STONEHENGE- AN ARCHITECTURAL MARVEL
Located in Southern England, on the vast plains of Salisbury, the Stonehenge is one of the most iconic archaeological sites and enigmas of the world, attracting awe and fascination with the people across the globe. The Stonehenge is a gigantic stone monument built roughly between 4000 to 5000 years ago. The structure that we have today was once a part of a much larger landscape that included a massive stone monument that was estimated to be 15 times as large as what we have today.
Extensive research works have revealed that this massive structure, which started out as a circular earthen bank, took more than a millennium in making. An intricate pattern of wooden posts was replaced in about 2600 B.C. by 80 dolerite bluestones from Wales and several hundred years after that three times larger sarsen stones were added in the structure. These huge sandstone blocks weighed around 25 tons and were transported some 30 kilometers to create the structure. The construction of the Stonehenge took some 20 million hours and the ancient Britons who built it, left no written records of the process. This has resulted in intense debates and has spawned innumerable tales and theories, for it was built at a time when none of the present-day modern technologies were present. Undoubtedly, this jaw-dropping architectural marvel is laced with mysteries.
A SITE FOR HEALING AND CURE
Scholars and researchers came up with a lot of theories about Stonehenge but among these, a theory proposed by Professor Timothy Darvill and Professor Geoff Wainwright stands out from the rest. They said that the Stonehenge was probably a site of healing. According to Wainright, ‘’ The whole purpose of Stonehenge is that it was a prehistoric Lourdes. People came here to be made well.’’ This theory is not only unique and haunting but is also revolutionary. The source of this reinterpretation is from the stones of the henge and the bones buried nearby and the key to this mystery is in the relatively smaller bluestones. These bluestones were dragged from the mountains at least 250 kilometers away from the site using prehistoric technology. Why would the people undertake such an extremely tedious act? The reason behind this act might have been the magical, healing powers imbued in these stones.
The evidence behind this new study that the Stonehenge was a site of healing, lies in the bodies buried nearby. This place was used as a sacred cemetery for the elite and bluestone chips were buried along with many bodies in the henge area while most of these bodies bear the marks of deadly diseases. Thus, it is understood that a lot of people traveled to the Stonehenge in search of a cure and to relieve themselves from the excruciating pain of the fatal diseases.
A LONG-LOST FOLKLORE
The researchers also suggested the missing link between the Stonehenge’s healing roles and an almost forgotten folklore. Arthurian legend has it that this spectacular site was indeed a healing center where the stones had been carried there by wizard Merlin, for their healing properties. In the late 18th century, visitors often scrapped tiny chips from the henge and took it along with them because they believed that it would cure them of their illnesses. Pilgrims from not only Britain but from the entire European continent came there to get themselves healed.
The new studies thus provide new interpretations of why Stonehenge was built. Nonetheless, it is still deemed as a place buried with ancient secrets and mysteries which are unfathomable to the present world.