It has been thousands of years and we are still not sure why Stonehenge was built.

Some researchers were recently allowed to strike the megaliths at Stonehenge and each resonated with sounds like those of metallic or wooden bells. New theory: it was once either an ancient long-distance communication system or a Stone Age church bell system.

We know that this area was a hunting ground along an ancient migration route thousands of years before the stones began to be placed. Archaeologists have found evidence of human occupation spanning 3,000 years. There were pine posts set for some kind of structure there 8,500 to 10,000 years ago.

To build the stone megaliths would have taken thousands of laborers and meant getting stones from far off Wales. Why?

You probably have read or heard that the ancients (and still, some moderns) celebrated winter solstice at Stonehenge. The “avenue” near Stonehenge is aligned with the winter solstice sunset. There is evidence that pigs were slaughtered during December and January, and that suggests a mid-winter feast. There is also a section that faces the sunrise during the summer solstice.

There are skeletal fragments from at least 63 individuals exhumed from the area (an equal proportion of men, women and children) dating to 3000 B.C.. That around the time that the monument was beginning to be built. Is it a burial ground for some exalted class?

A giant helps Merlin build Stonehenge. From a manuscript of the Roman de Brut by Wace in the British Library. This is the oldest known depiction of Stonehenge.

It’s not a credible theory, but as I am a big fan of Arthurian literature, I like the 12th century tale by Geoffrey of Monmouth that attributed the monument’s construction to Merlin. In this tale, the stones are healing stones called the Giant’s dance. Giants had brought from Africa to Ireland for their healing properties. What other reasonable explanation was there for the why and the how of the giant stones having been hauled there?

Merlin built it for King Aurelius Ambrosius who wanted a memorial to 3,000 nobles slain in battle against the Saxons and buried at Salisbury.

Merlin, Uther Pendragon (Arthur’s father), and 15,000 knights were sent to move it from Ireland, where it had been constructed on Mount Killaraus by the Giants. The knights couldn’t move the rocks with ropes and force, but Merlin used “gear,” skill and some magic and transported them to Britain. Aurelianus, Uther Pendragon, and Constantine III were buried inside the “Giants’ Ring of Stonehenge”.

 

More at livescience.com and wikipedia.org

Advertisements