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Research of versions and revelation of new facts about Stonehenge origin
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Research of versions and revelation of new facts about Stonehenge origin. Demchenko Olga Tereshkina Katya School 1693, Moscow 2009
The project aim To investigate various versions, theories and hypotheses of Stonehenge origin and to put forward our own ones.
A project hypothesis Studying materials on the given question, we can offer our own hypothesis of the enigmatic stones origin.
Project problems. to develop capabilities and skills of intellectual and aesthetic communication; to broaden intellectual horizon and vocabulary; to analyze existing versions and work out our own version on the given question; to form skills of research work and work with scientific literature; to create the methodical learner’s guide on regional geography of Great Britain for secondary and senior school.
Methods sociological research and interrogation among school students; systematization of the methodological, artistic, popular and scientific literature, Internet sites; translation of articles and other materials into English language.
Result working out and proof of our own theory of Stonehenge origin creation of the methodical learner’s guide on country specific studies of Great Britain for secondary and senior school.
The first written mention of Stonehenge The first written mention of Stonehenge concerns 1136. British chronics, the author "Histories of Brittes" Galfrid Monmutsky, precisely knew both appointment, and history of huge construction. From times Galfrid Monmutsky numerous versions of an origin of this monument of an antiquity were put forward. As its builders suggested to consider Romans, Danes, Phoenicians, druids, inhabitants of Atlantis, and last years - space newcomers. The modern science knows about an origin and appointment of a Stonehenge as the little more than the Old English writer.
Christopher Chippindale's Stonehenge Complete gives the derivation of the name Stonehenge as coming from the Old English words "stān" meaning "stone", and either "hencg" meaning "hinge" (because the stone lintels hinge on the upright stones) or "hen(c)en" meaning. The "henge" portion has given its name to a class of monuments known as henges. Archaeologists define henges as earthworks consisting of a circular banked enclosure with an internal ditch. The origin of the name
Who Built Stonehenge? The best guess seems to be that the Stonehenge site was begun by the people of the late Neolithic period (around 3000 BC) and carried forward by people from a new economy which was arising at this time. These "new" people, called Beaker Folk because of their use of pottery drinking vessels, began to use metal implements and to live in a more communal fashion than their ancestors. Some think that they may have been immigrants from the continent, but that contention is not supported by archaeological evidence. It is likely that they were indigenous people doing the same old things in new ways.
Who Built Stonehenge? The question of who built Stonehenge is largely unanswered, even today. The monument's construction has been attributed to many ancient peoples throughout the years, but the most captivating and enduring attribution has been to the Druids. This erroneous connection was first made around 3 centuries ago by the antiquary, John Aubrey. Julius Caesar and other Roman writers told of a Celtic priesthood who flourished around the time of their first conquest (55 BC). By this time, though, the stones had been standing for 2,000 years, and were, perhaps, already in a ruined condition. Besides, the Druids worshipped in forest temples and had no need for stone structures
What was the purpose of Stonehenge? Stonehenge, one of the great Seven Wonders of the World, but what do we really know about it? What was its purpose, how was it built and by whom. Many different answers come up when asking the question ”What was the purpose of Stonehenge, some say that it was a horrid place, which the Druids used for religious sacrifice, but most others have a more positive idea. A temple of the sun, a Pagan Cathedral, or a holy sanctuary in the midst of blessed ground, or maybe a clock or even a place to predict eclipses. No one really knows what it was used for, this is due to a great number of facts surrounding all of these ideas. The following essay is going to state the facts and myths about the great Stonehenge. By the end of this essay, hopefully a solid conclusion will be found to be the most plausible answer for Stonehenge’s construction.
Ways of transportation Once on site, a sarsen stone was prepared to accommodate stone lintels along its top surface. It was then dragged until the end was over the opening of the hole. Great levers were inserted under the stone and it was raised until gravity made it slide into the hole. At this point, the stone stood on about a 30° angle from the ground. Ropes were attached to the top and teams of men pulled from the other side to raise it into the full upright position. It was secured by filling the hole at its base with small, round packing stones. At this point, the lintels were lowered into place and secured vertically by mortice and tenon joints and horizontally by tongue and groove joints. Stonehenge was probably finally completed around 1500 BC.
Ways of transportation About 2,000 BC, the first stone circle (which is now the inner circle), comprised of small bluestones, was set up, but abandoned before completion. The stones used in that first circle are believed to be from the Prescelly Mountains, located roughly 240 miles away, at the southwestern tip of Wales. The bluestones weigh up to 4 tons each and about 80 stones were used, in all. Given the distance they had to travel, this presented quite a transportation problem. Modern theories speculate that the stones were dragged by roller and sledge from the inland mountains to the headwaters of Milford Haven. There they were loaded onto rafts, barges or boats and sailed along the south coast of Wales, then up the Rivers Avon and Frome to a point near present-day Frome in Somerset. From this point, so the theory goes, the stones were hauled overland, again, to a place near Warminster in Wiltshire, approximately 6 miles away. From there, it's back into the pool for a slow float down the River Wylye to Salisbury, then up the Salisbury Avon to West Amesbury, leaving only a short 2 mile drag from West Amesbury to the Stonehenge site.
Present Day Stonehenge. Situated in a vast plain, surrounded by hundreds of round barrows, or burial mounds, the Stonehenge site is truly impressive, and all the more so, the closer you approach. It is a place where much human effort was expended for a purpose we can only guess at. Some people see it as a place steeped in magic and mystery, some as a place where their imaginations of the past can be fired and others hold it to be a sacred place. But whatever viewpoint is brought to it and whatever its original purpose was, it should be treated as the ancients treated it, as a place of honor .
The construction of outer ring The giant sarsen stones (which form the outer circle), weigh as much as 50 tons each. To transport them from the Marlborough Downs, roughly 20 miles to the north, is a problem of even greater magnitude than that of moving the bluestones. Most of the way, the going is relatively easy, but at the steepest part of the route, at Redhorn Hill, modern work studies estimate that at least 600 men would have been needed just to get each stone past this obstacle.
Version 1. Stonehenge was associated with Merlin and King Arthur. The legend of King Arthur provides another story of the construction of Stonehenge. It is told by the twelfth century writer, Geoffrey of Monmouth, in his History of the Kings of Britain that Merlin brought the stones to the Salisbury Plain from Ireland. Sometime in the fifth century, there had been a massacre of 300 British noblemen by the treacherous Saxon leader, Hengest. Geoffrey tells us that the high king, Aurelius Ambrosius, wanted to create a fitting memorial to the slain men. Merlin suggested an expedition to Ireland for the purpose of transplanting the Giant's Ring stone circle to Britain. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the stones of the Giant's Ring were originally brought from Africa to Ireland by giants (who else but giants could handle the job?). The stones were located on "Mount Killaraus" and were used as a site for performing rituals and for healing. Led by King Uther and Merlin, the expedition arrived at the spot in Ireland. The Britons, none of whom were giants, apparently, were unsuccessful in their attempts to move the great stones. At this point, Merlin realized that only his magic arts would turn the trick. So, they were dismantled and shipped back to Britain where they were set up (see illus. at right) as they had been before, in a great circle, around the mass grave of the murdered noblemen. The story goes on to tell that Aurelius, Uther and Arthur's successor, Constantine were also buried there in their time*.
Version 2. Stonehenge is an astronomical calendar. The moon, it has been a sight for all over time. Back long ago little was none of the reasons for an eclipses, it was thought to be a sign from the gods. In a society which worshiped gods for all the mysteries of the world, the eclipse must have been very special. The builders of Stonehenge must have been marveled at the sight of this holy event, which happened every four years. Most likely the great Stonehenge was built to be a prediction device for the eclipse. Many people have studied Stonehenge and many have found that the stones are mathematically placed to show when and eclipse might occur.
Version 3. Stonehenge is a horrid sacrificial temple? And finally, the idea that it was used for ancient sacrifice by the druids to there gods. This is a logical idea, do to the facts presented by the construction of Stonehenge. The Alter Stone is the stone in the middle of the circle of stones this would have been ideal for a sacrifice of any kind, and the alignment of the stones look like pillars in a temple which means this could just as well been a temple.
Version 4. Hedges are gateways to hell. The story of Stonehenge wouldn't be complete without its legends. These mythical stories serve to explain the meaning of the monument, and maybe even the dangers. One such story says that the henges are gateways to where we originally came from. The legend goes on to suggest that every 5,000 years or so, someone attempts to open one of them, which brings about some horribly catastrophic event
Version 5. Stonehenge is an astronomical planetarium. Edward Duke was the first person to associate astronomy with Stonehenge, describing it as a planetarium full of significant astronomical alignments - although he named none. Unfortunately most of his ideas on the subject were rather fanciful and over-imaginative, and not very scientific. The moon, it has been a sight for all over time. Back long ago little was none of the reasons for an eclipses, it was thought to be a sing from the gods. In a society which worshiped gods for all the mysteries of the world, the eclipse must have been very special. The builders of Stonehenge must have been marveled at the sight of this holy event, which happened every four years. Most likely the great Stonehenge was built to be a prediction device for the eclipse. Many people have studied Stonehenge and many have found that the stones are mathematically placed to show when and eclipse might occur. "In favor of this solution - that the Aubrey holes were used as a computer are these facts: the number 56 is the smallest number that measures the swing o the moon with an over-all accuracy of better than 3 days, and lunar cycles provide the only method of long-range eclipse prediction related to the seasons of the year."
Version 6. Stonehenge – for telling the time? Back when Stonehenge was built people had no way of telling the time. Perhaps the Druids wished to keep records of events. Stonehenge is said by some to be one widespread sundial, a clock used in ancient times. When the sun rises it casts a shadow though an opening in the one side of Stonehenge, the day passes and the shadow move across the middle showing the druids the time of day
Version 7. Stonehenge was an ancient computer. Controversially Gerald Hawkins went on to suggest that Stonehenge was an ancient computer. The 1960's were still early in the computer revolution, and the Harvard-Smithsonian IBM had produced some fantastic results for him. This was merely Hawkins' way of paying a high compliment to the architects and builders of Stonehenge (Castleden, 1993). There are indeed a large number of astronomical alignments, prediction and measuring devices, and representative features to be found among the megalithic stones and holes of Stonehenge. Gerald Hawkins discovered many of them, and most of his discoveries are commonly accepted.
Version 8: Stonehenge – the largest Neolithic Cemetery in England. Drawing on field experience in Madagascar, Parker Pearson advocates a bold interpretation of the site and, with it, the “answer” to Stonehenge. In Malagasy culture, the ancestors are revered with stone monuments, signifying the hardening of bodies to bone and the enduring commemoration of death; wood, by contrast, which decays, is associated with transient life. Stone is ancestral and male, while wood, as Parker Pearson put it, is “soft and squishy, like women and babies.” As he allows, no such gender distinction has yet been discerned in Britain, but it’s the same principle underlying Western commemorative practice: “You lay flowers on the grave, than you put up a tombstone.” Guided by this model, Parker Pearson seen suggestive associations between Durrington Walls, with its defining wooden structures, and the hard monumentality of Stonehange.
Version 9. Our own version. We have studied all versions available at present about an origin and megalit appointment, and have come to our own version of treatment of an origin and appointment of the given construction. We consider that Stonehenge was the largest Neolithic Cemetery in England only during the period of the pre-stone earthworks and timber structures. We agree that the megalith was built by people of several formations throughout many thousand years, since a late neolith (about 3 thousand years ago). We consider that builders were the indigenous population in favour of what speak archeological finds, and immigrants from the continent, owning knowledge of building of similar constructions could be organizers. Similar constructions can be seen on continent, that Stonehenge is not unique. Than Stonehenge was reconstructed to serve as an astronomical calendar, for a prediction of eclipses of the moon and the sun, definition of days of a spring and autumn equinox, seasons, time of day and night. Then the megalith was used as a temple for worship and sacrifice. In favour of this version the internal design of a construction with altar stone in the centre and numerous burial places around. All these points we tried to prove logically.
Our own version. Stonehenge really boggles the mind when you look at all the possibilities it holds. Where the people back then so intelligent that they knew how to predict seasons and eclipses, or were they religious cult members using it as a horrid sacrificial temple. For all we know Merlin did just make it appear out of nowhere, this is all very vague. But this essay was to give an educated guess about "What was the purpose of Stonehenge?" From the information we found there are many ways we could go. The two most realistic were the temple and eclipse prediction theories. We’re going to go with the eclipse theory, there are two many coincidences for it to have just been an accident, they must have been an advanced civilization which understood the most complicated mathematics and building techniques. It is not so unrealistic to assume this, we know so little about the culture back then who says that they couldn’t have figured it out. So in conclusion, we believe the purpose of Stonehenge was to predict the appearance of eclipses, do to their beliefs an eclipse was a sign from the gods that perhaps they had done something wrong and by worshiping it they could make it right. Stonehenge is truly the greatest mystery in the world, we hope they find out what it was truly for someday.
No travel around Britain should omit it. The modern age has not been altogether kind to Stonehenge, despite the lip service it pays to the preservation of heritage sites. There is a major highway running no more than 100 yards away from the stones, and a commercial circus has sprung up around it, complete with parking lots, gift shops and ice cream stands. The organization, English Heritage, is committed to righting these wrongs, and in the coming years, we may get to see Stonehenge in the setting for which it was originally created. Despite all its dilapidation and the encroachment of the modern world, Stonehenge, today, is an awe-inspiring sight, and no travel itinerary around Britain should omit it.
Stonehenge - one of the great Seven Wonders of the World Stonehenge, one of the great Seven Wonders of the World, but what do we really know about it. What was its purpose, how was it built and by whom. A temple of the sun, a Pagan Cathedral, or a holy sanctuary in the midst of blessed ground, or maybe a clock or even a place to Predict Eclipses. No one really knows what it was used for; this is due to a great number of facts surrounding all of these ideas. Many ideas come up when talking about why this great structure was built along with an equal amount on who built it.
Conclusion We have touched one of the most mysterious secrets in history of our planet. To work over a problem of researching versions of an origin of Stonehendge it was very interesting also because we did it in two languages: English and Russian. The large quantity of material has been translated by us from the Internet and the literature to a theme. We have come to our own conclusions and we consider, that the given work will clear interest to regional geography of the Great Britain among pupils. Our brochure will help to differ lessons of English language and to stir up design activity in a subject.