A Study of Stonehenge

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A Study of Stonehenge




A Study of Stonehenge
I. Introduction
Significance of the study
Statement of the problem
II. Stonehenge Facts
A. Location
B. Materials Used and Structure
C. Stonehenge Today
III. The History of the Stonehenge
A. Myths and Legends
B. Mysteries
C. Wonder of the World?
IV. Conclusion

I. Introduction
No place has generated so much speculation and wild theories as the standing stones of
Stonehenge. After traveling for miles through the rolling hills and plains of the English
countryside the sight of this unusual structure made me gasp. A walk around it only
provoked more strange feelings. There's a sense that this is something very important. For
over 5000 years it has stood silent vigil over the earth. It has been excavated, x-rayed,
measured, and surveyed. Yet despite all that has been learned about its age and
construction, its purpose still remains one of the great mysteries of the world. What
truth lies in those massive stone rings? And why do I even bother to learn about it? From
my experience of actually coming face to face with Stonehenge, I felt a sense of great
intrigue; words cannot describe how I felt that day. It taunted me with its mystery. I
may never know the full truth about it, but I think that my study is important because I
will fully understand how the Stonehenge has influenced the present, as it is one of the
ties to the history of humanity and I believe that it deserves respect. Stonehenge is
surely Britain's greatest national icon, symbolizing mystery, power, and endurance. Its
original purpose is unclear, but some have speculated that it was a temple made for
worship of ancient earth deities. It has been called an astronomical observatory for
marking significant events on the prehistoric calendar. Others claim that it was a sacred
site for the burial of high-ranking citizens from societies of long ago.

While I can't say with any degree of certainty what it was for, we can say that it wasn't
constructed for any casual purpose. Only something very important to the ancients would
have been worth the effort and investment that it took to construct Stonehenge. I believe
with all the information I have gathered I can only ask myself this question:

II. Stonehenge Facts
A. Location
It is located about 18.5 miles (30 km) south of the Avebury site and 8 miles (13 km)
northwest of Salisbury, in Wiltshire, England.

B. Materials Used and Structure
Its general architecture has also been subjected to centuries of weathering. The monument
consists of a number of structural elements, mostly circular in plan. On the outside is a
circular ditch, with a bank immediately within it, all interrupted by an entrance gap on
the northeast, leading to a straight path called the Avenue. At the center of the circle
is a stone setting consisting of a horseshoe of tall uprights of sarsen (Tertiary
sandstone) encircled by a ring of tall sarsen uprights, all originally capped by
horizontal sarsen stones in a post-and-lintel arrangement. Within the sarsen stone circle
were also configurations of smaller and lighter bluestones (igneous rock of diabase,
rhyolite, and volcanic ash), but most of these bluestones have disappeared. Additional
stones include the Altar Stone, the Slaughter Stone, the Heel Stone, and the Station
stones, and the last standing on the Avenue outside the entrance.

Here is an idea of their arrangement:
The Altar Stone is one of the most unique stones in Stonehenge. It is a 5-meter block of
dressed green sandstone located near the center, embedded 15 feet within the great central
sarsen trilithon. All of the other stones in Stonehenge are either composed of sarsen or
bluestone.


The Slaughter Stone is another unique stone. It is one of two stones at the entranceway,
the Slaughter Stone being the more easterly of the two. It is in fact 21 feet long, but it
is sunken so deep that only the upper surface shows. It was originally placed upright.

The Heel Stone is a stone which is not located in the main circle. It was named by John
Aubrey for the "heel shaped dent", which relates to the legend that the Devil threw the
stone at the Friar's heel, which dented the stone. Heel Shaped Dent is in quotation marks
because experts on Stonehenge have never found such an indention in the stone.

The Four station stones lie just inside the embankment, approximately in line with the
Aubrey Holes . They were erected during Phase III. Lines connecting the stones opposite
each other will intersect at the very center of the monument at an angle of 45 degrees and
are symmetrical with respect to the main axis.

Small circular ditches enclose two flat areas on the inner edge of the bank, known as the
North and South barrows, with empty stone holes at their centers.

The Aubrey Holes was named after John Aubrey, circle around the "Y" and "Z" holes. They
were first noticed by Aubrey, and thus carry his name. They consist of small, barely
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