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STONEHENGE YESTERDAY, TODAY… AND TOMORROW. 2 The stones are great And magic power they have Men that are sick Fare to that stone And they wash that stone.

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Presentation on theme: "STONEHENGE YESTERDAY, TODAY… AND TOMORROW. 2 The stones are great And magic power they have Men that are sick Fare to that stone And they wash that stone."— Presentation transcript:


2 2 The stones are great And magic power they have Men that are sick Fare to that stone And they wash that stone And with that water bathe away their sickness -Layamon 1200

3 3 Peoples interest in mystery has always been a characteristic that has generated different questions, researches and interesting discoveries. Stonehenge has fascinated thousands of people throughout the ages, even today people are still wondering about the origins of the mysterious Stonehenge. Today's scientists and historians are still unable to come to a solid theory of when, why, by whom, and how the intriguing rock structure was built. Throughout history as we know it, there have been a countless number of propositions pertaining to these commonly unanswered questions. One interesting but debatable point is that throughout history, idea's about the origin of Stonehenge have followed the fashions of the age. In medieval times it found a place in patriotic schemes of early British history. The 17th century age of learning marks the first attempts to analyze it. In the 18th century its history was submerged under religious dogma. (SC 1983, 6) Today it seems that it is undergoing a more scientific analysis using radiocarbon dating and other techniques. Many of today's scientists and historians reject many of the earlier stories about Stonehenge. Whatever the origin and reason, Stonehenge is one of the most fascinating structures ever built, and it's legacy will continue to live on even ages after we are gone.

4 4 The stones we see today represent Stonehenge in ruin. Many of the original stones have fallen or been removed by previous generations for home construction or road repair. There has been serious damage to some of the smaller bluestones resulting from close visitor contact (prohibited since 1978) and the prehistoric carvings on the larger sarsen stones show signs of significant wear. Its original purpose is still somewhat unclear, but some have speculated that it was a temple made for worship of ancient earth deities. It has also been called an astronomical observatory for marking significant events on the ancient prehistoric calendar. Others claim that it was a sacred site created by Merlin and King Arthur for the burial of high-ranking citizens from societies of long ago. No matter what the claim has been for Stonehenge's original purpose, the truth is that it has inspired countless generations of people to strive to learn and figure out the history of our past. Stonehenge is somewhat a "gateway to the realms" providing insights into humanities past and showing that maybe we were not as "technically challenged" as some would like us to believe.

5 5 The legend of King Arthur provides another story of the construction of Stonehenge. It is told by the twelfth century writer, Geoffrey of Monmouth, in his History of the Kings of Britain that Merlin brought the stones to the Salisbury Plain from Ireland. Sometime in the fifth century, there had been a massacre of 300 British noblemen by the treacherous Saxon leader, Hengest. Geoffrey tells us that the high king, Aurelius Ambrosius, wanted to create a fitting memorial to the slain men. Merlin suggested an expedition to Ireland for the purpose of transplanting the Giant's Ring stone circle to Britain. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the stones of the Giant's Ring were originally brought from Africa to Ireland by giants (who else but giants could handle the job?). The stones were located on "Mount Killaraus" and were used as a site for performing rituals and for healing. Led by King Uther and Merlin, the expedition arrived at the spot in Ireland. The Britons, none of whom were giants, apparently, were unsuccessful in their attempts to move the great stones. At this point, Merlin realized that only his magic arts would turn the trick. So, they were dismantled and shipped back to Britain where they were set up (see illus. at right) as they had been before, in a great circle, around the mass grave of the murdered noblemen. The story goes on to tell that Aurelius, Uther and Arthur's successor, Constantine were also buried there in their time.

6 6 STONEHENGE AND THE SUMMER SOLSTICE It is a notable fact that the sun rises immediately over the summit of the " Hele Stone," in a line with the axis of Stonehenge on the Summer Solstice. Sir Norman Lockyer and Mr. Penrose, working on astronomical grounds, fix the date of the circle at 1680 B.C., with a possible error 0f 200 years on either side. These men would certainly from the nature of their calling, be not so much men of action as men of learning, the recorders of history and tradition, students of the natural phenomena, and of all of those signs and portents which concerned the good of the community. One of the earliest facts which impressed itself upon them must have been the horizon. It was above the horizon that the sun rose in the morning, and below that horizon that it sunk to rest at night ; further, when the sun had set the moon and stars peeped up from that line, and sunk below it, all in due course. These were facts easily apprehended. The common people even had grasped them, but.the wise men learned more. As the link between 'man and the spirits of the stars, sun, and moon, they came to recognise that the sun did not rise over the same spot on the horizon every day. In the summer it rose roughly in the north-east and set in the north-west. In the winter, on the other hand, it rose in the south-east and set in the south-west. Moreover, these variations would be found to be regular and recurring. The sun would appear to move every day after the Solstice towards the east, and from the east towards the south, back again towards the east, and once more northwards. A staff set in the ground would determine the range of the sun's apparent jourrnny and its extreme limits or turning points. This would fix the Summer Solstice in the north-east

7 7 Situated in a vast plain, surrounded by hundreds of round barrows, or burial mounds, the Stonehenge site is truly impressive, and all the more so, the closer you approach. It is a place where much human effort was expended for a purpose we can only guess at. Some people see it as a place steeped in magic and mystery, some as a place where their imaginations of the past can be fired and others hold it to be a sacred place. But whatever viewpoint is brought to it and whatever its original purpose was, it should be treated as the ancients treated it, as a place of honor. The modern age has not been altogether kind to Stonehenge, despite the lip service it pays to the preservation of heritage sites. There is a major highway running no more than 100 yards away from the stones, and a commercial circus has sprung up around it, complete with parking lots, gift shops and ice cream stands. The organization, English Heritage, is committed to righting these wrongs, and in the coming years, we may get to see Stonehenge in the setting for which it was originally created. Despite all its dilapidation and the encroachment of the modern world, Stonehenge, today, is an awe-inspiring sight, and no travel itinerary around Britain should omit it.

8 8 Believed to have been built around 3,200 BC, the Stonehenge is a mystic structure comprising of several earthworks. They are timber, earth and stone structures which have been re-modelled several times over a span of two thousand years. The place was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1986. The foremost element of this place that strikes visitors is the Avenue which comprises of twin banks and is located at the entrance of the earthwork enclosure. Lying within the earthwork enclosure is a red sarsen stone called the Slaughter Stone. The Station Stones, four small upright stones, and the Aubrey Holes, which is a bank of 56 pits, are spectacular sights around this place. Another interesting structure is the Heel Stone which is a huge untouched sarsen.

9 9 What is Stonehenge? It is the roofless past; Man's ruinous myth; his uniterred adoring Of the unknown in sunrise cold and red; His quest of stars that arch his doomed exploring. And what is Time but shadows that were cast By these storm-sculptured stones while centuries fled? The stones remain; their stillness can outlast The skies of history hurrying overhead. (Siegfried Sassoon)

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