It’s one of the world’s most iconic pre-historic monuments. Questions like ‘Who built it and why’, has been inspiring countless theories. It could have been an ancient cathedral, or a burial place or also could have been a stone-age observatory. Every generation for a very long time has been coming up with newer theories. 5000-year-old bones testify to the elite families, perhaps a single dynasty that ruled Stonehenge.
However even bigger questions that transpire are, what actually motivated these people to gather around stones and rocks in an orderly fashion and further, how could they even carry these huge stones from such far distances (180 miles, i.e. from modern day Wales) and finally how did the great monument fall into ruins.
The more intriguing part of the mystery was uncovered when almost a century ago a team led by archaeologist – William Holley was digging at the monument when they discovered an outer ring around the structure of pits. When they started digging into them, they found burnt fragments of human bones which gave a lot of base material for the archaeologists and the scientists to get some indicative idea about the type of the humans that might have lived during the era when Stonehenge was built and how many such civilizations might have lived and how many people it actually would’ve required to put up such an arduous task of having this structure up.
The story begins 5000 years ago (3000 BCE), even before Egypt had built its pyramids. It was Britain’s stone age when a flourishing agricultural society despite having modern technology, was able to built this archaeological marvel. A circular ditch in-fact surrounds the enormous stones and upright pillar tower at more than 20 feet and weigh more than approximately 40 tonnes, horizontal slabs called lintels form huge arch-ways and all these stones are made up of sarsen – a local sandstone, harder than granite, yet they were carved and fitted like wood-work. Uprights were tapered and topped with nobs, which fit in the hollows of the stone above them.
In addition to this, curved lintels were fitted with each other like perfect puzzle pieces and laid around the structure, and this is how the structure is believed to have looked like:
And this ring of lintels was level at a very high precision. Another group of stones that nestled amongst them were, Bluestones – imported from Wales – imported from a whopping 180 miles away. All of this truly a lot to be expected from a civilization that wasn’t even aware of the concept of the wheel which additionally would have made it even more difficult for the builders to actually carry these stones – approximately 4 tonnes each, which is equivalent to carrying two Rhinos!
Then who were these people who were able to carry out this enormous task of building this structure with such difficulties. The carbon dating of the bones buried in the outer ring of the Stonehenge indicates that the burial had taken place around 3000 BCE.
To start with, there are a few theories as to why are human bones found at the Stonehenge:
- In Southern western UK, there are other archaeological remains that signify that the historic stone-age era of 3000 BCE had a lot of violent conflicts and that the are could have been the war ground for that time, and the people’s bones found at the Stonehenge could have been of those warriors.
- That it was a rather auspicious site and that when the citizens of their civilization died, they were buried ceremonially at the location. The image below is that of a mace-head which is believed to be a religious structure which is believed to be something that the primitive society prayed to, and such a structure was also found at the Stonehenge.
Now, to unravel the theory as to how could a civilization so primitive carry such heavy stones, each equalling the weight of an elephant from Wales, 200 miles away and the sarsen stones, which were much heavier – 200 tonnes in total, to carry them from 2 miles away.
While researching we came across numerous theories on how aliens and gods and super humans and giants carried these heavy stones and built the structure. To have a more down-to-earth approach, we just simply believe that these were just extremely devoted and dedicated set of people who just simply wanted to create a structure to bury their loved ones and pay respect to them in a more ceremonious manner.
It could have been a mega project of that time which could have involved generations and generations of the complete men and women of that time to put up the stones leading it to simply be a multi-century heavily arduous project, supporting the saying – faith and devotion can move mountains, which is what these people ended up proving literally.
Another intriguing theory is that it was the outer ring that was developed first, made up of bluestone in a circular fashion, which was made to represent a cemetery where the bones were buried of the people who had lived during that era. This was then complemented by the Sarsen stone coming in at the site at 2500 BCE, 800 years after the bluestones were put there. It could have been just a work-in-progress or the structure of the project could have changed to a cave sort of a structure instead of a cemetery.
One particular approach that took our attention that actually led us to think that a possibility of an extra-terrestrial being or possibly a god was involved in the building and construction of the structure, it is the monument’s one of the best-known features – its alignment to the sun. Its construction perfectly entails an alignment towards the Summer Solstice and a 180-degree opposite in alignment – the winter solstice. The ring is arranged so that its centre lie aligns with the sun in the summer solstice and the 180-degree opposite to that – the winter solstice.
Such a precision is difficult to have brought about by a normal being of those times and it’s to precise to have been a coincidence.
This channel of water which kept freezing and unfreezing during ultimately became just straight lines that already had existed and exist to date. The line which becomes straight (nearing the structure) exactly is directed in the sunrise and sunset of the solstices. This could have been construed as a message from the gods for it to be an auspicious site to have the construction of this sort.
However, to summarize – Stonehenge is a marvellous structure and remains a mystery to the current generation still. Mystery in the sense as to why it was built in the first place, how were these humungous structures built and ultimate who were these people who could build this structure which required so much of effort; and even if these were normal beings, how did they go about transporting the stones and building such architecturally complex structure.
One also starts questioning the presence of an extra-terrestrial hand of help to have built the structure because of the level of efforts required to do so and if the gods were actually involved to include such a beautiful match to the summer and winter solstice sun-rise and sun-sets. These are a few questions one might never be able to answer, but they keep intriguing and inspiring humanity, generation after generation – century after century. ss