Presentation on theme: "STONEHENGE – LOCATION. WHERE IS STONEHENGE? Stonehenge is in Wessex-- part of central-southern England on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. WHEN AND HOW DID."— Presentation transcript:
STONEHENGE – LOCATION
WHERE IS STONEHENGE? Stonehenge is in Wessex-- part of central-southern England on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. WHEN AND HOW DID STONEHENGE BEGIN? For some 400 years beginning about 2950 BCE the site was little more than a simple circular earthwork, inside of which was a space about 85 metres or some 90 yards in diameter but at the centre of which there appears to have been a simple wooden structure or timber circle. A ring of 56 pits lies close to the circumference of this open space, and according to the argument presented by Cleal, Walker and Montague (1995) every pit formerly held a timber post, thus forming a large-diameter timber circle. The holes left after the decay of the ring of posts are called Aubrey Holes. The Neolithic people later filled these pits with chalk and re-used them for ritual deposits. The major causeway opening to the north-east embraces the direction of the most northerly risings of both moon and sun. Not until about 2550 BCE did construction of a ring of stones commence. There being no natural stone on this part of the chalk plain, the stones had to be imported.
WHENCE? The first choice of stones, called bluestones, came from South-West Wales, 200 km to the west. Between 60 and 80 bluestones arrived, each weighing 3-4 tons, and there was one exceptional stone at 8 tons which was placed near the centre, on the summer solsticial axis, at the focus of the monument. The later sarsen stones, weighing between 6 and 60 tons each, were dragged about 32 km (20 miles) southwards from near Avebury. Sarsens are the fractured remnants of ancient sandstone beds dating from the Eocene some 26 million years ago. The photograph, taken in the direction of midsummer sunrise, indicates the immensity of the sarsens of the outer ring. The overhead lintel, which weighs about 6 tons, is supported by 25-ton megaliths. WHEN DID THE STONES ARRIVE ? The bluestones came about 2550 BCE, possibly at a rate of just a few (3 to 6, say) annually. At some point, delivery of the bluestones stopped. This happened before the ring of bluestones had been completed. Fairly soon afterwards, sarsen stones started arriving, and their delivery is presumed to have taken one or two centuries commencing about 2500 BCE.
HOW ? The bluestones were rafted from Wales by sea and river. The sarsens were dragged from the Avebury Hills by haulage teams, probably aided by oxen. The stones were then tipped end- first into pits dug into the sub-surface chalk The lintels for the trilithons were raised on wooden cribs or by using earthen ramps. BY WHICH ROUTES? (1) The bluestones came along the Bristol Channel, then possibly up the River Avon to Bath and overland to the River Wylye at Warminster; thence to Salisbury and Amesbury via a second River Avon to Stonehenge. A ditch-and-bank avenue from the latter river to the monument likely marks their final journey. An alternative possibility is a sea-crossing via Lundy Island (as suggested by Rodney Castleden) and then around the Cornish Peninsula to the Salisbury Avon. (2) The sarsens went probably south-west from the Avebury Hills to a col near Devizes and West Lavington, and then south and east across the chalkland.
WHAT WAS THE MASTER BUILDING PLAN? The first sarsen stone erected may have been the huge Heel Stone, set outside the monument. Also early were the 4 station stones, placed within the circular ditch near the Aubrey ring. A circle of bluestones was commenced but the stones were dismantled after 60 had been raised. Sarsen circles and U-settings then went up, the dominant feature being the trilithon idea of a 6- ton lintel lying across pairs of 25 to 60-ton uprights. In the final stage, the bluestones were put back, some in a circle, the others on a U-setting. The common axis of all the sarsen stones and the bluestone settings is towards the midsummer sunrise. The sparkling 8-ton bluestone went to the heart and focus of the monument where the rays of the rising sun can fall on it only for a few minutes each year at the time of midsummer solstice. It was a devout, clever people who did this. Who were they?
HISTORY OF STONEHENGE Stonehenge I The native Neolithic people of England began construction of Stonehenge I by digging a circular ditch using deer antlers as picks. The circle is 320 feet in diameter, and the ditch itself was 20 feet wide and 7 feet deep. Next, they used the chalky rubble taken from the ditch to built a steep bank circle just inside the outer circle. Inside the bank circle, they dug 56 shallow holes known as the Aubrey holes (named after their discoverer, 17th century scholar John Aubrey). Finally, two parallel stones were erected at the entrance to the circle, one of which, the Slaughter Stone, still survives. Also surviving are two Station Stones, positioned across from each other on opposite sides of the circle, which may also have been erected during this time. Stonehenge I seems to have been used for about 500 years and then abandoned.
HISTORY OF STONEHENGE Stonehenge II Construction of Stonehenge II began around 2100 BC. In this phase, a semicircle of granite stones known as bluestones (from their original coloring) was assembled within the original bank and ditch circles. Several aspects of this phase are intriguing. First, the bluestones come from the Preseli Mountains in South Wales, nearly 250 miles away. There were about 80 of them, weighing up to 4 tons each. How they were transported is not known, although scholars don't regard the feat as impossible and various theories have been presented. It is intriguing to wonder, however, what makes the Stonehenge site so special that so much effort would be expended to drag the giant stones 250 miles instead of constructing the monument near the quarry. Second, the entranceway to the semicircle of bluestones is aligned with the midsummer sunrise. The alignment was continued by the clearing of a new approach to the site, "The Avenue," which has ditches and banks on either side like the original outer circle. Two Heel Stones (so-named from the shape of the one that remains) were placed on the Avenue a short distance from the circle (and, today, very close to Highway A344).
HISTORY OF STONEHENGE Stonehenge III Stonehenge III is the stone circle that is still visible today. During this phase, which was started in about 2000 BC, the builders constructed a circle of upright sarsen stones, each pair of which was topped with a stone lintel (horizontal capstone). The lintels are curved to create a complete circle on top. There were originally 30 upright stones; 17 of these still stand. These stones came from the Marlborough Downs, 20 miles to the north, are 7 feet tall and weigh 50 tons each. The outside surfaces of all these stones were pounded smooth with hammers, and dovetail joints fasten the lintels to their uprights. Within this stone ring was erected a horseshoe formation of the same construction, using 10 upright stones. Here the trilithons (set of two uprights plus the lintel) stand separated from one another, in 5 pairs. Eight of the original ten stones remain. The horseshoe shape opens directly towards the Slaughter Stone and down the Avenue, aligned with the summer solstice sunrise. About a century later, about 20 bluestones gathered from Stonehenge II were placed in a horseshoe shape inside the sarsen horseshoe. Less than half of these remain. Some shuffling around of the bluestones and digging of holes (probably in preparation for placing the bluestones, which was not completed) occurred around 1500 BC. The Altar Stone is the biggest of these newly-arranged bluestones that remains. Around 1100 BC, the Avenue was extended all the way to the River Avon (over 9,000 feet from Stonehenge), indicating that the site was still in use at that time.
STONEHENGE ORIGINAL CONFIGURATION TODAY
STONEHENGE LAYOUT – CLEAL ET. AL. 1 = The Altar Stone, a six ton monolith of green micaceous sandstone from Walesmicaceous 2 = barrow without a burialbarrow 3 = "barrows" (without burials) 4 = the fallen Slaughter Stone, 4.9 metres long 5 = the Heel Stone 6 = two of originally four Station Stones 7 = ditch 8 = inner bank 9 = outer bank 10 = The Avenue, a parallel pair of ditches and banks leading 3 km to the River Avon 11 = ring of 30 pits called the Y Holes 12 = ring of 29 pits called the Z Holes 13 = circle of 56 pits, known as the Aubrey holes 14 = smaller southern entrance