Essay, Research Paper: Stonehenge

Architecture

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Despite the many purposes it seems to serve, Stonehenge is still the embodiment
of mystery for most of the world. Some believe that its purpose was to be used
as an astronomical observatory. Others think that it was used as a religious
meeting center for the Druids. However, no one has been able to prove its true
meaning and existence. Stonehenge is believed to have been built in three main
periods. The first took place between 3100 and 2700 B. C. This part of the
construction consisted of building a huge ditch around the area in which
Stonehenge was to be built (Castleden 1). This ditch was 320 ft. in diameter
with a broken area in which the entrance is located. Just inside the ditch 56
holes were dug equal distance from each other. These holes were then filled with
chalk rubble, but some of the holes were filled with the bones of cremated human
beings. These holes were called the Aubrey holes after their discoverer John
Aubrey. To the northeast of the ditch a 16ft. tall heel stone was erected (Brown
751). The second phase of the building is non-existent to this day (Warwick and
Trump I t can however be inferred by to holes known as the “Q” and “R”
holes. The two holes form a double circle around the monument. It was originally
filled with 38 blue stones. Also during this building phase two ditches were dug
parallel to each other. The two ditches go outward from the entrance. This part
of the building process is believed to be unfinished. This thought is due to the
fact that some holes are missing in the double circles (Brown 751). The third
phase in building is the most spectacular of all the phases. This is because of
the 100ft. Circle that is filled with 30 sarsen stone columns which weighs 25
tons separately. A continuous circle of lintel stones held in place by mortise
and tenon joints tops them off. Inside the circle is the holes known as the
“X” and “Y” holes. Also inside are a small horseshoe shape of
bluestones. The largest bluestone is called the altar stone. This altar
stone’s original location and meaning is unknown. It now lies under two fallen
trilithon stone. The builders of this age of Stonehenge are the Wessex culture
of the early Bronze Age (Brown 752). Those who constructed Stonehenge may never
be known. There are many myths and legends as to who really built the huge
monument. On such myth is that the great magician Merlin built Stonehenge. This
was claimed in the book History of the Kings of Britains written by Geoffrey of
Monmouth. According to Geoffrey the huge stones were taken from Ireland and
moved to England where they were marked as a burial ground for slain British
princes. This monument was set up by King Ambrosius. He sent for Merlin to give
him a monument. Merlin suggested the “Dance of the Giants” in Ireland.
However the Irish were not going to give up their monument without a fight. They
had set up an army to defend the giant monument from King Ambrosius’s army of
soldiers sent to fetch the monument. The British defeated the Irish but could
not budge the giant stones in any way, shape, or form. Merlin, however, could.
He came to their rescue and moved the stones with the greatest of ease. This
story was a good explanation to all medieval believers. Outline I. Construction
A. Phases 1. Period I 2. Period II 3. Period III B. Builders 1. Celts and Druids
2. Merlin and King Ambrossius II. Purpose A. Solstice Calendar B. Druids
Meetings C. Astronomical Events III. Feeling toward Stonehenge A. Peoples
Feelings Then B. Peoples Feelings now

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