Female Anatomy Inspired Stonehenge?
Stonehenge Up Close
Feb. 28, 2003 —The design of Stonehenge, the 4,800-year-old monument in southwestern England, was based on female sexual anatomy, according to a paper in the current Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
The theory could explain why the ancients constructed Stonehenge and similar monuments throughout the United Kingdom.
Anthony Perks, a professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of British Colombia in Vancouver, and a doctor at the university's Women's Hospital, first thought of Stonehenge's connection to women after noticing how some of the stones were smooth, while others were left rough.
"It must have taken enormous effort to smooth the stones," Perks, co-author of the journal paper, told Discovery News.
Thinking how estrogen causes a woman's skin to be smoother than a man's, the observation led Perks to further analyze the monument in anatomical terms.
He noticed how the inner stone trilithons were arranged in a more elliptical, or egg-shaped, pattern than a true circle. Comparing the layout with the shape of female sexual organs showed surprising parallels.
Perks believes the labia majora could be represented by the outer stone circle and possibly the outer mound, with the inner circle serving as the labia minora, the altar stone as the clitoris and the empty geometric center outlined by bluestones representing the birth canal.
In support of the theory, the body of a sacrificial child was found buried at the center of the circles at nearby Woodhenge, suggesting both monuments followed similar layouts. Perks even speculates a child's body might lie buried at the center of Stonehenge.
Unlike other mounds in the U.K., very few burials are located around Stonehenge.
"I believe it was meant to be a place of life, not death," said Perks, who thinks Stonehenge overall represents an Earth Mother goddess.
He explained that both western Neolithic cultures and the early Celts believed in such a goddess. Hundreds of figurines representing the idea of an Earth Mother, he said, have been found in Europe. They were created at a time when mortality at birth was high, suggesting Stonehenge could have been used for fertility ceremonies, which may have linked human birth to the birth of plants and animals upon which the people depended.
John David North, professor of philosophy emeritus at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, outlines another theory in his book "Stonehenge: A New Interpretation of Prehistoric Man and the Cosmos." North believes the stones in the monument have precise alignments to stars in the cosmos and that Stonehenge served as an astronomical observatory and a celestial map.
While Perks acknowledges the celestial link, he views it in a different light.
"At Stonehenge you see an arc of sky together with Earth on that open Salisbury Plain," Perks said. "It is as though Father Sun is meeting Earth Mother in an equal way at a place looking towards the future."
Posted by phil
2nd March 2003ce