easter Island, why not Stonehenge?
Whatever you see in the site, or don’t see, I think it’s an interesting place to visit, full of history…and mystery.
Dates of Visit: May 2005
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