Ceremonial, Healing, Acoustics, Other?
Stonehenge is a setting of ancient ceremonial standing stones near the town of Amesbury, in Wiltshire. Find it at http://www.aboutstonehenge.info/index.php?pg=stonehenge-location.
The site is an easy ride from the airport at Heathrow. A motorway after landing eases practice driving on the left on where there are lots of lanes. What is Stonehenge? There are various and ever-changing theories. It continues to amaze.
In addition to its ceremonial attributes, Stonehenge was an acoustic wonder. By way of update, today, New Year's 2013, a New York Times review by Katherine Bouton of the book, Discord, the Story of Noise (book by Mike Goldsmith) notes that Stonehenge originally was an acoustical marvel. In 2600 BC, its sound reverberated much like a concert hall, thanks to "thanks to the smooth and slightly curved inner face of the stones," see http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/01/science/discord-sound-noise-and-our-elusive-quest-for-quiet.html
Stonehenge: Stone, Outside Main Perimeter, Wiltshire, England
1. Stonehenge as a place of worship.
We had been told that this was a place of sun worship - example http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.16465. With the carbon-dating of cremated remains that had been in storage, archeologists then said that the purpose of Stonehenge is clearer. It was a burial ground, and apparently for rulers that dominated the area for some 500 years. Stonehenge itself dates from about 2500-3000 BC. See http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-stonehenge_30may30,0,3850894.story
Research and archeology are now finding more to this famous setting of monolithic standing stones at Stonehenge, Stonehenge long thought to be for ceremonial and/or burial purposes. There are other henge monument traces nearby, remains of a mound circle, gaps, ditches, seen by below-ground imaging and without the digs initially, see http://www.archaeology.ws/stonehenge.html. This also dates from 2500-3000 BC, as does mainstream Stonehenge. Named Bluestone Henge in 2009, at its discovery (after our trip),
Stonehenge, for all its other possible uses, was apparently also a place of healing, its own Lourdes where those with illness or deformity could come for relief. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/programmes/stonehenge/
Early pilgrims coming to Stonehenge - pre-Christian came from other parts of Europe, not just local. This was the Neolithic era. Some skulls even show signs of surgery (didn't the ancient Egyptians also drill through skulls successfully?), see http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2008-09-22-stonehenge-healing_N.htm
Comment reply -
- We were able to get very close, but not to touch. Park across the highway, then follow the pedestrian tunnel underneath to the stones' side. There was a gravel walkway around a tight perimeter, with some stones nearby on the other side of the walkway as well. There was a very light wirey fence, nothing formidable, more a guide. We could not wander freely inside the main area of the stones, however. Everyone stayed on the walkway.
- These areas, for us, are too manicured. We liked the rough settings of other stone circles and standing stones in the middle of fields in England and Ireland, and in Orkney, see the Ring of Brodgar at http://orkneyroadways.blogspot.com/2007/10/layers-of-culture.html and Callenish, Lewis, Hebrides, see http://hebridesroadways.blogspot.com/2006/06/callanish-lewis-standing-stones.html sites at Europe Road Ways. Enjoy more those wilder settings for standing stones. More impressive, we thought.