The Outliers

While doing some reading on Stonehenge I came across some other stones that lie in the area surrounding Stonehenge. The first is called Heel Stone and is located to the northeast of Stonehenge. It is referred to as an outlier because it lies outside the actual Stonehenge circle. The Heel Stone marks the entrance to Stonehenge and lies directly in line with “The Avenue.” Unlike the stones that makeup Stonehenge, Heel Stone is unworked. Meaning that it still holds its natural shape and was not worked by stone tools. Because the stone is unworked this led archaeologists to believe that Heel Stone must be from an earlier date than Stonehenge. Heel Stone stands 20 feet tall and is 8 feet wide and 7 feet thick amounting to about 35 tons.
Another set of stones located near Stonehenge are called the Station Stones. The Station Stones are made up of four separate stones and are believed to have been built during the same time as Heel Stone. The Stone Stations are set up so that they form a rectangle and their diagonals intersect at 45 degrees near the center of Stonehenge. The intersection of the diagonals are believed to have “astronomical significance.” According to Gerald Hawkins, “one pair of sides mark the Summer Solstice sunrise/Winter Solstice sunset and the other pair mark the northerly/southerly moonrise/moonset.”
Another stone that lies just outside of Stonehenge is called the Slaughter Stone. The Slaughter Stone is 21ft long and is also unworked. Originally it was situated upright but has since fallen over. It is one of the only stones that is lying flat on the ground and is actually sinking further and further into the ground. The Slaughter Stone is thought to have once been a part of a set of stones called the Portal Stones. The Portal Stones would have stood at the entrance to Stonehenge during its original construction. It gets its name Slaughter Stone from the high amounts iron oxide in the stone that causes the water puddled around it to turn red. The stone was never actually used for slaughtering.
I found it really interesting to learn about just a few of the stones that surround Stonehenge. Previous to doing a little research I never knew that Stonehenge was actually made up different sets of stones and part of something bigger. I am eager to learn more about what Stonehenge was actually used for in class soon.