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Monday, 16 March 2015

Stonehenge on Stilts

Ah me. Another day, another radical theory about the use of Stonehenge.


The trouble with most radical theories of Stonehenge, like this one, is the assumption that the ultimate configuration of the monument - with a complete sarsen circle, but before half of it disappeared - is what the original builders had in mind. As if the Saxon builders of a church said to each other, "in 1200 years time, just our tower will be left - but it'll be the perfect counterpoint to the 1984 loos and the pink chairs the vicar will replace the Victorian pews with." No. Stonehenge was a living building - knocked around, no doubt with people declaring it didn't have bluestones when they were a child, for a hundred generations.

The other trouble with most radical theories of Stonehenge, like this one, is that there's no evidence. That the Pope used to be carried around is not a proof. Sky platforms on which sky worshippers could conduct ceremonies would require infrastructure to support them that simply hasn't left any evidence of existence.

Maybe the whole theory is wrong. Maybe they used the flat tops of the trilithons to expose the dead, collecting up the bones as they fell. We can all play this game. 

The latest serious theories see Stonehenge, connected by the Avenue and the Avon to the wooden Durrington Walls, as the place of the dead. Durrington, with its midwinter hog roasts, was the place of the living. So looking up could be totally the wrong direction - the south-western horizon is where to look. The place where, bringing warmth and light to the dead - clustered in barrows around the landscape - the sun comes itself to die.

5 comments :

  1. Hmmm... What does it for me is that little phrase "Spalding, who is not an archaeologist, believes..." Says it all.

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  2. Alas, there is still no trace of Blancmangehenge. Some say it was eaten.

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  3. We all know that it is what remains of the Spalding bus-station destroyed by the wheel iconoclasts of the ceramic neolithic.

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  4. Ah, another theory.

    It doesn't defeat my theory that Stonehenge (other Henges are available) was in fact a giant bowling alley, and teams of 100 druids took it in turns to bowl huge rock balls at the uprights trying to skittle them down. Than another team of 1000 slaves would put them upright again in time for the next druid team go.

    It's blindingly obvious that their game was interrupted by those naughty Romans and they left a game half finished - hence the number of stones (sorry skittles) left laying on their sides.

    Completely scientific and just as historically valid as the many theories propounded by Henge prophets.

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  5. "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence", I was taught. Therefore [see what I did there?] I feel perfectly entitled to believe that Stonehenge was an aboriginal shopping mall, containing examples of prehistoric superstores and chain boutiques and coffee shops. These all disappeared in one of the periodic mass extinctions which have occurred during the existence of this planet.

    Give me enough time and I'll think up half a dozen other interpretations.

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