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Free «Stonehenge» Essay Sample
Stonehenge is one of the greatest and mysterious prehistoric sites in Wiltshire, England. It is among the most fascinating sites in the world that composes of massive stones placed on vertical earth works. Scientific study on the Stonehenge reveals that it ages back to 2000BC to 3000BC. The radioactivity of the stones used to construct the henge estimates its first construction to have taken place between 2200BC to 2400BC. These estimates have been changing with time and different geologists, thus increasing the mystery of Stonehenge. However, studies to identify its intended purpose during the time of its construction are still mysterious. Speculations that exist link it to religious activities or burial site for prominent people in the ancient time. Although its purpose of construction eludes scientists and historians, it is definite that the purpose of its construction deserved the handwork, endurance, and humility involved (Shearing, 1960).
Construction of the Stonehenge
The construction of the henge falls into three phases. In the 8000BC, the area around the current Wiltshire was a forest cover that extended to a river in Amesbury. The construction of the Stonehenge commenced by clearance the forest in the region in preparation of structure erection. Clearing of the forest was followed by digging of postholes that could accommodate the vertical earth works. Upon erection of two posts, the British Isles experienced floods that came due to the effects of the comet. This halted the construction process. It took the ancients 1000 years to resume the construction that involved replacement of the poles. However, this took place 350 meters away from the initial location of the posts.
The second phase involved construction of a ditch and an embankment that occurred in 3020BC. The mystery of the ditch is its outside location from the bank. The ditch had a diameter of 97 meters and a depth of 2.1 meters. The constructors then placed to parallel entry stones on the northeast side of the circular henge that faced the sunrise in summer. Inside the bank were 56 shallow holes (Aubrey holes) that acted as a holding base of sighting poles that predicted eclipses. The henge was then used regularly up to 2600BC, when its users left it unused for approximately 1000 years. In 2100BC, transportation of Preseli Bluestones from the western part of Wales commenced as a move to furnish the henge. The bluestones were erected in a circular shape in the henge facing the sunrise. The Preseli Bluestone circle was dismantled 100 years after its construction and a horseshoe and a circle constructed in its place (Pitts, 2008).
The last phase of the construction involved an arrangement of Sarsen stones on the outer circle accompanied by a circle of lintels. Five trilithons were placed on the inside of this circle and are still in existence to date. After this final construction of the henge, several generations have destroyed and reconstructed it until 1960, when the final reconstruction was made. However, the original architect of the henge has been preserved during these reconstructions.
Lots of mystery surrounds the purpose of the building of the henge and using various parts, such as the bluestones that took a lot of efforts to transport. The belief attached the moving of the Preseli Bluestones from Wales to the construction site originates from the magic of Merlin. During the time of Geoffrey of Monmouth, one Aurelius Ambrosius asked Uther to bring the Giant’s Dance from Ireland and suggested Merlin to use it for performing rituals of the dead. The old tradition indicates that the stones moved to their destination by use of supernatural powers. The stones were enormous, and no technology existed in that age to transport and lift them to their position. However, theories suggest that rollers and sludge were used to drag the stones from Preseli Hills to Milford Haven. The stones were then sailed along the coast of Wales to Bristol, then up to the current Warminster. They were then floated in River Wylye up to West Amesbury around the site of the Stonehenge. Theories that suggested glaciations to have caused the transportation have been abandoned in recent times. Geological analysis of the stones relocates them to their origin, and no sign of glaciations is observed to have been involved in the transportation of the stones (Pitts, 2008).
Myths towards the purpose of Stonehenge are numerous. Scientists believe that Stonehenge was built as an observatory location. The stones resembled a night sky thus a backup for this reasoning. However, it is not logical that such a reason would drive the builders of Stonehenge to put in that much effort to build Stonehenge. Astronomer Norman Lockyer suggested that sun worshippers built the Stonehenge. He suggested this upon observation that the northeast axis face the summer sunrise. In 1963, Hawkins suggested that Stonehenge was used to predict lunar and solar eclipse during the old age period (Shearing, 1960).
Whichever purpose is that drove its builders; Stonehenge is a powerful site in England that marks as a symbol of heritage and source of revenues. Thousands of tourists flock Stonehenge annually and bask at Stonehenge with a unique connection to their ancestors who built the mysterious structure. However, several dangers face the Stonehenge and might lead to its destruction or make it lose its importance. The first is the number of accommodation facilities around the site. This limits the number of tourists who would wish to visit the site. The highway running close to the Stonehenge is a threat to its survival thus a need to close the road and seclude Stonehenge from geographical mass action effects (Heritage Department, 2011).
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