A Study of Stonehenge I.
Introduction Significance of the study Statement of the problem II. Stonehenge Facts A. Location B. Materials Used and Structure C. Stonehenge Today III.
The History of the Stonehenge A. Myths and Legends B. Mysteries C. Wonder of the World? IV. Conclusion I.
Introduction No place has generated so much speculation and wild theories as the standing stones of Stonehenge. After traveling for miles through the rolling hills and plains of the English countryside the sight of this unusual structure made me gasp. A walk around it only provoked more strange feelings. There’s a sense that this is something very important.
For over 5000 years it has stood silent vigil over the earth. It has been excavated, x-rayed, measured, and surveyed. Yet despite all that has been learned about its age and construction, its purpose still remains one of the great mysteries of the world. What truth lies in those massive stone rings? And why do I even bother to learn about it? From my experience of actually coming face to face with Stonehenge, I felt a sense of great intrigue; words cannot describe how I felt that day.
It taunted me with its mystery. I may never know the full truth about it, but I think that my study is important because I will fully understand how the Stonehenge has influenced the present, as it is one of the ties to the history of humanity and I believe that it deserves respect. Stonehenge is surely Britain’s greatest national icon, symbolizing mystery, power, and endurance. Its original purpose is unclear, but some have speculated that it was a temple made for worship of ancient earth deities.
It has been called an astronomical observatory for marking significant events on the prehistoric calendar. Others claim that it was a sacred site for the burial of high-ranking citizens from societies of long ago. While I can’t say with any degree of certainty what it was for, we can say that it wasn’t constructed for any casual purpose. Only something very important to the ancients would have been worth the effort and investment that it took to construct Stonehenge. I believe with all the information I have gathered I can only ask myself this question: II. Stonehenge Facts A.
Location It is located about 18.5 miles (30 km) south of the Avebury site and 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Salisbury, in Wiltshire, England. B. Materials Used and Structure Its general architecture has also been subjected to centuries of weathering. The monument consists of a number of structural elements, mostly circular in plan.
On the outside is a circular ditch, with a bank immediately within it, all interrupted by an entrance gap on the northeast, leading to a straight path called the Avenue. At the center of the circle is a stone setting consisting of a horseshoe of tall uprights of sarsen (Tertiary sandstone) encircled by a ring of tall sarsen uprights, all originally capped by horizontal sarsen stones in a post-and-lintel arrangement. Within the sarsen stone circle were also configurations of smaller and lighter bluestones (igneous rock of diabase, rhyolite, and volcanic ash), but most of these bluestones have disappeared. Additional stones include the Altar Stone, the Slaughter Stone, the Heel Stone, and the Station stones, and the last standing on the Avenue outside the entrance. Here is an idea of their arrangement: The Altar Stone is one of the most unique stones in Stonehenge.
It is a 5-meter block of dressed green sandstone located near the center, embedded 15 feet within the great central sarsen trilithon. All of the other stones in Stonehenge are either composed of sarsen or bluestone. The Slaughter Stone is another unique stone. It is one of two stones at the entranceway, the Slaughter Stone being the more easterly of the two. It is in fact 21 feet long, but it is sunken so deep that only the upper surface shows. It was originally placed upright.
The Heel Stone is a stone which is not located in the main circle. It was named by John Aubrey for the heel shaped dent, which relates to the legend that the Devil threw the stone at the Friar’s heel, which dented the stone. Heel Shaped Dent is in quotation marks because experts on Stonehenge have never found such an indention in the stone. The Four station stones lie just inside the embankment, approximately in line with the Aubrey Holes . They were erected during Phase III. Lines connecting the stones opposite each other will intersect at the very center of the monument at an angle of 45 degrees and are symmetrical with respect to the main axis.
Small circular ditches enclose two flat areas on the inner edge of the bank, known as the North and South barrows, with empty stone holes at their centers. The Aubrey Holes was named after John Aubrey, circle around the Y and Z holes. They were first noticed by Aubrey, and thus carry his name. They consist of small, barely visible, manmade cavities filled with rubble. The Y ; Z Holes are actually thirty y holes and 29 z holes circle around Stonehenge. They are concentric circular holes.
The Y holes lie 11 meters outside the Sarsen Circle, and the Z holes lie 3.7 meters outside the Sarsen circle. The building of its structure can be divided into four periods spanning approximately 2,000 years: Phase I was begun in approximately 3,100 BC, and it consists of a circle with an approximately 320 foot diameter, consisting of a low outer bank surrounding a ditch with another bank about 6 feet high within this ditch. Inside the inner bank are the Aubrey Holes. Phase II began around 2,100 BC, and it is believed that this phase was conducted by the Beaker culture, who were named so because of the form and style of their pottery. The Avenue was built, an earthwork approach road leading to the entrance of the bank and ditch.
It included the addition of 80 bluestones in two rings in the center. These bluestones are believed to have come from the Preseli Mountains in Southwest Wales, 130 miles away. However, water travel alleviated much of the hassle of moving stones that great of a distance so that only a short land journey remained, from Avesbury to Stonehenge along the avenue. Phase III lasted from about 2,000 BC to 1,100 BC, and consisted of the removal of the bluestone circle and the erection of a ring of 30 sarsen-stone uprights, linked by stone lintels.
The ring is about 16 feet high and was approximately 30.5 meters (100 feet) in diameter. Inside are five taller trilithons. The sarsen-stones came from the Marlborough Downs, a 30 kilometers (20 mile) distance away. Lastly the bluestones were re-erected in the center in an oval structure that contained at least two miniature trilithons, and the rest were to be set in two concentric circles located around the sarsen circle.
The plan was later abandoned, and in approximately 1,550 BC the bluestones were rearranged again in the circle and horseshoe. Phase IV (1,100 BC) involved the extending of the Avenue to the River Avon, 2 km (1.25 miles) from Stonehenge. Researchers have estimated that Stonehenge took about 1,500,000 working days (working days being: number of workers times the number of days worked) to construct, and that it involved about 1,000 workers at a time (ratio 1000 workers working for 2 days amounts to 2000 working days). C. Stonehenge Today Today, visitors only see the substantial remnants of the last in a sequence of monuments erected between c.3000 and 1600BC.
Each was a circular structure, aligned along the rising of the sun at the midsummer solstice. III. The History of Stonehenge A. Myths and Legends The legend of King Arthur provides another story of the construction of Stonehenge. It is told by the twelfth century writer, Geoffrey of Monmouth, in his History of the Kings of Britain that Merlin brought the stones to the Salisbury Plain from Ireland.
Sometime in the fifth century, there had been a massacre of 300 British noblemen by the treacherous Saxon leader, Hengest. Geoffrey tells us that the high king, Aurelius Ambrosius, wanted to create a fitting memorial to the slain men. Merlin suggested an expedition to Ireland for the purpose of transplanting the Giant’s Ring stone circle to Britain. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, giants (who else but giants could handle the job) originally brought the stones of the Giant’s Ring from Africa to Ireland. The stones were located on Mount Killaraus and were used as a site for performing rituals and for healing. Led by King Uther and Merlin, the expedition arrived at the spot in Ireland.
The Britons, none of whom were giants, apparently, were unsuccessful in their attempts to move the great stones. At this point, Merlin realized that only his magic arts would turn the trick. So, they were dismantled and shipped back to Britain where they were set up as they had been before, in a great circle, around the mass grave of the murdered noblemen. The story goes on to tell that Aurelius, Uther, and Arthur’s successor, Constantine were also buried there in their time. your own conclusion is better than using mine History Essays