Erected atop the Salisbury Plains, Wiltshire, England between 3000 and 2000 B.C., the monument that modern man calls Stonehenge is the oldest and perhaps the least understood of this world’s historical entities.
Speculation has long surrounded the engineer behind Stonehenge along with the reason for its being built, with explanations ranging from an antiquated auditorium to something of extraterrestrial intervention.
Whatever and why-ever this otherworldly construction came to be, the facts are as follows: the monoliths, the single upright stones, are as much as 4 metres tall and 2 metres thick while some of the larger stones, the vertical pillars of the trilithons – great pi-shaped archways which are recognised as the enduring memory of Stonehenge – carry dimensions of up to 8 metres tall, up to 4 metres through, weighing up to 50 tons, and in fact often with several of those metres buried underground.
In my opinion Stonehenge was built by man, using some ingenious lifting techniques involving ramps, rollers, levers, fulcrums, gravity, inertia and manpower, and was a temple of sorts, a shrine; a place to worship Neolithic man’s most powerful god, the god of sun.
Furthermore I believe Stonehenge’s design – seemingly specifically positioned arches which allow through cleverly directed shafts of sunlight at certain times of the day according to the time of month and year – is indicative of a clock or even a calendar, making it an ideal place for ethereal worship.
In prehistoric times where so little of the scientific knowledge that we today take for granted had been uncovered, this was a highly god-fearing existence; everything had gods – the ground, the oceans, the rivers, the animals, the insects, the trees, the clouds, the wind, the air, the rain, the moon and of course, the sun – and obviously those gods controlled everything, meaning that Neolithic man’s only real responsibility was to keep the gods on side.
Logically, sacrifice was understood to be the best way to placate these wrathful gods thus along with constant worship, the sacrifice of cattle, oxen, poultry and even children, was commonplace.
Given this fervent belief system death was considered almost inconsequential, and certainly wasn’t something to be feared: you were born, you lived on Earth, you died; you lived once more among your ancestors and of course, the gods.
It makes sense then that amid a world where the main concern is placating vengeful gods – unhappy gods for instance might lead to inclement weather which might lead to poor crops which might lead to shortages in grain which might lead to malnourished people which might lead to ill health and probable death, and because these uneducated folk didn’t know any better this plight will all have been the gods’ doing – these prehistoric people would quite unthinkingly have devoted their entire lives to constructing this, in my opinion, place of worship to the god of sun which we, as modern people, now refer to as ‘Stonehenge’ and realistically, see perhaps as an unfathomable waste of time because let’s be fair, it produces nothing and offers no ostensible benefit while just standing there taking up space, yet…
This monumental landmark, researchers have found, took over 1000 years to reach full development – given the stones needed to be sourced by foot, excavated by hand, shaped by hand then finally raised, by hand – and at around 5000 years old, purpose unknown or otherwise, it definitely deserves our respect.
…In my opinion, Stonehenge is one of this world’s most awesome creations.
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by Stubb D Fanger
Photography by Loft N Stone