Stonehenge: Monmouth May Have Got it Right
An ancient myth about Stonehenge, first recorded 900 years ago, tells of the wizard Merlin leading men to Ireland to capture a magical stone circle called the Giants’ Dance and rebuilding it in England as a memorial to the dead. Geoffrey of Monmouth’s account had been dismissed, partly because he was wrong on other historical facts, although the bluestones of the monument came from a region of Wales that was considered Irish territory in his day. Now a vast stone circle created by our Neolithic ancestors has been discovered in Wales with features suggesting that the 12th-century legend may not be complete fantasy. Its diameter of 110 metres is identical…
1867 Stonehenge Pictures
The image above, which was recently made public by the photo research company TimePix, is from 1867, and is part of the first known photographic sequence ever taken of Stonehenge. (There are older individual photographs, in the Royal Collection.) It’s from a book called Plans and Photographs of Stonehenge, released by the U.K.’s Ordnance Survey and written by the department head, Colonel Henry James.
From Kings to Bowmen
I’m pleased to see that Wessex Archaeology have stopped pushing the idea that the ancient remains of archers found near Stonehenge are the “Kings of Stonehenge.” The Boscombe Bowmen is a much better description.
Stonehenge, Lasers, and Axes
Various carvings of knives and axes, the usual lattice and ring-and-cup designs have been known to exist on several of the stones at Stonehenge since the early 1950s. But recently Wessex Archaeology archaeologists used a high-end Minolta scanner to scan one of the uprights. Their scans, enhanced, appear to reveal two axe heads, of the sort seen on stones in Scotland. I can’t see it myself, but you can read about it in the November issue of British Archaeology or on this site.
More Bronze Age Graves at Amebury
Remember the Bronze age archer found in Ambury, near Stonehenge? Wessex Archaeology has found six more bodies in the same general area. The radio carbon dating hasn’t been announced yet, but the archaeologists estimate that the bodies are from about 2300 B.C.E. That’s roughly between the end of the Stone age, and the start of the Bronze age. While this grave, which appears to have been closed then reopened for the inclusion of additional bodies, is not as rich in grave goods as that of the archer, the grave does contain four pots in the style associated with the Beaker Culture that flourished during the Bronze Age, some flint tools,…
A Circle of Stones
According to AP, by way of Yahoo, Professor Judith S. Young, Department of Astronomy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has built a sun circle, a celestial computer along the lines of Stonehenge, or Avebury. I’ve taken pains to point out elsewhere that Stonehenge, like Avebury, or the passage tomb at Brugh Na Boine (that’s Newgrange, Ireland to you), wasn’t built by the Celts (its earliest stage predates their arrival in Britain by over a thousand years) but Stonehenge and other megalithic monuments are too deeply entrenched with things druidic and Celtic in the popular imagination to ever be disassociated. Stonehenge looms large in our imaginations—even though Averbury—the largest such circle in…