The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Circle henge


Not a fortress, or a temple, or a calendar. Stonehenge was a hospital

"By the agrarian revolution of the third millennium BC Stonehenge was already an important site, but its extension about 2300BC was clearly intended by its guardians to make it a major pilgrimage attraction. This needed some sensational draw, and what could be more sensational than a henge composed of the fabled Preseli bluestones, fount of a hundred holy wells? It was worth any Olympian expense.

The medieval historian Geoffrey of Monmouth told of a belief in the healing power of Stonehenge's stones, brought by Arthur's magician, Merlin, "from Ireland", where stones have long had magic properties. Geoffrey's stories are ridiculed, but his folk memory might contain a grain of truth. Could the appeal of the bluestones lie not in ancestor worship or astronomical ritual but in the power these objects were thought to hold back in Preseli? In his new book, Stonehenge: Biography of a Landscape, Darvill points out that the arrangement of the stones at Stonehenge even reflects their geological location back in Wales."

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Littlestone Posted by Littlestone
2nd December 2006ce

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