Monday, October 27, 2008


Photo taken in 1877 before reconstruction of the stones.

Stonehenge is the stuff of legends. Presumed to have been built in three phases beginning around 3000 BC with completion in about 1400 BC, the megalithic site was used for several hundred years and then abandoned.
But how and why was it constructed? Those questions have given rise to some pretty bizarre speculations. As poor Ciscilla ran amok among the giant rocks of Stonehenge in THE FIRST VIAL, I thought it might be fun to have a look at some of them.

How did the stones get there?

One theory had it that the stones were erected during the days of Adam, the antediluvians being much taller and stronger, and were knocked down by the Flood.
According to folklore, the Devil bought the stones from a woman in Ireland, wrapped them up and brought them to Salisbury Plain.
Another theory is that the Druids erected the structure by means of magic when they arrived in Britain in the 6th century BC.
The theory most prevalent in the medieval period of THE FIRST VIAL was this.
The rocks of Stonehenge were brought from Africa to Ireland by giants. Wishing to erect a memorial to 3,000 nobles who died in battle with the Saxons, the king sent Merlin and 15,000 knights to Ireland to retrieve the rocks. When the knights found it impossible to move them, Merlin 'sent' the stones to Britain where they were dedicated as The Giants' Ring.
Although such speculation is fun, the most likely 'how' is that they were put on rafts, transported by water, then dragged on rollers. If men moved the stones it is estimated that five hundred men working with ropes, would be needed to pull just one of the enormous stones.

And why?

The Devil did it so men would forever ask, "How did those stones get there?"
The Druids dedicated Stonehenge as a place for human sacrifices and other horrific rituals presided over by white-robbed, bloody-handed priests.
A less grisly use proposed was that of an observatory to predict the sun and moon's position to the earth to determine the seasons.
Merlin's Stonehenge was a place of memorial, also used as a healing centre owing to the idea that the stones had healing properties.
Another medieval theory is that what they called 'the hanging stones' was not a reference to the stones themselves, which appeared to hang in midair, but to criminals who may have hung from them.

In the end, Stonehenge remains a mystery but in August of this year, one hundred fifty archaeologists worked on excavations at the site. Perhaps their findings will lead to less fanciful theories!

1 comment:

sarsen56 said...

less fanciful indeed..