Stonehenge - a monumental failure?

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,090
#21
Bear in mind that Stonehenge and surrounding ritual monuments were abandoned in the early Bronze Age. Not until the 1600's were such sites looked at with any scholarly interest, used mostly for available stone, although Stonehenge was remote enough to survive. Further, Stonehenge was rescued from decay from the 1800's onward. We're lucky the site is as complete as it is today. The problem is that the religion that used Stonehenge left no mark on history despite its apparent importance and spread, thus we have had two centuries of intense speculation. Perhaps our contemporary archeologists are getting close to the truth - but then, every generation thought so too.
 
Aug 2018
285
london
#22
Bear in mind that Stonehenge and surrounding ritual monuments were abandoned in the early Bronze Age.
Actually it seems to have still been an important cult centre during the Bronze Age. People apparently travelled there from as far afield as the mediterranean, possibly even Greece with whom the Wessex culture had trade connections.

"A further study by the two archaeologists into prehistoric human skeletons buried in the Stonehenge area, is also beginning to suggest that a larger than normal percentage of them suffered from particularly bad health problems.
This, they argue, would be consistent with Stonehenge having been an ancient healing centre attracting huge numbers of sick Neolithic and Bronze Age pilgrims from all over Britain and continental Europe. They point out the high incidence of small exotic artefacts from prehistoric continental Europe and even the ancient Mediterranean world found in the Stonehenge area. Stonehenge may also have doubled as an important oracle, thus attracting even more pilgrims. The archaeologists believe that the great stone monument may have been a temple to the sun god, described by the BC classical historian Diodorus Siculus"

The secret of Stonehenge

"As a major attraction for more than 3,500 years, Stonehenge has inspired many an ancient road trip. Now, new evidence shows that Bronze Age people journeyed all the way from the Mediterranean coast. Chemical analysis of the teeth of a 14- or 15-year-old boy—buried outside the town of Amesbury, about three miles from Stonehenge —reveal that he hailed from somewhere in the Mediterranean region [...] Discovered in 2005, the teen was buried about 3,550 years ago wearing a necklace of about 90 amber beads. "Such exotic materials demonstrate that he was from one of the highest echelons of society," said project archaeologist Andrew Fitzpatrick of Wessex Archaeology".

Bejeweled Stonehenge Boy Came From Mediterranean?
 
Last edited:
Feb 2011
741
Kitchener. Ont.
#23
....is seems that a portion (the left side) of the structure was actually left unfinished - not that the stones were there and then plundered as building material (the lecturer is well aware of that argument), but that there is no evidence for all the stones ever having stood of fallen there in the first place.
The ground was scanned in places where stones 'should' be (where they are missing today), and significant disturbances in the ground, both by width & depth were identified at those very locations.
This is the same logic applied in archaeology/geology on ancient settlements, this is how we can determine that stones had existed at one time, that the monument was once complete.
The massive settlement surrounding the monument indicating hundreds? of round-houses show that sufficient manpower was present at that site. Some evidence was also unearthed that suggested peoples came to that site from all over the island, north to south.

It was left incomplete because human ambition exceeded human ability. It was never repeated and the technology used never advanced because the endeavour failed.
But that doesn't make any sense.
Clearly, if they completed half, or better yet 2/3rds or more of an edifice, you have the ability & manpower to complete the job. The tasks required to carve & erect two verticals with one horizontal, is just repeated. If you can do it once, you can do it many times.
However, if there is evidence of outside influences like widespread war, depopulation, or famine which may have significant effect on such a huge enterprise, then that is a different issue.

Look at the Bent pyramid in Egypt. They didn't abandon it, they fixed it.
These were not 'throw-away' societies like today. Too much time & effort is put into the work to just walk away and build something else. Besides, Stonehenge had been a religious site for hundreds of years before the stone version was erected, the ancients had great traditions invested in that place. It wasn't just a building out in the middle of nowhere.
 
Aug 2015
2,200
uk
#24
At some stage the people who used Stonehenge stopped doing so. Was that before the structure was complete or afterwards? We'll never know. IF it was a place of religious significance and IF the religion changed before all the stones were put into place, then for sure they would stop dragging huge stones across the country. The area was likely used for maybe 1000 years (perhaps more) before the stones started to be put in place; but (like I said) at some stage something happened and it ceased to be used.

The construction of Stonehenge must have taken an incredible amount of manpower and planning, over the lifetime of several generations of the people who worked on the project. Perhaps eventually the latest generation turned to a new god , or decided to honour their dead in another way or SOMETHING, and then Stonehenge - complete or not - was abandoned.
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,090
#27
Yes there were. We know that one farmer led cattle from the Orkneys to Wiltshire for a winter feast at Durrington Walls, near Stonehenge (Usually it was pigs that were eaten).
 

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