Stonehenge – Steeped in History, Shrouded in Mystery


STONEHENGE
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Stonehenge – Steeped in History, Shrouded in Mystery

The megalithic monument known as Stonehenge has stood silent vigil over the English countryside of the Salisbury Plain for over 5000 years. It is not the only stone monument erected on the landscape, but it is by far the most famous and the most mysterious.

About the only indisputable fact known about this architectural marvel is that no one on Planet Earth knows exactly how it as built or why. Men have dedicated their entire lives to the study of it and never found answers to all of the questions surrounding it. No record of any of the sacred place’s history has ever been found.

There are many estimates of when construction began on the century’s long project, but the general consensus is that the original circular ditch and mound, or “henge” was created around 2200 B.C. This bank forms a circle 320 feet in diameter around where the stones were erected in three stages, which took until roughly 1600 B.C. Outside this circle, a short distance from the wide opening or entrance in the rock formations stands the Heel Stone, a twenty-foot slab of rock erected to stand upright. When one stands in the center of the structure, the rising of the midsummer sun is aligned with the Heel Stone. This has led some to believe that the design of Stonehenge has astrological meaning, being used as to predict lunar and solar eclipses, or even as a calendar of sorts, helping the indigenous people of the area plan for planting seasons, livestock breeding times, etc.

There are at least three separate circles or horseshoe shapes within the structure. What is mind boggling about the structure is to imagine how the stones were brought to the site. The Bluestones that make up a part of the third phase of the structure are believed to have come from Wales, hundreds of miles away. In 1997, a huge stone believed to be one that was being transported to Stonehenge was found on the floor of the sea, leading scientists to think that the Bluestones were strapped to rafts and floated to their final destination, being dragged by men the final stretch from water’s edge to the plain. Other slabs of sandstone, some weighing up to 50 tons, came from 20 miles from the site, with brute strength as the main “equipment” available.

Time, and man, has taken a toll on Stonehenge. Some stones have eroded and fallen. The Druids used the site for their celebrations of the Summer Solstice for many years with audiences perching on the huge pillars and the lintels that joined them together. Today there are fences erected to keep people from going directly into the structure in order to help preserve what is left. It is still an awe-inspiring sight that prompts the visitors to conjure their own visions of how it got there and what is has been used for over the centuries.


Stonehendge


Stonehenge – Steeped in History, Shrouded in Mystery

Stonehenge – Steeped in History, Shrouded in Mystery

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