Friday, November 26, 2010

Stonehenge

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) west of Amesbury and 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones. It is at the centre of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.

In reading about Stonehenge, I have learned that despite hundreds of years of research of the site, there is more that is not known than has been proven to be fact.  The most troubling aspect is its incompleteness.  What happened to the other lintels?  If the lintels were originally all connected, why is it that there is no shelf room on some of the uprights, like the one in the picture above?  Why are the uprights different heights?  Why did the uprights need to be so large?  What was the spiritual significance of mass to these ancient people?  These are simple questions without answers.  Stonehenge is a puzzle that will probably never be solved and like much of ancient history, subject to latitude and interpretation.

It was bitterly cold when I visited the site, so I was able to get some clear shots without mobs of people in the way.  On a regular day, this place draws tourists like flies.  This site is certainly different from the other neolithic sites that I have seen in Ireland and Scotland.  The Ring of Brogdar and the Standing Stones of Stenness in Orkney are, in my opinion, much cooler than Stonehenge, and I am glad that I was able to experience the "power of the stones" in a much purer and less trampled environment.

Ring of Brodgar


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