Stonehenge is part of what is now arguably the most extensive and complex megalithic site in Europe. It was actually purchased in 1915 for a sum equivalent today to £680,000 by Cecil Chubb, who later gave it to the nation(aa).
*[Two depictions of Stonehege exist which go back as far as medieval times, with a third recently added by Professor Christian Heck(ai). Little serious study of the monument was undertaken until the 17th century antiquarians, predecessors of the archaeologists, took an interest.]*
New technology has now revealed the existence of another henge less than a kilometre from Stonehenge (BBC Focus October 2010). We were next presented with evidence that an early form of ball bearings may have been used to move the large stones of which the monument was constructed(d). Other recent discoveries in the vicinity include the 3,550-year-old skeleton of a teenage boy buried with a rare amber necklace – a clear indication of status. Furthermore, dental analysis revealed that he had come from the Mediterranean region.
October 2015 gave us a report(ad) that a semi-permanent structure was discovered about a mile east of Stonehenge and dated to be 1,300 years earlier than megalithic edifice.
The two big questions relating to Stonehege are its exact purpose and the method of construction.
*[Allied to that is the question of how the ‘bluestones’ were transported from Wales. Was it by humans or glaciers(aj).]*
What may have been a much earlier precursor to Stonehenge’s calendrical features, tentatively dated as 10,000 old, has been identified in Scotland’s Aberdeenshire(f). This is now arguably the world’s oldest lunar calendar.
We were next presented with evidence that an early form of ball-bearing may have been used to move the large stones of which the monument was constructed(d). Stone balls were also discovered near a megalithic monument in Scotland and in Malta, stone balls have been found in the vicinity of the ancient temples there – some still in situ under the stones. In 2004, Gordon Pipes put forward a radical new method of construction(ac), which requires minimal manpower and equipment. In 2009, Pipes expanded on his ‘stone-rowing’ idea in book form.
More discoveries are expected as investigations continue. In 2014 it was announced that although most attention is focussed on the rising sun at the summer solstice, it is now thought that Stonehenge was more likely to have been concerned with the midwinter setting sun(m). Another theory has recently be advanced by Thomas O. Mills which suggests that Stonehenge was aligned with the position of the North Pole as it was situated around 10,000 BC as proposed by Charles Hapgood.(u)
Paul D. Burley has published a two-part paper(q)(r) on Stonehenge, which draws attention to the fact that most commentators have focused on the solar or lunar significance of the site’s alignments that that he feels is in stark contrast to other European megalithic monuments that would appear to have been designed with stellar alignments in mind. Burley is the author of Stonehenge: As Above, So Below.
In 1995 Duncan Steel suggested in his book, Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets, that Stonehenge I had been constructed as a predictor of the Earth’s intersection with the path of a comet and its attendant debris, which had a 19-year periodicity(x).
Stonehenge, among other megalithic structures, has been linked by various writers with Plato’s Atlantis. One extreme example of this is the suggestion that if the number of Aubrey Holes, 56, is multiplied by the diameter of the Aubrey Circle we get 16,200 feet which is “the exact diameter of Plato’s Atlantis”. Now a ten minute search on the Internet reveals FIVE different figures for the diameter of the Circle, ranging from 271.6’ to 288’. Combine that with the uncertainty attached to value of the unit of measurement employed by Plato, it is clear that any claim of a connection between the Aubrey Holes and Atlantis is at best tenuous and at worst foolish.
The late Philip Coppens echoed(b) the views of a fellow Belgian, Marcel Mestdagh, that there might be a connection between monuments within the Stonehenge Heritage Site and Atlantis, namely Woodhenge, which was comprised of posts arranged in six concentric circles. The suggestion being that this arrangement is in some manner a reflection of the concentric features in Atlantis described by Plato. I can only consider this to be highly speculative, somewhat akin to the suggestion(c) that Stonehenge I was an earthquake predictor.
However, in the meanwhile we will have to be content with a recent book by Professor Mike Parker-Pearson, Stonehenge: Exploring the Greatest Stone Age Mystery , which includes all the discoveries revealed by the recent ten years of investigation.
A 2014 offering from Professor David P.Gregg, The Stonehenge Codes, throws further light on the mathematics used for the building and development of Stonehenge over a 1500 year period was consistently the same polygon geometry. Gregg has also identified an earlier Babylonian influence. His book has a considerable numerical content that many will find heavy going. The text of the book is available online(j). The July 2014 edition of the BBC Focus magazine offers evidence that the history of the Stonehenge location can be traced to nearer the end of the Ice Age.
It has been generally accepted for many years that the bluestones (spotted dolerites) at Stonehenge had been brought from the Preseli Mountains of Wales. Now (Nov.2013) evidence has been presented that identifies the precise outcrop, Carn Goedog, as their source(h). Further investigation has produced the claim by Paul Devereux that the rock there was chosen because of its acoustic qualities(i), raising the possibility that Stonehenge was the site of the first ‘rock’ concert.*[A more wide-ranging essay on the subject of archaeoacoustics is available online(ak).]*
However, in November 2015, a report threw doubt on the existence of a neolithic quarry in the Preseli Hills(ag).*[Confusingly, the following month it was reported(ah) that studies carried in Wales suggested that the stones had been erected there first before their transportation to Wiltshire.]*
After centuries of being described as one of the wonders of the megalithic world, the construction skills of Stonehenge’s builders have been harshly criticised by Professor Ronald Hutton of Bristol University, who went as far as to describe them as ‘cowboy builders’(n).
In 2012, Gordon Freeman, a Canadian scientist, published Hidden Stonehenge in which he offers an extensive study of a native American “medicine wheel” in Alberta and compares its astronomical alignments with that of Stonehenge, revealing ‘incredible’ similarities. His book highlights the use of sophisticated astronomical knowledge at both locations, in the very distant past suggesting cultural links millennia before Columbus!
A site in Australia discovered in the first half of the last century by Frederic Slater (President of the Australian Archaeological Society) and dubbed as ‘Australia’s Stonehenge’ was bulldozed in 1940 on the orders of the Australian Government! The location, obviously, never as impressive as its namesake on Salisbury Plain, has been again identified and with drawings made over seventy years ago has enabled a computer generated image of the site to be made(t). A father and son team, Steven & Evan Strong have recently relocated the damaged site(af).
In May 2013, Melville Nicholls published a Kindle ebook, Children of the Sea God, in which he argues strongly for a Stonehenge built by Atlanteans, better known as the Bell Beaker People!
Robert John Langdon has now proposed(g) that Stonehenge was constructed by megalith builders, around 8500 BC, who had migrated from Doggerland/Atlantis as it became submerged and that the Altar Stone at Stonehenge points to Doggerland!
Shoji Yoshinori has suggested that Stonehenge was intended as a model of Atlantis(k). The late Philip Coppens had made a comparable proposal(b).
It is quite obvious that more convincing evidence is required if any claim of a Stonehenge/Atlantis connection is to gain greater traction.
As recent as the summer of 2014 evidence was accidentally discovered(o) that suggested that the Stonehenge megalithic stones form a complete circle. Commenting on the discovery Susan Greaney from English Heritage said “A lot of people assume we’ve excavated the entire site and everything we’re ever going to know about the monument is known, but actually there’s quite a lot we still don’t know and there’s quite a lot that can be discovered just through non-excavation methods.” An extensive digital mapping project carried out at Stonehenge by researchers from the University of Bermingham and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Vienna has revealed “that the area around Stonehenge is teeming with previously unseen archaeology and that the application of new technology can transform how archaeologists and the wider public understand one of the best-studied landscapes on Earth.”(p)
December 2014 saw an encampment site just 1.5 miles from Stonehenge have its date confirmed at around 4000 BC(s).
Marden Henge, situated between Stonehenge and Avebury is reckoned to be ten time bigger than Stonehenge and has now (2015) seen the start of a three-year, £1,00,000, dig by 80 archaeologists hoping to unlock its secrets(a). Dr. Jim Leary, a leading archaeologist working at the site is convinced that Marden may turn out to be more significant than Stonehenge(w).
Earlier in 2015 Tim Daw, a steward at the Stonehenge site, has claimed that he had discovered a previously unknown alignment, involving a line of stones at 80 degrees to the axis of the monument. His theory is that the tallest stone at Stonehenge points towards the midsummer sunset and has been observed to be correct(v).
The archaeological importance of Stonehenge was boosted further in September 2015 with the announcement that a line of nearly 100 buried stones had been discovered just a mile away, beside the Durrington Walls ‘superhenge’(y). There are images available, including a short video clip relating to this new discovery(z).
In November 2015 the New York Times published an updated overview(ae) of the various excavations that have taken place in the vicinity of Stonehenge.
*[Sarah Ewbank has now offered us a fascinating new theory regarding the original purpose and plan of Stonehenge. In a fully illustrated website(al) she reveals that the structure was concieved as “a ‘Cathedral-like’ building with a massive oak-framed roof, and a huge hall at it’s centre.”]*
Further discoveries are listed on the Heritage England website(ab).
(m)BBC Focus Magazine, July 2014, p.51