The Mystery of Stonehenge

I was reading on a website called livescience to find out the purpose of Stonehenge. I did not realize that there was not a definite theory of why it was constructed. I discovered from the website that the first idea for the purpose of Stonehenge was that it was an ancient hunting and feasting site. According to archeological evidence, before Stonehenge was even constructed, natives used the area for hunting. About a mile away from the location there is evidence of human life occupying the area which further suggests the natives traveled to the site for feasts and hunting.

Other people suggest that Stonehenge was constructed as a monument to celebrate peace and unity. Around the time of construction the islands of Britain were very unified. The building of this monument would have taken thousands of workers and stones from Whales. This suggests that there was a collaborative effort in building it. Another suggestion is that natives celebrated the winter solstice at Stonehenge. Evidence shows that pigs were slaughtered during December and January suggesting a winter solstice feast. It also faces the sunrise during the summer solstice. Tourists still flock to Stonehenge for the summer solstice.

A presentation in 2012 at the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences meeting suggested it was built for a sound illusion. The megaliths could have been built to increase noise cancellation in the area. For example if two pipers played around Stonehenge in certain areas the sound would be cancelled. Another theory is that it used to be a burial ground for the elite. Thousands of skeletons were found in the area. The skeletons date to about 3000 B.C. which is about the same time as construction would have started on Stonehenge. An incense bowl and a mace head were also unearthed and these objects are associated with elite ancient society.

The newest theory suggests that each of the stones produce different sounds depending on the shape, like hollow wooden and metallic bells. It is thought that this could have been a way to communicate over long distances or used like church bells are used today. One more theory is that Stonehenge was used as a healing site. Many of the skeletons found near the site have marks of injury or sickness. Many of the stones have been chipped away as well. This could have possibly been from pilgrims wanting some of its protective or healing power.

One thought on “The Mystery of Stonehenge

  1. In all the times that my schooling as talked about Stonehenge it was never a complete lecture or a thought provoking one either. The basis of it was that no one knows what Stonehenge was constructed for but it seems to be a way to tell time or seasons.
    Never have I heard any of the theories you have brought up! I wish even one of them had ben talked about in class because all of those are so interesting. Although Stonehenge has always interested me, I never did my own research about what it was constructed for and took what my teachers were saying at face value and went along living life. There seems to be a lot of evidence backing the theories or at least enough that these are working theories that are believed by many people. It interests me that these aren’t more popular explanations. You also bring up how bodies were found dating back to 3,000 BC and evidence of slaughtered pigs for harvest and celebration there. It makes me wonder that because Stonehenge has been around for so long, all of these theories are equally as possible to happen. As time goes on, and generations evolve, the monument could have acted as each of those things at different time to fit the needs of the people living there. The burials interest me the most because at our professor pointed out in our short video lecture, Stonehenge is surrounded by multiple mounds and earthworks that can act as burial rituals as we have seen with the Mississippians. I hope to learn more about these theories in the lecture. Thank you!

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