Mysterious Lands Stonehenge in England

About the mysterious land of Stonehenge in England, possible solutions to the mystery of the large stone monument.

An Atlas to Enigmatic Lands:

The Place: STONEHENGE

Location: England, the Salisbury Plain, 8 mi. north of Salisbury, 2 mi. west of Amesbury.

The Enigma: Stonehenge, that huge monument of prehistoric men, stands a broken, ancient mystery on an English plain. Who built it? How did they build it? Why did they build it?

Constructed of huge blocks of sandstone (sarsen stone) hauled from great distances, it was probably begun in 2200 B.C., with later generations adding to it. The Heel Stone, which was part of the original construction, is a huge boulder in its natural state, 16' high and 8' thick, brought from 24 mi. away. In later centuries, giant bluestones from Pembrokeshire's Prescelly Mountains, 135, mi. away in Wales, were added. After Stonehenge was rebuilt about 1600 B.C., it was an arrangement of concentric circles of bluestone pillars, topped with lintels joined by a mortise-and-tenon joint, and surrounded by an outer circle of 56 regularly spaced, small circular pits called the Aubrey Holes.

Some Explanations: In 1140, Geoffrey of Monmouth, in his History of the Kings of Britain, said Aurelius Ambrosius built Stonehenge by bringing the "Dance of Giants" from Ireland. Inigo Jones, the 17th-century architect, thought it was a Roman temple.

John Aubrey, who stole precious relics and wrote a gossipy book about Shakespeare and others called Brief Lives, attributed Stonehenge to the Druids. This was a popular theory until archaeologists proved that it was built before the Druids arrived in England.

It was a British professor of astronomy, Gerald S. Hawkins, who, in 1963, came up with the theory popularly accepted today-that Stonehenge was a giant stone calendar and observatory. He was attached to an experimental missile base nearby when he became interested in Stonehenge and thought that its arrangements of the heavenly bodies. When a person stands in the center of the Stonehenge circle, specific stars, or the sun, or the moon, appear over certain stones in such a way and so often that it cannot be pure coincidence. Hawkins fed his calculations into a computer, and the computer said he was right. The most significant cycle occurs every 18.6 years at Stonehenge, when the moon rises in midwinter over a certain stone.

How did the ancients transport the stones? Probably by water on rafts and by land on sledges. Estimates of how long it took to build Stonehenge differ. The most extreme estimate is that it was built over a time span of 9 centuries, or 30 generations.

Today: Each year the members of the Most Ancient Order of Druids go to Stonehenge to perform rites which they say date back to Atlantis. There is, however, no proof that the Druids were even connected with Stonehenge at all since the site was probably in ruins and abandoned by 300 B.C. Historically and chronologically, Stonehenge and the Druids are from different eras.

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