Stonehenge – Mystery and Myth
When the topics of history and mystery mix, you will usually come to Stonehenge during some part of the conversation. It's inevitable. These stone monuments have caused much speculation over the centuries and have been called one of the wonders of Britain. But do we know the truth or the myth of Stonehenge? What is fact, and what is speculation?
Archaeology dates the Stonehenge site as far back as 3000 B.C. This is the date for the earth structures that make up the majority of the historical site. Most of us know the stone structure as the site, but we do not realize how large the site really is. The famous stones that make up the more visual part only dates to around 2500 B.C and are actually only one of 900 other stone rings in Britain. They are not as unique as we think.
The earth mounds have revealed to us hundreds of burial mounds within them. The site is not just a circle of stones. According to the most recent excavations and analysis, the general conclusion is that Stonehenge began as a burial ground and was mainly used as such throughout the use of the site. Several cremated remains have been unearthed and examined. The body count is over fifty right now and rising as excavations continue.
A Complex Site
The current site of Stonehenge was actually developed over many years and multiple building phases. It was constructed overnight and not haphazardly. Deliberate work was put into it.
The earlier ones included wooden structures that have decayed over the years. Evidence of decayed wood have been found in areas that had been sectioned off.
The third and final phase is the one that was left for us to discover and ponder over. This is the one that is above the surface and grabs our visual eye. It is the icon of Stonehenge.
When Stonehenge was first discovered, it was theorized that the Druids had built the site for their religious ceremonies. Eyewitnesstohistory.com says:
Their history is cloaked in mystery. The ancient Druids were members of the priestly class of the Celtic society that originated in Britain and migrated to what is now central France. The Druids occupied a revered social status among the Celts due to their service to the community as priests, teachers, diviners, and magicians. Two of the significant attributes of the Celtic religion were the veneration of the oak tree and the ritual of human sacrifice in ceremonies supervised by the Druids.
The creative naturalness of the site seemed perfect for Druid worship. It was mysterious and earthy like they were.
This theory was popular for many years until archeologists looked further and realized that the Druids were not around before 300 B.C. Therefore, the Druids could not have been the creators of the Stonehenge. This new evidence does not mean that they did not use the site, but the site was not created specifically for them and by them.
Understanding the site went back to square one.
So, if the Druids did not build it who did and why? Excavations have uncovered a village where it is assumed the builders lived while building the various projects. But still, who were they?
Theories of astronomical use and religious ritual sites have led many of neo-druid following and other astrological and pagan groups to regard Stonehenge as sacred. Many conduct regular pilgrimages to the site. The myths of old claim that Merlin, the legendary wizard, built it long before King Arthur assumed the throne. The stones were to originally have come from Africa by giants and were moved from Ireland at the expense of many Irish lives to England where they were considered to have supernatural healing powers.
The fact that it is shrouded in such mystery only makes it more attractive to people around the globe. The answer to who created could be anybody.
Stonehenge of Today
Today, Stonehenge is surrounded by grassland instead of the original forests of old England. The generally accepted purpose for the site is that it is an elaborate burial ground that over the centuries developed and changed with the people. Whatever the theories that are tossed about and how passionate one may feel about them, the fact that this burial site has created mystery and magic is undeniable. There is something special about these large boulders that were placed with precise intent for a specific purpose.