April 2010
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Stonehenge – a mystical site in Great Britain, with a circle of massive stones (for an unknown reason)

Brief summary:
For those people who love to enjoy monuments that seem to show a different period of history, they must visit STONEHENGE. Stonehenge is a site full of mystery, interest & imagination. When people think of Stonehenge, they come up with an iconic image of large standing stone surrounded by earthworks. The stoneworks are supposed to have been done in the Bronze Age, comprising burial mounds; having been erected in the time period of around 2500 BC. Now, Stonehenge finds prime place in the list of “world heritage sites”, having been added in 1986 by UNESCO. The surrounding land is now owned by the National trust, & the actual site of Stonehenge is owned by the British Government.
What does Stonehenge mean ? stoneHENGE- henge/cliff means a hanging or supported stone.

Stonehenge is a site about which there is still some lack of clarity as to the actual purposes, but there is talk of association with druids, as well as a relation with the worship of older deities; and there were alternative reasons as well, such as it being an astronomical observatory. Given the supposed existence of burial sites in the area, there is the concept that maybe Stonehenge was actually a burial site for people from the higher strata in society of that time.

Stonehenge shows the large stones still placed, but there has been damage in the past. Some of the stones in the past were used for other construction such as for roads or for homes (and even from visitor contact in the present, as a result of which visitors were prohibited from contact with the stones in 1978). When the structure was built, it would have been a massive engineering effort, with a huge amount of manual labor having been needed to make it happen. It was constructed in 3 phases, with the first phase (approx 5000 years ago) being a bank and ditch arrangement (called as a henge) (and digging of the ditch would not have been an easy task, using wood and animal antlers). Even removal of the dirt taken out during digging would not have been an easy task.
The second phase (around 4000 years back) was the construction of the first stone circle (which can now be seen as the inner circle) ; these stones where the bluestones were carted in from the mountains 240 miles away (with no clear answer as to how these 4 ton stones were dragged from the mountains to the site through land and over water).
The third and final phase (as visible now) was the construction of the outer ring, using the much larger sarsen stones (weighing 50 tons each). These stones were got from a place that was only 20 miles away, but would have still required a huge amount of effort to get them from the mountains, since there was a high obstacle at one part of the journey. There was a hole made in the ground, the stone was slowly leveraged over the hole and then lowered over the hole with stones filling the bottom of the hole.
‘The Heel Stone’ this special stone lies just outside the main entrance. It is a rough stone, and is also known as “Friar’s heal” or “Sun stone”. When one stands within the Stonehenge, facing north east through the entrance towards the heel stone, one sees the sunrise above the stone at summer solstice. A simple explanation for the name HEEL might be that stone heels or, leans.

Since there is no clarity as to the actual purpose of the stones, there are many stories dealing with the construction. What could be some of the reasons for the stones ?
First, there was the concept that the stones were constructed as part of some prayers for the Druids (but there are doubts regarding the timelines). Next, you bring in King Arthur, where, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the rocks of Stonehenge were healing rocks, called the ‘Giant’s dance”, brought from Africa to Ireland for their healing properties, wishing to erect a memorial to the around 3000 nobles, who died in battle with the Saxons & were buried at Salisbury. The stones of giant’s ring were originally brought from Africa to Ireland by giants.

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