Monday, January 14, 2013

Mysterious Monday: Standing Stones

Who here hasn’t heard of Stonehenge? If you’re past the age of 18 and haven’t heard of it, raise your hand so I can slap the back of your head (not an NCIS reference—I was doing this to dissuade moronic behavior long before Mark Harmon did it on the screen). Most adults have heard of Stonehenge, unless they’ve been living under a rock somewhere NOT on the Salisbury Plain. But did you know that Stonehenge is only the most famous of a group whose members number into the thousands?

Photo by mottie33, found at the Stock Exchange

There are mysteries aplenty surrounding these stone circles—who built them? When were they built? How were they built and to what purpose?

Research suggests that from the early Neolithic Age on into the Bronze Age, man was erecting these circles all over Europe and the British Isles. Since the Bronze Age predates the Roman Empire by thousands of years, whoever built these was not only at least as advanced as the people that most of us consider to be one of the most “modern” of the early peoples, but they may have even had more “technology” than the Romans. So who was it? Was it aliens? Was it giants? Nephalim or their daddies, the angels? Ancient gods perhaps? Or was it just a group of ingenious ancestors? Or a neat-freak glacier, arranging the large bits of stone it left behind as it receded back to the Arctic Circle?

The burning question of why remains floating in the air, too. At most archaeological sites, one can expect to find pottery, jewelry, bones—signs of occupation. Any of these signs found at the stone circles is from later peoples, not from the builders. So what was the purpose of these circles? Were they landing beacons for ancient aliens? Places of worship for our ancestors? Super-computer calendars that kept track of the weather for an agrarian society? Or were our great-great-great-(keep going) grandparents messing with their descendents? “Watch this. We’ll put up a big circle of stones. It’ll drive ‘em nuts trying to figure out why. Hehehe. ‘Borrow’ my ox, will you, and bring it back exhausted?”

That’s one heck of a prank, though. How could humans who used stone and relatively soft metals have cut and transported and shaped these enormous stones into circles? The stones of Stonehenge weigh between a light 4 tons all the way up to 40 tons. Think of this as some guy in an animal pelt with a stone ax trying to move an average sized pick-up truck that’s been compacted--and that's the smallest one. Sure, the fella’s not going to move it on his own—he’s going to drag his pals in with promises of pizza and beer—but still… When you consider the average male was anywhere from an average of 5’3” to 5’6”, that’s quite a feat.

It amazes me how every time I read an article about any of these circles, I am left with more questions than answers. Why are they found predominantly in Europe and the British Isles? And did the same people who built these European and British circles build the scattered ones found in other parts of the world? Was it the ancient Celts or perhaps the survivors of Atlantis?

What do you think? Have you ever seen one of these circles up close and in person? Is it on your “must travel to” list? Personally, I have never seen Stonehenge, although I visited England for a short time (literally was there for like three days visiting my then-fiancé, who refused to drive me there as it was “too far away” from his flat outside London).    


Alicia Coleman said...

Intriguing post, Lynne. Like you, I have all kind of questions--when? why? who? how? 'Course, I go with the prank reason myself.

Lynne Kensington said...

Now that I'm a parent, I could see that prank happening. Hubby bought a book a while back, something to do with cheap psychological tricks to play on your kids. :P

Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to see Stonehenge but, alas, have never been there. A friend of mine went several years ago and took amazing photos. I believe I would feel incredibly "small" standing in the shadow of those mammoth stones. There are some great documentaries out there on the subject. Great post that conjures all manner of speculation!

Lynne Kensington said...

Thanks, Mae! In my WIP, Quantum Kiss, standing stone rings are a source of magical and sometimes scientific power. My rings are in the northeast of the U.S., where I have heard there are many stone rings and monoliths and dolmens, but I would love to see Stonehenge, as well. Seven more years until the youngest boy graduates! :D