Stonehenge - a monumental failure?

Moros

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
3,059
#11
The dry summer (and the wrong length watering hose) of 2013 produced evidence that may suggest the circle was completed. There is nothing (digs) planned to confirm it as yet as far as I am aware.

BBC News - Stonehenge 'complete circle' evidence found
Thanks Jim Casey. It seems that (up to now) people have just assumed the stone circle was complete, with no real evidence.

However this bit is curious from the article -
"I remembered that the marks were where archaeologists had looked without success for signs that there had been stone holes, and that parch marks can signify them."

So the parch marks are evidence of holes in the ground, but they appear where archaeologists had already looked for holes in the ground but failed to find any. So could the parch marks have been caused by the holes the archaeologists made looking for the holes in the ground that they didn't find? (pre geo-phys archaeology did occur in that area).
 

Jim Casy

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
4,420
Scotland
#12
Thanks Jim Casey. It seems that (up to now) people have just assumed the stone circle was complete, with no real evidence.

However this bit is curious from the article -
"I remembered that the marks were where archaeologists had looked without success for signs that there had been stone holes, and that parch marks can signify them."

So the parch marks are evidence of holes in the ground, but they appear where archaeologists had already looked for holes in the ground but failed to find any. So could the parch marks have been caused by the holes the archaeologists made looking for the holes in the ground that they didn't find? (pre geo-phys archaeology did occur in that area).
Yes, a detectives hat is needed to put more meat on that bone. Perhaps other articles might confirm what archaeologists have actually done in previous searches. Certainly the BBC article states that geo-phys has been carried out there before. It would be hilarious if what has been found is indeed just evidence of previous searches:).

I saw your post and remembered the article. I don't know any more than that unfortunately Moros.
 

Moros

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
3,059
#13
Its odd how I've never come across the idea of an unfinished Stonehenge before. Its such an iconic image that I think popular culture just imagines that it must have been complete as one time.

"In 1655 the architect Inigo Jones, inspired by ancient Roman buildings, imagined Stonehenge as a symmetric monument with a complete lintelled circle. Architect John Wood’s rival theory, based on the first accurate survey of the stones and published in 1747, was that “the whole Work was never compleat”. Jones’s version became the popular view, though Wood’s has always had its followers, among them Egyptologist Flinders Petrie, who surveyed the site in 1880. In 1995 geophysical survey found no trace of four stones. A study by English Heritage in 2010 saw an “increasingly likely possibility that the outer stone structure was not completed as a circle”.
British Archaeology Jul/Aug 2013/132
British Archaeology Magazine | British Archaeology

The recent parch marks do however seem to be taken as proof that the 'missing' stones were once in place, making the circle complete. However this area of the circle is also said to have been made of smaller and more poorly carved stones than the area facing the Avenue. So the craftsmanship was not universally consistent on the monument, and the back of it, whether finished or not, was a bit of a hashed job.
 
Jan 2014
1,675
Portugal
#14
I think it was completed but it was also sacked several times... since it's construction (let's say 2500's BC) a lot of different civilizations have been in England, different cults, different cultures.
Also there was a lot of wooden parts that there were probably destroyed of simply disappeared with time. The theories regarding astronomical observation usually consider that the use of wooden objects in order to get more accurate results of mainstream on Megalithic constructions.

Btw, besides the dimension Stonehenge it's not so impressive in size compared to other Megalithic monuments from the same era or even older than it.

[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newgrange]Newgrange - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

This is an example.

The impressive thing is that in order to arrange such stone blocks, people moved them several hundreds of miles. Putting an unequal effort on it and making it to important to be left incomplete.
 

ib-issi

Ad Honorem
Mar 2011
3,403
just sitting here
#15
"I remembered that the marks were where archaeologists had looked without success for signs that there had been stone holes, and that parch marks can signify them."

So the parch marks are evidence of holes in the ground, but they appear where archaeologists had already looked for holes in the ground but failed to find any. So could the parch marks have been caused by the holes the archaeologists made looking for the holes in the ground that they didn't find? (pre geo-phys archaeology did occur in that area).
Ha-Ha , ...being a fan of Time Team , when they mention Geo-phys , they
just mean the echo sounder type tools , and only dig when/where the
echoes indicate there is something to find.......so presumably if nothing
was indicated , they did not dig ??...or do you mean by pre geo-phys that they did dig ?
 

Moros

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
3,059
#16
Ha-Ha , ...being a fan of Time Team , when they mention Geo-phys , they
just mean the echo sounder type tools , and only dig when/where the
echoes indicate there is something to find.......so presumably if nothing
was indicated , they did not dig ??...or do you mean by pre geo-phys that they did dig ?
There have been archaeological digs on Stonehenge for well over a century, and well before the advent of geo-phys. So pre geo-phys means just that - before geo-phys was available to archaeologists; which meant they dug where their own logic or intuition told them to. Perhaps these parch marks are sign of archaeological activity decades ago. But perhaps they really are remnant stone holes.
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,090
#17
If they were capable of building half of it, they would have been capable of building the whole of it; so even if it was unfinished (which is disputed), it didn't lie beyond their technical capacities, and its incompleteness would have been due to other factors (e.g. lack of manpower due to social changes, there are many possibilities).
Not at all. The introduction of farming in the neolithic led to surplus and free time allowing communal projects to be undertaken. Please realise that Stonehenge is not a unique seperate monument - it's part of of a whole network of burial sites, processional ways, astronomic markers, and circles over a considerable area. The henge was not the first part of the religious site either - that was the 'cursus', and burials took place there before that, potentially extending the history of the site for five thousand years before its official origin.

The monument had been finished - archaeology has confirmed that, but after a few thousand years exposed to the elements in a state of abandonment (the site was disused from around 1600 to 1300BC), you could hardly expect it to survive unscathed, and indeed, it would be almost gone by now had restorative efforts to preserve what was left had not taken place over the last two hundred years.

The only potential social change that seriously affected Stonehenge (amnd surrounding area) as a religious site was the one that saw it's eventual abandonment. This does coincide with the growth and collapse of a bronze age economy based on the ownership and exchange of bronze axe heads, a more materialistic culture that moved away from the communal celebrations of old.
 
Likes: specul8
Aug 2015
2,200
uk
#19
People are still talking about it and thousands from around the world are visiting the site every day , millenia after it was constructed. I'd call that a success.

In all honesty, because we don't know what it was designed to do, whether it was fully constructed or how it was built, it's hard to give an opinion as to if it served it's purpose. If it was built impress visitors - both then and now - it did it's job.

When you think about the manpower required over vast distances with limited technology, language and forms of communication it's a staggering achievement. And it's only when you get up close to the stones, or see it slowly appearing from the hazy mist of an early morning sun, that you truly appreciate how magnificent it truly is.
 

Pedro

Forum Staff
Mar 2008
17,151
On a mountain top in Costa Rica. yeah...I win!!
#20
In keeping with the wonderful pun in the original question I would call it A Monumental success.
 

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