The Pages for: Solving Stonehenge

There are clues in the archaeological record which take us on a remarkable journey into the sublime prehistoric dimension. Much of it concealed within the intrinsic details of the structure of Stonehenge. The monument sits astride the solar corridor, marking the longest and shortest days of the year, but inside the surrounding earthwork not one single stone of the mirrored symmetrical plan deviates from the master geometric model. Moreover the order of construction suggests that the focus of interest was the midwinter sunset towards which the Great Trilithon was designed to face. The idea of dividing the year into two halves, summer winter, light and dark and themes accommodating the concept of duality of the natural and spiritual world into mirrored domains may well explain the preoccupation with symmetry of design seen in both monuments and artifacts of the period
Top: Stonehenge midwinter sunset, James Mitchell©

Below: How the ravages of time have taken their toll on Stonehenge Anthony Johnson©


Interpretations (which pretend to be ‘explanations’) of Stonehenge almost invariably start ‘too far down the line’, that is – they look at the finished monument. Or worse, they start with a theory and select only the details that supposedly fit the argument, there are even some archaeologists who are guilty of this curious practice. If we take one step back, and examine the logical process of its design, we see evidence for both the setting out and prefabrication of the structure, this is the area where we gain real insight into the prehistoric mindset. I guess this is largely where I am at odds with a lot of material written on Stonehenge, do we really want to know what people think it ‘means’ today – better by far to begin with an examination of the processes which determined its construction, by sound archaeological enquiry, only then can we really begin to offer our own vision of what it was ‘for”.

Regular visitors frequently ask about the chronological framework, so I’ve just added a timeline. This gives a fair and graphic approximation of the phases of construction and contemporary events during the time when Stonehenge was being constructed and modified. I Hope people will find this useful. The latest news is that radiocarbon dates from samples taken in 2008 indicate that the first central stone construction belongs to the period 2400 – 2300 BC – a little later than previously thought. However in yet another recent interpretation it has been suggested the idea advanced in the 1920s – that the Aubrey Holes held stones may be correct. If this was the case then the date for the first stone structure would be nearer to 3,000 BC. It should be stressed however this currently remains a speculative view.

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Oh and here is a little gem from 2002…*

‘Stonehenge Will Be Reunited With Its Natural Landscape By 2008′ Says Arts Minister Tessa Blackstone…

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~ by sarsen56 on March 23, 2008.

14 Responses to “The Pages for: Solving Stonehenge”

  1. That is an awesome blog on Stonehenge. The full scale of Stonehenge displayed here shows the concept of the power of the “Wheels within Wheels”. The geometry used by the Celtics in their stone circles eventually was used in creating the windmill that converted raw fiber into cloth. Sometimes modern day man overlooks the importance of the technology of the ancient past.

  2. Most interesting! Thanks for pointing this out to me.

    Nice to see something that looks to bridge the gap between popular speculation and traditional academia. From the blog and website, there looks to be something for everybody, without getting all “da vinci code” on us. Though no doubt the speculative types will delight in reading new things into your findings not supported by evidence – that can’t be helped.

    I hope to get hold of a copy soon.

  3. Thanks for the kind comments.
    AJ

  4. Enjoyed the book a lot. For an article I’m writing on the 56-sided polygon-Typhon-etc connection, I’m interested to learn something of the background of this complex in connection with Stonehenge. Hawkins and Tiede seem to have been talking about this before Hawkins’ death, but they may have done so from information elsewhere, perhaps from Mr Johnson. I’d appreciate learning any background on this. Thanks!

  5. Thanks for the kind comment (above). I mailed re the information you requested.
    AJ

  6. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation :) Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Isostatic

  7. PLEASE keep this alive and active…it’s very cool. I’ve had trouble finding time in the last couple months to update my blog often…but even a high quality post a month would be great.

  8. I appreciate that your focus in Solving Stonehenge is revealing of the intellectual capacity and motivation of the ancients rather than the cultural speculations of “meaning” which modern generations have sought to impose. The sometimes prevalent idea that remote humanity’s intelligence and motivations were somehow a priori “primitive” compared to our own is also revealing of an exalted opinion of our own activities and motivations. It was not your intention to devote much to the technical mechanics or cultural impetus behind the monument, yet I find it particularly fascinating that whatever the cosmology and societal structure behind the monument may have been, the sheer power of what motivated a tiny population to such effort – to move stones of enormous size great distances, dress and fit it on the ground and erect it so precisely to a plan – is as remarkable as the monument itself, of which it is but a symbol. The most monumental endeavors of our own age,
    such as traveling to earth’s moon, by contrast, though in monetary terms represents the labor of millions of persons, in reality employed a microscopic number of minds and man hours relative to the total population: the average individual is remote to the plan and its execution. Stonehenge, the Pyramids, the endeavors of any age in human history, whatever the cosmology, perhaps share one commonality: we may do what we do because “we can” and because “we want to”; ultimately it is an expression of “who we are.” It matters less that succeeding generations completely understand either the why or the how, but our fascination with the past is proof that we recognize ourselves. Thanks for your own endeavor in Solving Stonehenge.

  9. Thanks for your thoughts Richard, much appreciated . The exploration of the area between motivation and sheer physical endeavour is fascinating. You are quite correct in outlining the ‘power of motivation’. I have talked to many engineers about the feat of moving the stones, the practicalities and logistics, and there are equally as many ‘answers’. I guess to state the exceedingly obvious we don’t need evidence that the stones were actually moved, fascinating as it would be to know exactly how it was achieved.

    But what drove them- now that presents the ultimate challenge, not only to archaeology, and the limits of ‘material evidence’ but to the wider imagination and intellect. If we accept it as ‘non utilitarian’, for a utilitarian Stonehenge immediately demands terms of reference that offer few avenues of explanation, then It is possible to use the evidence to inch further back, towards the concept behind its (and other monuments) design. We can then explore some of the aspects I outlined above – the sublime dimension, the nature of the prehistoric mind. How we do that without the burden of modern preconceptions is perhaps the most difficult question.

  10. The recent excavation and resulting media coverage leaves me, a non-expert, with the impression that it is just one more example of a pre-formed use theory in search of corroboration: not uninteresting, but far from scientifically compelling. The Smithsonian magazine cover article is particularly unsatisfying, but it did conclude with the archaeologist’s admission “… that nobody really knows why it was built …” The “healing center” theory wholly ignores the questions of “design,” unless I missed something; the exercise at best provides additional empirical data.

  11. Tony, awesome site! Thanks for visiting. I knew that there are much deeper ‘mysteries’ buried within the Stonehenge. And figuring out how they lift the massive rocks is only a tiny piece of the puzzle. Once again, awesome!

  12. Thank you much for introducing me to your blog. Mightily interesting indeed! :)

  13. i love the stoneage, hope that in the end we all learn the true meaning of them and why they were built

  14. My theory on why Stonehenge was built is that it was used as a giant compass for navigational purposes? Wandering off into the countryside and getting lost with no means of getting home would have definitely been a common occurrence in those days, anybody that goes fell walking will vouch for that, as its so easy to get lost as one valley looks very much like another! They would then use marker posts some distance from the Henge and align their direction of travel just like a gun sight. Using stone markers and aligning them with each other would have meant it was possible to travel the full length of the country and get back safely. As an early solution to this problem they will have built temporary structures made out of wood while whoever was Prime Minister at the time (Probably Thatcher?) will have had a more permanent structure commissioned. I bet they never envisaged it lasting as long as it did!

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