11th May 2011
Just another pile of rocks it the first thing that I can remember anyone telling me about Stonehenge. Sure Just another collection of rocks but a rather impressive collection that draws people from over the globe every year to see them. Have you ever notice how awe-inspiring the world’s architectural wonders are? Calm, relaxed and tranquil, are the words that probably spring to mind when stepping off the bus early one morning, that describe a first impression of Stonehenge (there are others but they probably wouldn’t print those). The scale, proportion and geometry all play a role to generating a perception and passion in everyone who visits the site.
Stonehenge for those of you don’t know is a monumental circular arrangement of standing stones built in prehistoric times and located near Salisbury, Wiltshire, U.K. It is also the best-known archaeological site in the British Isles. It is spectacular, but the little that survives today is the ruin of the final phase of a structure dating from c.4000 to c.1500 BC. Common belief is that the stones were set in place during three main phases c. 3100 ‘” c. 1550 BC. No one knows for sure what the reasons for building Stonehenge were, but (again) common belief is that it had to have been a place of worship and ritual. Many theories have been regarding its specific purpose (e.g., for the prediction of eclipses), but no one has been able to prove them so far to date. Stones erected during the second phase of construction (c. 2100 BC) were orientated to mark sunrise at the midsummer solstice (and sunset at the midwinter solstice), this would suggest some ritual connection with that event. Whether it has further astronomical significance is debatable.
As I said before, Stonehenge at first glance, is nothing more than an impressive circle of stones in a rather large open flat space in an obscure little area near the town of Amesbury in Wiltshire in Southern England. There are a few things to see near by but that isn’t the aim of the trip. For a World Heritage site I must comment that more needs to be done to bring the public facilities up to world standards. Anyhow, people have been curious about this circle for a long time, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that it became a really serious archaeological site. For a long time most people just thought of it and some still do (especially those that have little regard for history) as “bunch of stones
To describe Stonehenge in simple terms the structure is a man-made circular hill surrounding many stones. These stones are buried in the ground so instead of lying flat they stand straight up. In this way they might have acquired the name “standing stones”. Other smaller stones bridge the tops of the erected stones, creating a sort of doorway effect.
Always this must have seemed a place of mystery. Whatever tales Britons and Romans told about it are lost, but the name itself is a clue to Anglo-Saxon storytelling, for it means ‘The Stone Gallows’. Early antiquaries tried to explain the name as ‘The Hanging Stones’, with reference to the way the lintels balance on the uprights, but this is grammatically impossible, since in Old English adjectives normally come before, not after, their noun; ‘stone’ is an adjective here, qualifying hengen, ‘gibbet, gallows’. Clearly, the trilithons reminded the Saxons of the kind of gallows where several men at once are hanged from a crossbar held on two uprights; there must have been some story explaining who hanged whom there, and why'”but it is forgotten like so much of out history as humans.
There are many stories surrounding the stones themselves and the local area in general. Do your reading and take a look some time. Bunch of old stones or not you wont be disappointed.