Essay on Architecture: Analysis of Stonehenge

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An example of such a structure would be Stonehenge in Southern England. Its purpose however still remains a mystery. Excavations are being done to find out various possible functions of these structures. However, it is believed to have multiple purposes and is estimated to have been built over many years. Stonehenge is enclosed in a large circle with a diameter of approximately 320 feet defined by a ditch. The circle has an opening characterized by a street that was once lined by menhirs and is dissected by a straight line. The center of the circle had a stone (alter stone) which may have had some spiritual significance to the people at the time. It was enclosed by stones and five menhir structures lined in a circular manner looking like a dolmen. The structures on the outer circles looked like that of a vertical beam supporting a horizontal beam. Similar structures were also present in the shape of a horseshoe around the altar in its inner area in a fashion that it opens to the sun during the summer solstice. The “heel stone” was one particular menhir that stood solo enclosed by a circular ditch, oriented to the sun. The sun could be seen rising over the heel stone during the summer solstice.

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The orientation of the structures on the ground were based on people’s observation of what was happening in the sky (the sun, moon, and the position of stars). What is noteworthy about these structures is the fact that the stones used were extracted from Western England, near Wales from where it was moved to this location. This may have been possible through animal power and rope and pulley systems. There are other such remains of hinge monuments existing in other places of the world as well. One such place is Southwestern England where similar remains were found. In Village des Bories, a village in Southern France a complete reconstruction was done based on how the village may have looked in the Stone Age. The shape of the structures were different here, in the shape of beehives and made from local stones. Such a shape was achieved when stones were corbelled or made into a triangular bracket. After the stones were corbelled, a large, heavy stone would be placed on top to close it as adhesive agents were absent as there was no cement at the time. Hence the strength of the walls were a result of the weight of the heavy stones. All domestic structures followed this trend. The use of both horizontal and vertical menhir structures as well as corbelled stones can be seen in the Prehistoric Temple complexes in Malta in Southern Europe. Corbelled stones went into the making of the temple walls which were marked by post and lintel structures (vertical and horizontal beam type structures). Its interior and exterior walls were made using large irregular blocks with rubbles filled in between the walls. A number of rooms were present in this large complex which were organized around an axis. The space outside the structures which were curved is called an “apse”. In the later architecture of churches, the apse is the place where altars were kept. These structures served as temples dedicated to a higher force or gods and goddesses who the people thought were controlling their life from out of the earth. Exterior decorations were not found on these temples as the main focus of the temple was inside. The interior decorations were used to distinguish one chamber from the other inside the temple. All the structures during this time can be thought of as influenced by cave architecture as all of these were built with the idea of hidden interior spaces. Even to this day, temples, tombs, and houses are fundamental to architecture. (McIntosh, 2016)

Rock-Cut architecture is the form of architecture built by excavating solid rock where it occurs naturally. Many caves were excavated for the purpose of residence, prayer, and for shelter by natural inhabitants. Buddhist monks had used such spaces for the same purpose after excavation. One colossal rock is carved to form the shape of a wooden temple or masonry to shape it into a monolithic rock-cut temple. It had walls and other areas that exhibited works of art and engineering which were chiseled out of that same rock.

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Essay on Architecture: Analysis of Stonehenge. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 22, 2024, from
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