To this day, modern scientists and historians are baffled at the architectural feat that is, Stonehenge. Neolithic tribes in England moved these colossal stones, before the wheel was invented, in 3100 B.C. How?
We truly don't know for certain how these were built, or why. But with modern day technology and centuries old lore and ancient civilization history, we have some pretty good guesses.
We would most likely have all of these answers, and answers about our origins and other ancient wonders throughout Europe and the mediterranean, although one of the greatest travesties in human history happened.
In somewhere around 50 B.C. Julius Cesar attacked the great city of Alexandria, Egypt. At the time, Alexandria was the largest learning center in the world. We have estimated that it contained anywhere from 40,000 - 400,000 ancient scrolls all having recorded history since writing was invented, and further.
Unfortunately, in the siege, Cesars armies set fire to the city, accidentally destroying the library and nearly all recorded text of the time. Being only 75 miles from the pyramids of Giza, it probably contained the secrets that built them.
Who knows how much further along we would be today if those records had been recovered and used by the Roman empire?
Of the most peculiar things about Stonehenge, is not just the size of the rocks that make up the circle, but where they came from.
The 2 types of stones that make up Stonehenge are Bluestones, and Sarsens. The bluestones are approximatly 3-4 tons each, and came from a stone outcropping called Carn Meini in Wales, England.
The Sarsen stones originated from Marlborough Downs, 20 miles away from Stonehenge. They weigh around 25-35 tons, the largest one, the Heed Stone, being about 45 tons.
Historians suggest that it may have taken over a century to build, and took the dedication of several rulers from possibly the same royal family.
The technique is simple, and the same throughout the entire circle.
They dug a hole, pulled the slab into the hole, and carved almost jig-saw like shapes on the stones to keep them connected to eachother.
Not only is the design unique for the era, but the precision is near impeccable. Which would be a feat to accomplish even today, considering its not built on flat ground.
There's also something else special about the construction. Looking at Stonehenge head-on, you can see the sun rising perfectly between the center sarsens on the summer solstice. And, not only that, but the other end lines up perfectly with the sun on the sunset of the winter solstice.
Archaeologists have found ancient burial holes filled with cremated remains, including ashes and bones. They've found an estimated 60 people buried there, them all being older males. Historians also think it may have been a burial site for a royal bloodline, as well as a festival location to celebrate the summer solstice.
Here's where it gets weird. Coincidentally, or maybe not, the road leading up to Stonehenge is not a road at all. Its thought to have been carved into the earth by snow and rain runoff thousands of years ago, according to the geology of it. Archaeologists just know for certain that It wasn't dug out originally the tribesmen. They just enhanced the road by putting hills on the edges and defining the path, and later extending it all the way to the river of Avon.
But if its not man-made, how could it possibly point to the exact location where the sun rises on the summer solstice? Why did the Neolithics of England choose to build their most sacred monument just after the ancient 'riverbed' ends?
If you ask me, I think its just where an alien space ship crash landed...
Nobody really knows how they moved these behemoth rocks with primitive technology. The problem is, they didn't even have wheels. They hadn't been invented yet.
As previously stated, The smaller bluestones weigh 3-4 tons, the sarsen stones (The big ones) weigh anywhere from 25-35 tons, while the largest stone, the Heed stone, weighs an estimated 45 tons.
To put that in perspective, 45 tons is over half the weight of the space shuttle, or approximately 30 cars.
Archaeologists have hypothesized that the neolithic people had to get fairly creative with their transportation, considering they only had stone and wood available.
Moving just a bluestone would be the equivalent of moving 2 cars, without wheels, 150 miles, using only sticks and stones.
One technique that may have been used was continually putting logs in front of and keeping it rolling. But, that of course would become an issue when trying to go downhill and uphill or through swamps and rock fields.
Another way could be using sleds made out of wood, pulled by hundreds of people.
Its thought that they had primitive seafaring technology, though its not likely that they were able to build something so advanced as to hold tons of stone across the Bristol channel without it sinking.
Stonehenge has a sister circle just a mile and a half north of it called Durrington Walls. Now the circle is empty, and contains no rocks or stones, only holes. Except, these holes never had rocks in them.
Scientists have discovered by testing the soil that each hole, had a tree log in it around 6ft tall. It also is in a circle, the same exact size as Stonehenge. Something else they have in common, is that they both have roads leading directly to the river of Avon.
Another theory from archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson suggests that the wooded forest of Durrington and the stone outcropping of Stonehenge have different, yet connected meanings.
Pearson studied ancient traditional burial techniques and traditions in Madagascar from the local tribesmen. To them, wood and other organic matter were elements of the living. And rock and stone are the element of the dead. Stone being eternal, and wood being organic matter that can break down over time.
Its possible that they thought their dead needed to travel from the memorial of the living at Durrington Walls, through the river, and to the memorial of the dead at Stonehenge to complete the passage to the next life.
Supporting facts include that house foundations were found at Durrington walls, and primitive artifacts that give signs to people staying there for prolonged periods of time. They have found old animal bones, with meat still left on the bone as if they had been slaughtered and eaten. Also, both memorials are connected to the river, and both circles are the exact same size.
Unfortunately, we'll never know the true reasons or methods behind the creation of Stonehenge or Durrington Walls. But, the closest we can get to seeing the original wonder of the ancient world is by purchasing a Stonehenge Model Kit on Amazon to re-create what it would have looked like in all its glory!
Hi, I'm Michael from ArcLight. I've been writing casually for 5 years now, including writing and directing several theatrical plays produced in my hometown. I've been working for ArcLight for a little over a year and couldn't be happier. I love facts, history, science and writing. This blog will explain the ins and outs of the company, the industry, and even the folk-lore behind burials and cemeteries.