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Stonehenge and its Environs


The following account of Stonehenge and it's many Barrows comes from 1740:

I COME in the last place to speak of the barrows, observable in great numbers, round Stonehenge. We may very readily count fifty at a time, in sight, from the place; easily distinguishable: but especially in the evening, when the sloping rays of the sun shine on the ground beyond them. These barrows are the artificial ornaments of this vast and open plain. And it is no small entertainment for a curious person, to remark their beauties, their variety in form and magnitude, their situation. They are generally of a very elegant campaniform shape, and done with great nicety. There is likewise a great variety in their shape, and turn, and in their diameters, in their manner of composition. In general, they are always upon elevated ground, and in sight of the temple of Stonehenge. For they all regard it. This shews, they are but superficial inspectors of things, that fancy from hence, great battels on the plain; and that these are the tumultuary burials of the slain. Quite otherwise; they are assuredly, the single sepulchres of kings, and great personages, buried during a considerable space of time, and that in peace. There are many groups of them together, and as family burial places; the variety in them, seems to indicate some note of difference in the persons there interr'd, well known in those ages. Probably the priests and laity were someway distinguish'd; as well as different orders and stations in them. Most of the barrows have little ditches around, extremely well defin'd. In many is a circular ditch 60 cubits in diameter, with a very small tumulus in the center. 60 or even too cubits is a very common diameter in the large barrows. Often, they are set in rows, and equidistant, so as to produce a regular and pretty appearance, and with some particular regard to the parts of the temple, the avenues, or the cursus.
From: Stonehenge, A Temple Restor'd to the British Druids, by William Stukeley
Chance Posted by Chance
31st May 2010ce

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