Stonehenge Essay, Research Paper
17 November 2000
Dr. Ringle, Professor
Stonehenge is without a uncertainty the most interesting memorial in Europe. The ring of rocks standing in the unfastened enormousness of Salisbury Plain is an redolent image of admiration and enigma. ( Scarre, 130 ) Stonehenge is both traditional and alone in Britain colourful history. It is traditional in that it falls within a whole category of memorials characterized by round Bankss and ditches, or by rings of standing rocks. Its singularity is engulfed within the size of the rocks, the complexness of their agreement, and the reconciliation of the headers atop the verticals. There are three other major memorials in Britain, and while they don & # 8217 ; t receive the same consideration as Stonehenge, they excessively entice much examination. While the alone features of Stonehenge merely help to escalate its wonder, the ambiguities of its purpose pose inquiries that today are still non answered. This essay will discourse monumentality as it compares to the four major henge enclosures in Britain. The memorials, viz. Stonehenge, Avebury, Marden, and Durrington Walls, will be used in concurrence with discoursing what purposes memorials can function, every bit good as what the remains of a site can state us about the civilization of a society.
The best-known neighbour of Stonehenge, the Great Circles at Avebury, was built between c. 2,500 and 2,200 BC. Together the two sites illustrate two of import general features of the civilization of the Bronze Age: the big graduated table and self-assured position of adult male & # 8217 ; s relationship with nature and the about frenzied doggedness of a people gripped by an compulsion. ( Castleden, 93 ) The Avebury site consists of 2 immense rock circles within the frame of a larger circle crossing 28 and a half estates. The rocks of Avebury are singular in two ways. They seem to hold been shaped of course with no tooled dressing, such as distinguished the ulterior Stonehenge rocks, and they seem to hold been placed alternately in two basic shapes-tall with perpendicular sides, and wide, diamonded shaped. ( Hawkins, 83 ) It is thought that these two forms symbolized the male and female rules and that their careful choice and alternation show that the builders honored some birthrate cult. It has besides been reasoned that Avebury was the most of import temple meeting topographic point in the country and likely in the whole British Isles, until Stonehenge surpassed it.
The beginning of the immense rock sarsens was site 17 stat mis south of Avebury. Although they were already formed for the most portion, they were half buried in dirt, so the first undertaking was to pry them out onto sleighs utilizing timber beams. Inventiveness of this quality indicates the efficiency of the idea processes involved with the building of Avebury. Even factors like clash were taken into history.
The big round earthwork situated North of the town of Amesbury in south Wiltshire, England has been one of the more ignored prehistoric memorials, overshadowed
by the ocular impact of Stonehenge. A prehistoric ceremonial circle, Durrington Walls was likely formed during the last glacial episode, between approximately 30,000 to 50,000 old ages ago.
The bank that Durrington Walls is built on Tells us much about the land in that portion of Britain. On the top of the dirt and penetrating for a distance of about 7 centimeter is a rich but localised sedimentation of garbage which produced clayware of earlier Neolithic type, flints, castanetss, and wood coal. ( Wainwright, 54 ) These points produced a carbon 14 day of the month of 2450 BC. The environmental grounds, based on an probe of the dirt profile preserved beneath the bank of the enclosure and on an analysis of land snails and pollen from the dirts, demonstrates a distinguishable stage of prehistoric forest clearance and possible cultivation prior to the building of the enclosure. ( Wainwright, 54 )
The find of more clayware, rock tools, bone, and antler provides much insight as to what resources were available to husbandmans and builders of this period. Their copiousness and distribution, particularly in the ditches environing the Walls demonstrates how tools were normally used and discarded. The changing sum of artefacts found at different locations denotes that supplies were non ever in such copiousness that they could ever be discarded at will. It is clear that the attempt represented in the building of Avebury implies a society sufficiently stable, comfortable, and richly motivated for the undertaking to hold been undertaken.
Woodhenge, as the name implies, is slightly of a by-product of Stonehenge. Liing about two stat mis north-east of Stonehenge, it was originally a round country approximately 200 pess in diameter. The interior of this lumber construction consisted of post holes that held the beams that supported the dome-like roof. While its intent is still problematic, changing thoughts include a impermanent barrack for the workers who were constructing Stonehenge, or perchance it was Stonehenge ; that is until the existent Stonehenge was to the full erected.
Following the diggings at Durrington Walls in 1976, Woodhenge was of peculiar involvement to those who were researching into the archeology and environment of henge enclosures in southern England around 2000 BC. First, the relationship of Woodhenge to the comparable lumber construction excavated at Durrington Walls was unknown, but could be clarified by carbon 14 day of the months. Second, it was clearly desirable to obtain dirt samples for molluscan analysis from the fossil beneath the bank and from the ditch. This provided information associating to the environment of the clip, which could be compared with that from Durrington Walls. ( Wainwright, 107 ) The Mollusca from the fossil dirt beneath the enclosure bank indicated an early forest environment followed by a forest clearance stage. Finally, there was a period of dry grassland when the environment was free of wooded flora. While the continuance of this rhythm can non be determined once and for all, cognizing little pieces of information about what went on continues to help scientists and archeologists in painting a image of the yesteryear.