Sunday, December 2, 2007

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

StonehengeStonehenge


Among pre-historic tribes for a while.


It seems strange and unbelievable that Britain a symbol and torch-bearer of modernity could conceal in its lap; such an ancient monument made by some prehistoric people supposed to have lived as far as 5000 years back. In usual cases such ancient monuments are found in Asia or Africa. The Stonehenge as this site is known is located in a small city by name Bath in south-west England; about two hour bus-journey from London. The City of Bath was founded by the Romans and it has hot springs; famous for their medicinal properties. The city got its name as it was the bathing spot of Roman Lords. This hot spring is still there in well preserved state and there is a 500 year old church nearby. Romans called the city Aquae Sulis.


The pattern with some riddle in store.


Stonehenge

Plan of Stonehenge today. After Cleal et al. and Pitts.


It is believed that these formations pertain to about 3000 BC involving massive human labor not less than 30 million man-hours. It is also found that the work was completed in three phases with more than one interruption in between. One of the stoppages took more than 1000 years.


The Stonehenge consists of a number of big long-cut stones arranged in a strange pattern, the purpose of bringing such huge stones to this place and arranging them in this particular pattern is subject to much study and speculation.


There is a large earth-work (henge) comprising of a ditch around the bank with round pits in chalk of about one meter wide. The megaliths arranged in middle of the bank; as the outermost layer there is a circle formed of Sarsen stones; within that there is an inner circle of blue stones as the second layer. In the central portion (the core) five trilithons placed in a horse-shoe pattern; with its axis directed to the midsummer sunrise.


Why all these were made?


StonehengeStonehenge photo taken July 1877

Plainly speaking it is a structure made of huge stones of various types; by people who lived there in the prehistoric times. They might have intended the site to be auspicious


for performing some sort of religious rituals. As human bones have recovered from beneath the site it is also assumed that it might have been used as an altar for performing human sacrifices. The types of stones used include Blue-stone, Sarsen, Welsh and Sandstone etc. As the arrangement is in such a fashion that its axis was aligned towards midsummer sunrise it is supposed that the tribes which installed these stones had worshipped celestial bodies like sun, moon and the stars.


What exactly is the Stonehenge?


The site is in UK and let us probe what Englishmen have to say about it, Oxford being the tongue of England let us hear what the Oxford Dictionary has to say about this riddle.


“The Stonehenge is a megalithic monument located in Salisbury plains, Wiltshire UK, which was completed in several constructional from 2950 BC. It is composed of circle of Sarsen stones, surrounded by a bank and ditch enclosing a circle of smaller blue stones. Within this inner-circle is a horse-shoe arrangement of five trilithons with the axis aligned on the midsummer sunrise, an orientation that was probably for ritual purposes”


No beating about the bushes; “just long enough to cover all the essentials and short enough to be attractive”! As one gentleman remarked when asked about the correct size of ladies skirts!


Megalithic monuments are monuments made of big stones used extensively in prehistoric monuments (mega + lithos = big + stone).


The Sarsen is a silicified (converted in to silica) stones found in the chalk downs of Southern England; it commonly used in other prehistoric monuments also for its easy availability.


Blue stones form the inner part of the formation; these stones are made of dolerite (igneous rock formed of solidified lava).


The five trilithons are structures; each made of three long stones two of them standing vertically on the floor and the third one horizontally placed on the top joining both of them as if a bridge.


Scientists! Rake thy brain.


StonehengeStonehenge 'Slaughter Stone' in the foreground

For Great Britain Stonehenge is not an isolated one as there is one or two such stone arrangement like that in Avebury complex about 25miles north from Wiltshire; which pertains to 2400 BC. Though Britain does not have a Pyramid or a Machu Pichu to boast of at least this site is a consolation; only thing absent is the missing links as to which tribe built it, how they lived, what sort of culture did they have, which human race did they belong etc. More than all these; the pattern of the stone arrangement and its purpose is perhaps more weird than the details of its makers.


Thank You Time-Machine!


A trip to Bath is like a time machine-ride; first stop at Bath 10 to 20 centuries back; there are remnants of the erstwhile Roman Empire to take you to the medieval period; like the hot spring-spas, the five hundred year old church, calm and serene country scenes etc. Bath is also famous for the ‘Bath-buns’ for those are worshippers of exotic dishes. Have a bath in a spring-water spa imagining a Roman Lord having it in the nearby room, pray in the church nearby thinking there are Roman beauties in the nearby seats and eat stomach full of Bath-buns as if it is found nowhere else. Ask the machine to take you to the stone-age -Stonehenge (the final point -5000 years back), see it as much as you please; feel weird things like that you are among the tribals (or even one among them!) enjoying their company.


Time travelers and their brides; it’s time!


Stonehengesun rising over Stonehenge

At last; it is all over; the time machine (can also be called a bus) blows horn, o k let’s go back; let the machine to take us back to the 21st century! Because all events; even if it is a virtual one; should have an end. Thank You ‘Time Machine’! Take us back to home; Bye; dear virtual comrades, Bye; Bath –the ‘Roman City’; Bye; Bye; Stonehenge.........!


High ways are happy ways,

When they lead to home;

Dear home......................!

2 comments:

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