Stonehenge, The Pyramids and Ancient People Moving Huge Stones — The Unsolved Mystery
Stonehenge was the centre of ancient Britain, according to a study which claims the monument symbolised the unification of eastern and western communities.
Stonehenge in Britain and the Pyramids of Giza have mystified millions of people for something like one trillion years. The purpose of these giant piles of rocks have only ever been hypothesized, but the greater mystery has always been how they were built at all: How do primitive people, with not so much as a single bulldozer, move stones that weigh tons each?
The popular theory about the Pyramids is the one that we saw in The Ten Commandments, that is that Charlton Heston and a massive Hebrew slave force painstakingly threw them together one block at a time. The problem with that theory is that it would have taken forever, and the project would probably still be going on to this day if nobody ever told the Jews they could stop working.
Of course, just about every major structure on the planet built before Green Acres has at least one nut job who believes that no less than three aliens helped build it. Pseudo historians since time immemorial have sworn that the only way these buildings could have come into being is with the assistance of E.T., or at the very least, Predator.
Then again, these theories all rely almost entirely upon the baffling conclusion that people were incapable of moving stones in the Stone Age.
Who built Stonehenge? Why?
This ancient monument of huge stones solitarily standing on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England has captured imaginations for centuries. Theories about who built it have included the Druids, Greeks, Phoenicians, and Atlanteans. Speculation on the reason it was built range from human sacrifice to astronomy.
Investigations over the last 100 years have revealed that Stonehenge was built in several stages from 2800 – 1800 BC. It seems to have been designed to allow for observation of astronomical phenomena – summer and winter solstices, eclipses, and more. (activemind.com)
The most popular modern theory connects Stonehenge with Celtic culture that thrived in Britain before the Romans came. A priestly caste among the Celts called the Druids were believed to have supervised construction of Stonehenge and other stone circles in the region. Druids were keepers of lore and leaders of ceremonial rites among Celts. They have been associated with magic powers, human sacrifice, and various mystical rites, but many of those attributes were bestowed on them by non-Celtic historians and are, therefore, suspect. As Christianity spread through Great Britain by the fourth century, Celtic culture and the Druids were eventually overwhelmed.
Under the supervision of Druids, the theory goes, Stonehenge was a sacred ceremonial site. The famous Slaughter Stone at Stonehenge, which shows traces of red after a rain, was believed to have been an altar where Druids performed human sacrifices. It was subsequently discovered that the redness derives from iron minerals in the Slaughter Stone.
William Stukeley (1687–1765) perpetuated the Druid link to Stonehenge in the 1740s with his book, Stonehenge: A Temple Restor’d to the British Druids (1740). Stukeley identified the avenue leading into Stonehenge as a procession route. Back during the 1720s, he had discovered parallel lines of banks and ditches near Stonehenge. He called the phenomenon a cursus, a Latin word for racetrack, since he thought the lines were joined at the ends to form an oval.
Stukeley contributed to a growing trend in Great Britain to recognize ancient Britons, especially Druids, as “bards” (poets) living in communion with nature. Stukeley himself “went Druid” and joined an order that practiced secret Druidic rites, and he assumed the name of Chyndonax after a fabled French Druid priest.
Sir J. Norman Lockyer (1836–1920), who was once director of the Solar Physics Observatory in London and the founder of the journal Nature,published The Dawn of Astronomy in 1894. The book argued that ancient temples in Egypt were aligned for stellar observations and as calendars—to determine the summer solstice, for instance. His findings were controversial, but they helped spur further studies of the astronomical interests of ancient societies. Lockyer came to the same conclusion about ancient Britons as he had of Egyptians after studying Stonehenge and nearby pre-historic, megalithic structures. Lockyer believed that Stonehenge served as a calendar. It was known that Celts had divided their year into eight parts. According to Lockyer, Stonehenge and other megalithic sites were used to determine key points of the year, such as the coming of warm weather for planting. Lockyer viewed Druids, the keepers of Celtic lore and knowledge, as astronomer priests responsible for devising the megalithic calendars.
The astronomical orientation of Stonehenge, meanwhile, was largely ignored by archaeologists. However, it received a tremendous boost during the 1960s and 1970s when Boston University astronomer Gerald Hawkins studied the site and used a computer to compare historical solar and lunar alignments with vantage points in Stonehenge. He published his findings in 1963 in Nature, then in an expanded version in a book, Stonehenge Decoded (1965), which offered the most convincing scientific evidence yet that Stonehenge served as an astronomical observatory, specifically as a calendar.
When one stands in the middle of Stonehenge and looks through the entrance of the avenue on the morning of the summer solstice, for example, the Sun will rise above the Heel Stone, which is set on the avenue. If one stands in the entrance and looks into the circle at dusk of that day, the Sun will set between a trilithon. According to Hawkins, the use of Stonehenge as a calendar probably evolved from painstaking trial and error experiments with wooden poles to a permanent form with the standing stones. Hawkins’s work was greeted with great interest and much skepticism. Nevertheless, along with other studies around the same time, it helped spur a trend for greater scientific research into Stonehenge and confirmed a new discipline, archaeoastronomy, the study of the use of astronomy among ancient societies.
Credit for Stonehenge to the Celts continued until the 1950s, when radiocarbon testing determined that Stonehenge dated from about 3000 b.c.e. and that work was begun on the site even before the Celts migrated into Britain from the European continent. Subsequent studies have revealed that Stonehenge was built in waves of construction spanning several centuries. Smaller stones were brought to the site around 2600 b.c.e. and the largest stones arrived around 2100 b.c.e. The last work on the site dates from around 1800 b.c.e.
Though information has come forth about when Stonehenge was erected, the identity of its builders remains unknown—and where the stones came from and how they were moved into place, are yet other matters to be investigated. The Sarcens likely came from Marlborough Downs, a quarry site about 18 miles northeast of Stonehenge. How the stones could be moved from by a prehistoric people without the aid of the wheel or a pulley system is not known. The most common theory of how prehistoric people moved megaliths has them creating a track of logs on which the large stones were rolled along.
Another megalith transport theory involves the use of a type of sleigh running on a track greased with animal fat. Such an experiment with a sleigh carrying a 40-ton slab of stone was successful near Stonehenge in 1995. A dedicated team of more than 100 workers managed to push and pull the slab along the 18-mile journey from Marlborough Downs.
To erect the slab, the group dug a hole. The slab was pushed over the hole until it fell in. Then, a team pushed while another pulled by rope to make the slab stand upright. The hole was filled after the process was repeated with a second slab. The lintel stone that forms the top of the trilithon was pushed up a ramp and then maneuvered into place on top of the two pillars. Engineers at the test site believed that levers may have been used to raise the lintel stone, and timber put underneath; the process was repeated until the lintel stone rested on timber at the necessary height to push it in place to complete the trilithon.
Whether such methods were actually used during the construction is not known. Still, human sweat and ingenuity were shown as a legitimate alternative to Merlin’s magic and other theories about how Stonehenge was erected. (encyclopedia.com)