The best theories that attempt explaining the mystery that is Stonehenge

Stonehenge has been standing sober and majestic in the South West of England for millenniums now. And even though several studies have been carried out on the wonder, no one has truly unlocked the mystery of its origins or true purpose of Stonehenge.

Many scientists and researchers have come up with unique theories, from aliens to ancient ritual sacrifice. But none of them are fully satisfactory. Before we delve into some of the best available theories concerning Stonehenge’s origin and purpose, let’s first take a look at what Stonehenge is.

What is Stonehenge?

Stonehenge is a colossal monument of stone that can be found north of the city of Salisbury, England. The monument is located on a grassy plain and is a marvel to behold. Recent research indicates that the location of Stonehenge has undergone a gradual evolution over the past 10,000 years, but the Stonehenge structure itself is believed to have been built anywhere between 4000 and 5,000 years ago. It is believed that the monument was part of a larger sacred landscape which included an enormous monument of stone more than ten times larger than Stonehenge.

The largest of Stonehenge’s stones are called Sarsens. They are up to 30 feet in height and weigh on the average around 25 tons. The stones are believed to have been brought to the location from Marlborough Downs (20 miles away) and deliberately arranged to form the symbolic monument.

Among the Sarsens are smaller stones called “bluestones” because of their blue hue when wet. The bluestones weigh about 4 tons and are believed to have been sourced from various parts of western Wales. The size of the Sarsens and bluestones have left researchers stumped concerning how men of old brought the stones to Stonehenge and managed to arrange them with the limited technology at their disposal at the time. Inability to explain how the stones were transported have led to theories of the metaphysical or extra-terrestrials having a hand in the design and building of Stonehenge. Since there is no hard evidence to state otherwise, these theories might as well be true.

Other scientists have proposed that the stones, especially the bluestones, were moved closer to the area by the last ice age glaciers. But even that theory seems far-fetched. Let’s now take a closer look at some of the theories concerning Stonehenge’s purpose.

Stonehenge theories

  • An Ancient Disco

Rupert Till, a university professor who specialises in sound and also dabbles in DJ-ing is of the opinion that Stonehenge was the spot people of days past came to party. His theory is based on the unique acoustics that can be accomplished within the ring of stones. He is not alone in his theory as another researcher in archaeoacoustics, Steven Waller proposed that Stonehenge’s circular construction could mimic a sound illusion and modify acoustics of tunes from pipers playing within the ring. A study released in May 2012 further supported these claims by indicating that sound reverberations within the circle are similar to that which occur in a modern-day cathedral or concert hall.

So was Stonehenge simply a place where people came to party, have concerts, or sing praise? It is still uncertain

  • Elite Burial Site

Recently, it was discovered that Stonehenge was possibly a graveyard for elite families. But why go through the trouble of the nearly impossible task of moving such large stones just to mark the graves of some individuals?

A team of British archaeologists analysed ancient remains found around Stonehenge which consisted of 63 bodies buried. The first monument was discovered to have been a graveyard where remains were brought and buried over 200 years. But other remains discovered in the area indicate that the earliest burials occurred long before Stonehenge took its current form. So what made these elite’s so special and why were they buried in this exact spot? The answers are yet to come

  • Health Spa or Healing Site

Evidence found around Stonehenge indicate that it was believed that the area had rejuvenating capabilities. Archaeologists Timothy Darvill and Geoffrey Wainwright in 2008 claimed they found evidence that pilgrims came to Stonehenge for its healing properties.

According to the archaeologists, several of the remains found in the area indicate that people came there sick or injured hoping to find succour at the stone circle. The archaeologists also stated that fragments of Stonehenge’s bluestones chipped away by ancient people had been found and were probably being used as protective talismans or for healing purposes.

  • Team building exercise

exercise

Another theory proposes that Stonehenge was erected to foster team spirit and camaraderie among the people. According to University College London researchers, Stonehenge was built as part of an annual winter solstice ritual where about 4,000 people gathered at the site every year in a spirit of togetherness. Examinations on remains found around Stonehenge showed that some visitors at the site came from as far as the Scottish Highlands same time every year to contribute towards building the monument and partake in feasting.

  • Ancient computer or calculator

Gerald Hawkins in 1963 proposed that Stonehenge was designed as a computer for predicting when sun and/or moon eclipses would occur. He supported his theory by indicating 165 points in the Stonehenge arrangement that correlated with the rising and setting of the sun and moon.

This theory is accepted by many in present day who visit Stonehenge yearly to celebrate the summer solstice. But a 2005 finding indicated that Stonehenge was actually visited in the past to celebrate the winter solstice not the summer solstice.

  • Sex symbol

You were probably expecting this theory, so yes. A University of British Columbia researcher in 2003 proposed that Stonehenge was actually an ancient sex symbol signifying the female sex organ of Mother Earth. Mother Earth according to Anthony Perks possibly birthed plants and animals through Stonehenge

  • Alien construction

There is no proof but there are loads of suspicions that the building of Stonehenge was strongly influenced by aliens. It is believed that these same aliens possibly had a hand in building the Egyptian pyramids and Easter Island.

So these are the most feasible theories concerning the construction and purpose of Stonehenge. What’s your opinion on the matter?

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