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Assignment On Stonehenge.

950 words - 4 pages

StonehengeStonehenge is a huge megalithic monument situated on Salisbury Plain, Mid-Wiltshire, England. The ruins of Stonehenge contain stones from three stages of building. These stages took place over a period of roughly 1600 years from 3100 BC to 1500 BC (Chippindale, 1983:271). Stonehenge has been severely damaged by things as different as tourists to weather. What it is today is quite different from what scientists suggest it may have looked like when it was finished (Fig1 and Fig2). Since Stonehenge was built long before recorded history it has brought forth great suspicion and curiosity. Who built Stonehenge and why was it built? These two questions have been argued for hundreds of years since Stonehenge was rediscovered from a three thousand year rest after its abandonment. Numerous theories have arisen over who built Stonehenge including the Druids and Merlin, and about what it was built for such as a calendar, an observatory and a ritual burial ground. My theory, however, is that Stonehenge was built by Early Britons for religious purposes.Some of the theories about why Stonehenge was built are not supported by substantial evidence. However, even theories about Stonehenge that have been proven false, still flourish (Chippindale, 1983; 263). The suggestion that Stonehenge was built as a burial ground is clearly questionable. Although there are many burials around the site of Stonehenge, this is because Stonehenge started as a burial site, but from stage two onwards its purpose was changed (Merkur, 1990:24). Similarly there is also no evidence to support the theory that it was used for sacrificial purposes (Anon, 2001;np). This is clear since the altar stone on to which this theory is based shows no traces of blood stains or marks from sacrificial knifes. The theory Stonehenge was built as a calendar or an observatory is extremely unlikely. The enormous effort needed to build this structure indicates something much more important than a calendar. The bluestones were transported by sea from the Presllie Mountains in Ireland to Salisbury plain, via the Bristol Avon (fig3). Burl (2001:21) stated that 'Transporting the bluestones from Wales to Wessex would have been a form of Seafaring Suicide' and would not be undertaken for anything less then religious purposes (Davies, 2000:21)There are three factors that point to religious purpose in the building of Stonehenge is as follows. Firstly, Stonehenge took an incredible amount of time to build. Gerald Hawkins, calculated that the undertaking of building Stonehenge would take nearly 210, 000 man-hours of labour, to move nearly 80 bluestones, weighing about four tonnes over 216 miles (Burl, 1999:114). This amount of time and effort, and manpower, could not be achieved with anything less than a strong religious belief. Secondly, the setting of the heel stone and the avenue, and other parts of Stonehenge line up with the rising of the sun during the summer solstice,...

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