The Secret behind Stonehenge: Evidence, Hypotheses, and Upcoming Truths
Stonehenge is hidden its mysteries somewhere. Stonehenge situated in the middle of Wiltshire, England is formed with a ring of tremendous stones that was made back from 3000 BC. Due to its peculiar structure, researchers have tried their best but unacknowledged to these mysterious stones of how somebody could transport such tremendous stones to this out of nowhere, who decided to do this construction with the view to doing for what purposes? These unanswered questions are still on the way to be revealed by the researchers.
Researchers from the scientific community around the world made research to reveal the evidence that led to their answers about Stonehenge. Stay tuned while reading this Stonehenge’s mysterious background, the hypotheses the researchers made about the secrets behind this peculiar structure, including the upcoming findings may blow your mind.
Stonehenge Took Over 1,000 Years to Build
The formation of the stone monuments Stonehenge created from 5,000 years during the Neolithic Age is still existed for 12000 years up to now. To create this construction, it took more than 1000 years and several laborers to construct this stone monument. People nowadays do not know how all the laborers can lift these gigantic stones and form this peculiar stone ring.
Experts in the scientific community hypothesized through researching that the monument's laborers began to construct by observing the landscape's banks. When finishing doing that, the builders started digging holes and adding wooden stakes to keep the construction stable. When wooden stakes decayed after decades, the ancient builders solved the solution by replacing those wooden posts with tremendous stones to continue existing in the future. Unfortunately, a few original pieces from Stonehenge remain after decayed up to now. Some go missing, while others have been heavily damaged.
The First Construction Phase
Stonehenge created with six stone construction stages. Firstly, the first builders began the first construction phase of Stonehenge by digging a 330 meters circular ditch alongside an inner and a small outer bank around 3000 BC ago. During this phase, the builders kept on digging and building around the surface to create two entrances for Stonehenge: a big one on the northeast side and a smaller one from the south side for future usages.
The laborers of the Stonehenge continued digging more 56 pits at the heart of the inner band that is called Aubrey holes, named after John Aubrey found it in 1666. Up to now, all of the experts in the scientific community are still finding the reason why the people did that. They might believe that the Heel Stone was erected during the first stage of Stonehenge.
The Final Construction Phases
When the first phase had finished, they began their second phase. The builders began to add the wooden stakes to the ground on the northeast entrance back to around 2640 BC. It was until the second phase finished that the third phase continued to form the construction of Stonehenge's view almost like today. During the third stage, the builders continued adding to the ground more standing stones to set up Stonehenge’s natural formation with the view to taking its shape of a ring.
Next is the fourth phase, the builders had added about 30 standing stones to the ground to form an outer circle, and five more stones to take shape of a horseshoe that was placed inside the 30 stone monument. Then, they created another ring at the heart of the horseshoe.
It was until about 2030 BC that the fifth and sixth Stonehenge's stage takes its action. While these phases occurred, the laborers continued digging and adding more stakes to create two more rings of holes around the stone rings that had finished constructing.
Creators Used Simple Tools to Build Stonehenge
The ways and the primitive facilities they used for the construction were obsolete and simple due to poor development. According to newspapers in the UK called Daily Mail, their rudimentary tools were just deer antlers and simple pulley systems. Due to its demerits of poor facilities, it took a long time for the builder to finish its formation nowadays. Unlike in the past, people now can lift those tremendous stones using a crane or forklift to move the stones easily. This has led the Stonehenge to become more magnificent than ever.
To stick the stones into the ground, the builders had dug several ditches, including a sloping side to be the base of the stones. Next, the builders used the simple pulley systems made from plant fiber ropes and strong timber poles to lift the stones. The help of weights and gravities kept the stones from standing while being pulled into the holes. Stonehenge's construction added the holes with rubble and rocks to make sure the stones to be in the right positions.
Stonehenge United the Descendants of the Neolithic Britons
While the Stonehenge's people were native from the British Isles, or Neolithic Britons, their ancestors had made a blueprint of the Stonehenge's completed construction around 5000 years ago. They passed down their prototype to their descendants to continue building their precious legacy of Stonehenge's construction. This hypothesis has revealed several secrets behind the Stonehenge's construction through uncovered artifacts, tools, and bones.
Researchers believe that the laborers moving the bluestones were the upper crust from the high-class society. The experts from the Stonehenge's construction research also theorized that the society celebrated their achievements by holding gigantic feasts after having moved the bluestones into its right position.
Parts of Stonehenge Are Missing
After Stonehenge's stone monument finished constructing and existed for long decades, experts in the scientific community made research and found that pieces of Stonehenge had been missing since the time of completion. At the time of finishing the construction, the center of Stonehenge is to consist of an oval with several 30 smaller stones. However, many of those stones that are from the oval's formation have gone astray. All five stone’ rings made for Stonehenge’s construction, only three remain to these days. In the outer circular stone from Stonehenge's monument, two tremendous stones are out of place.
After being existed for donkey's years, stones that are remained up to now have been heavily damaged because of the weather conditions. From the Stonehenge's construction stage, the builders built two entrances also made of stones. Nowadays, there are more gaps but no entrances in the Stonehenge's outer ring.
As the Stonehenge only has some stones remaining until now and damaged for being here for more than 4000 years, experts have tried to renew the original form of the Stonehenge, but they face up to several dilemmas when doing so.
Where Did the Stones Come From?
The material to build the construction is made from rudimentary material like stone instead of metals. The stone's material to construct the monument divides into two types: bluestones and sarsen stones. Sarsen stones helping in building Stonehenge's construction were found in the nearby Marlborough Downs of Wiltshire. These stones can also be in Berkshire, Essex, Oxfordshire, Dorset, and Hampshire. The rest material called bluestones also helping Stonehenge's construction is found in Stonehenge originated in Wales taking over 200 miles away.
Through research, the experts have hypothesized that the bluestones in from Wales were added to the construction lastly after the sarsen stones were in their right positions. Archaeologists that are from Stonehenge's research Timothy Darvill explained that the builders of Stonehenge used the local material all along, then they transported the stones from Wales to make a combination of sarsen stones and bluestones to create the complexity of the Stonehenge's construction to look more incredible.
Fun Fact: They called it bluestones because they will turn blue when being broken or wet due to the outside forces.
Sarsen Stones Weigh 25 Tons Apiece
Challenges arrived at the Stonehenge's construction works as the materials are heavy that humans can hardly carry it all. Sarsen stones are the materials that are much heavier than bluestones so experts cannot believe that humans can carry them up to Stonehenge's position. Sarsen stones weigh an average of 25 tons and some can be up to 30 feet tall that no one can easily lift it.
The Heel Stone, which is the most gigantic stone at the Stonehenge, weighs up to 30 tons more than sarsen stones. If you cannot imagine how big it is, then reach the Stonehenge's visitor center to feast your eyes on the original prototype of sarsen stone.
Unlike the sarsen stones, bluestones are much smaller which weigh only 4 tons but it can be a challenge for Stonehenge's builders, too. Although the average bluestone is less heavy than the sarsen ones, they are also still very heavy according to the builders' belief. Because of that, many experts are curious about how the Neolithic Britons carry those heavy stones for 200 miles without facing up to a lot of challenges.
How Did the Giant Stones Get There?
The mystery is how the builders of Stonehenge's construction can move the tremendous stones from 200 miles to their right positions site. Because of the size and weight of the stones, the experts still believe that there is something that helped the Stonehenge's builder. The answers to this mystery still are not yet found, and hypotheses are born.
Their theory is that the builders moved tremendous stones using only rudimentary tools they had in the past. They moved the heavy stones to the Bristol Channel by sleds and rafts, then put it into the river bank and let it float to Stonehenge's construction. A member taking part in the Stonehenge Riverside Project named Josh Pollard explained that they did research and knew where those standing stones were from, then being transported to Stonehenge due to its evidence of movement.
Geologists Think Glaciers Moved the Massive Stones
Another hypothesis that the experts made that the builder from Stonehenge's construction didn't transport bluestones in Wales directly. Earth scientist named Dr. Brian John thought that the movement of ice glaciers had lent a helping hand for the builders to remove the bluestones to the construction all thanks to the Ice Age. The results were that the builders used nearby stones for Stonehenge's monument.
The Earth Scientist John also thought that there were not enough suitable standing stones at a time for the builders to finish Stonehenge's construction and left it unfinished. He also estimated that stone monuments in the United Kingdom also have the same situations and patterns as Stonehenge which gathers local stones instead of somewhere else. However, It was just his hypotheses according to his thought that makes several experts in the scientific community that disagrees with his hypotheses with inadequate evidence.
Did Aliens Build Stonehenge?
There are peculiar hypotheses that Alien was one of those who took responsibility in the construction. A Swiss author named Erich von Däniken had made a declamation that aliens built Stonehenge with the view to using Stonehenge as their landing pad on Earth. His belief in UFO led to his hypothesis that alien is the reason why those heavy stones could be transported at a considerable distance.
Through the Stonehenge’s research, researchers proved that human's strength could carry those massive stones with their obsolete tools available from that time and have succeeded in debunking to the alien and UFO's theories from Däniken. Moreover, Däniken’s alien hypothesis also inadequate evidence due to its nonexistence to this world. According to experts' views, Stonehenge monument was created by the builders to give great respect to the magical stars above.
The Popular Devil Theory
Besides that, there is also still one of the most bizarre and peculiar hypotheses that are based on Christian theology. The theory claimed that the devil was the one that helped the human to arrange all the standing stones in Stonehenge's construction. After having read this theory, you may sound like "What the fudge?" or "Unbelievable!!" and stay tuned as we will tell you about how people can make such an unbelievable hypothesis about how the devil supposed to arrange the stones.
According to myths coming from Christian, a devil suddenly dropped one of the stones at a friar, and then it stuck to the friar's heel. This myth made several historians curious and conclude that this specific stone was called the "Heel Stone". After the Heel hit the ground, it remained staying there for good without decaying. Although some people are superstitious and still believe in devils and gods, this supernatural hypothesis isn't proven and debunked by the experts due to its inadequate evidence.
Stonehenge Is Featured in Arthurian Legend
Another hypothesis from an Arthurian legend revealed the reason why Stonehenge's construction existed. According to an Arthurian story, Merlin used his magic to transport the tremendous stones from Mount Killaraus in Ireland to create Stonehenge. According to “Historia Regum Britanniae” published by Geoffrey of Monmouth, the King named Aureoles Ambrosias asked Merlin to bury all Britain's slaughtered upper crusts. Merlin said that he should prepare for him an army to collect his magical stones in Ireland. Ancient giants were known to be the creator of the stone or the Giants’ Rings.
After the soldiers arrived in Ireland, they had to fall out with the Irish to get the magical stones. Finally, the soldiers had won their battle but couldn't pick up the stones due to its heavyweight size. Merlin helped the soldiers to bring his magical stones by using his powers to transport the stones onto the soldiers' ships back to England. Many people who believed in Merlin still think his story was convincing.
Stonehenge Initially Served As a Cremation Site
While doing Stonehenge's excavation, archaeologists found more than 50,000 incinerated human bone's remnants at the Stonehenge. Due to its fact, they theorized that Stonehenge was once the area where ancient people used it as a massive cremation human body. The archeologists also found incinerated remnants which were once belonged to 63 individual people in ancient times.
Archeologists found several human bones that were once cremated in the ring of pits from the beginning phases of the Stonehenge's stone monument. They also estimated that the remnants of the cremation existed back to the time of 3000 BC. Ancient builders used bluestone to position into a tremendous circle to mark the gravels to be easily recognized. Because of these hypotheses, the archeologist Pearson has a belief that Stonehenge used to be a circular graveyard for the ancient human bone cremations for nearly 200 years.
Many Researchers Agree That Stonehenge Was a Burial Ground
Because of Stonehenge's peculiar existence, experts cannot concur with the reason why the Stonehenge existed for donkey's year, and the minority of people whose answers were that it was known as the burial and cremated ground for the ancient deceased in the past are convincing. The Stonehenge used to be the place for more than 200 deceased people for decades. However, experts cannot know why Stonehenge needs to be the place for the deceased in the first place.
Some cremations of human bone were estimated to have remained up to now that was dated back from 500 years to 3000 BC. Researchers from the Stonehenge's excavation had unearthed human bone remnants of women, men, children, not to mention a newborn baby at the Stonehenge. The archeologists from the excavation named Mike Pitts told that he thought the entire historical things in Stonehenge's monument was likely to happen with death and burial.
Were Elite Families Buried at Stonehenge?
While doing Stonehenge's excavation, the archeologists' team removed the skeletons but then they had returned them to Stonehenge in 1935 due to its uselessness. The researchers also presumed that the remnants of cremation only belonged to men instead of women and children. Because of that, the archeologist's team went back to Stonehenge again and did another excavation in 2013. Finally, they found and learned new things that the remnants of the human bones came from not only men but also women and even children.
From one of the burial sites, archeologists have a belief that they had found a piece of equipment called a bowl to burn incense for the death. Besides the bowl, they also found other commonplace equipment like a mace head. Moreover, researchers kept on their works of speculating these skeletons and found out that they might associate with spiritual and administrative captain of the time.
A Place to Celebrate the Astronomical Calendar
Another hypothesis about Stonehenge's construction is that it associates with astronomy somehow. It is believed that the sun invariably rises over the Heel Stone on June 21 annually from the summer solstice. Because the Heel Stone is to align with the sunrise directly during the summer solstice, researchers theorized that it connect something to the study field of the stars, which is so-called the field of astronomy while observing its movements from the Heel Stone in Stonehenge’s.
Some experts also believed that the prehistoric community honored their celebrations of the winter solstice at Stonehenge. When the sun started to set over the Heel Stone in Stonehenge on December 22, the archeologists' team has finally found out pieces of evidence that the people in Stonehenge's region gathered together and killed pigs both in December and January for making a tremendous meal with the view to holding a celebration feasts for the mid-winter to hope for a better season.
Some Researchers Believe Stonehenge Was a Site for Healing
Another hypothesis strongly implied that Stonehenge was the place for people to heal their wounds. Some archeologists from the Stonehenge's project found evidence that sick people visited the Stonehenge's monument to seek a cure for themselves. They came to this conclusion after they found skeletons' remnants that are under bad conditions with illnesses and injuries. While doing skeletons' excavations, the researchers found one of the remnants from human bones that had signs of having suffered from a broken kneecap and a dangerous abscess in his jaw.
Those superstitious people had believed that the bluestones situated in Wales had power which can be the healing method for those who had incurable diseases. Through the eroded bluestones in Stonehenge, the researchers thought that the ancient people and visitors tried to look for magical charms with the power of healing diseases. Two of the archaeologists from the project team named Timothy Darvill and Geoffrey Wainwright believed that new findings finally confirmed that Stonehenge was the place to find their lucks.
The Stones Hold Acoustic Properties
Have you ever tried to screaming in no-people lecture halls to hear back your echos sounds? Then Stonehenge will be a legendary place for you. According to experts, they said that the Stonehenge's stones created with the similar conditions to keep the acoustic sounds clearer than ever. Bruno Fazenda who is the researchers coming from the University of Salford in the United Kingdom told the sound from Stonehenge's environment will change its tone somehow when we reached the middle of the Stonehenge.
Some researchers made a sound description to be known as a nonstop repeated echo, which is also called a reverberation. After having finished yelling out loud what you want to say in Stonehenge, you can still hear the reproduced sound for a few minutes without knowing and realizing why and how can it happen like that in this out of nowhere.
Examining Stonehenge and Its Replica
Because of the Stonehenge’s reverberation, Fazenda and his partners came to Stonehenge in 2011 to have a test on Stonehenge’s acoustic features to know more about its reverberation. However, pieces of Stonehenge had gone missing somehow; the researchers tried their best and found a suitable place to have a test on acoustics from a prototype of Stonehenge served as a memorial monument from World War I situated in Maryhill, Washington to gain more information about the Stonehenge's reverberation.
Through the time of doing Stonehenge's investigation about reverberation, Fazenda and his team had suddenly noticed that both Stonehenge and its replica in Mary Hill had the same acoustics to those in lecture rooms and churches. Frezenda declared that you and other people can hear your voice anywhere while standing behind a stone and keeping on talking with a suitable voice.
Bluestones Made Ringing Noises
While doing research, the researchers also discovered that the bluestones could also create ringing sounds that have similar sound like a bell when being tapped or touched strongly. Because of that, experts came to the hypothesis that the sound quality of bluestones was to be chosen specifically due to its acoustic features. Some latest research has also proved their adequate theory about the bluestones in Stonehenge that most of them can have these acoustic features naturally in place of only one.
The sound specialist named Jon Wozencroft and the archaeo-acoustic expert named Paul Devereux in the Royal College of Art and had an interest in bluestones' sounds that they found almost the majority of the bluestones could actually ring through their study. Devereux explained with his findings that it was such a great masterpiece of sound due to its acoustics. The bluestones can actually make acoustic sounds like bells, gongs, tin drums, and so on when using a significant amount of stone and tapping with a small hammer called 'hammerstones.’
Was Stonehenge a Place of Religious Worship?
Some experts show another theory that Stonehenge was also served as a spiritual center which was taken place by the priests. During the time of 17th and 18th centuries, some people had believed that Stonehenge was to be known as a Druid temple, which is developed by ancient Celtic polytheists. John Aubrey, who was the one that found out the Aubrey pits at Stonehenge, was also associated with the Stonehenge's monument alongside Druids.
However, many experts also discovered that Stonehenge was to be existed for at least 2,000 years before the Druids did. Although this one had debunked to the Druids' theory, it could not prevent the modern Druids from the fact that Stonehenge is a sacred and spiritual destination for them to pray for their lucks.
Why Did Neo-Druids Hold a Religious Ceremony at Stonehenge?
It's easy to see that Stonehenge took thousands of visitors by storm due to its peculiar mysteries. However, there was a time when one of these peculiar visitor groups called Neo-Druids had turned the Stonehenge into an extensive sacred ceremony. Moreover, there were to have more than 700 Neo-Druids that brought together at Stonehenge with the view to honoring their religious legacy.
The men in an initiation ceremony assumed that there were 259 new members to join their spiritual organization called the Ancient Order of the Druids. Press was sarcastic heavily to the ceremony as the men were to dress up in white robes with unreal beards. Because of that, the local landowner of Stonehenge limited access to the Stonehenge by charging the attendees with admission. Nowadays, Stonehenge is recently owned by the British governmental press, including the English Heritage. The only place in Stonehenge that is free for you to go without charging admission is about 10 yards away.
Researchers Used Lasers and Found Art Carved on the Stones
While doing excavations, researchers discovered carvings on Stonehenge's stones and concluded that Stonehenge was a place for ancient art exhibitions. Based on the Independent's information, more than 72 ancient Bronze Age carving pictures were to cut it into five Stonehenge's stones. Recently, people cannot see the carvings with their own eyes, but the cutting-edge equipment like the specific laser scanner can detect the images on the stones.
According to the laser's experiments, the carving pictures were to consist of 71 Bronze Age ax heads and one Bronze Age sharp knife. The ax heads were to point to the sky accidentally, whilst the sharp knife points at the opposite position of the ax head. This fact led the experts to hypotheses associated with the storm gods. The creators had carved these images to prevent the storm from damaging their crops and farms.
Some of the Stonehenge Builders Lived in Wales
With technological developments, scientists now can study more about Stonehenge's ancient builders from the past. From the beginning of the Stonehenge's investigation, the experts believed the prehistoric builders were to live close to the Stonehenge. However, an experts' team at the University of Oxford discovered that prehistoric builders who had lived in Wales had a home from Stonehenge’s bluestones.
John Pouncett, who came from the Oxford School of Archaeology, told that the cremations of the human bones were from mysterious Aubrey Holes and set up a brand new mapping biosphere of the Stonehenge and made a suggestion that ancient people came from the Preseli Mountains provided with the bluestones were deceased and buried in Stonehenge under those bluestones.
After having finished examining 5,000 years old of cremation excavated from Stonehenge, the scientists have found out new findings that Stonehenge's ancient builders also lived in West Wales. After the original excavations were made in the 1920s, the scientist from the excavation found and begun their study research of about 25 human skulls and bones from the 56 Stonehenge holes in Stonehenge.
To study the human skulls and bones that have cremated the researchers used a scientific technique called strontium isotope analysis to discover at least 10 burial people that did not spend last decades of their life live close to Stonehenge. During the Neolithic period, the prehistoric builders traveled from the site to their hometown called Wales. After the builders were deceased, their bodies were cremated from Stonehenge's pits, and then their remnants went back to Stonehenge for burials.
Researchers Used DNA to Discover the Origins of the Builders
Some researchers discovered new insights that the Britons who were parts of Stonehenge belonged to the migrant farmers. They analyzed the DNA from the inner ear bone cremation from a 9,000 years old human skeleton named Cheddar Man. The conditions from the fresh and dehydrated burials helped in preserving the DNA of the Cheddar Man’s remnants of cremations which were discovered in Cheddar Gorge in Somerset.
Besides the Cheddar Man, the research also discovered DNA coming from 47 Neolithic farmers human bones from 6,000 to 4,500 years old and six of the Mesolithic hunter and gatherer skeletons amid 11,600 and 6,000 years old. Examination of skeletons analyses from a different type of age has enabled the researchers to classify differences from the area’s inhabitants.
Farmers from Turkey at Stonehenge?
After the analysis of the DNA from the human body bones at Stonehenge, the results revealed the populations of Stonehenge’s ancestors were from the Eastern Mediterranean area. These migrant farmers traveled to the British Isles for 4000 BC before the time of about 3000 BC ago when Stonehenge created. There were only hunters and gathers that lived in Britain back to the time of 4000 BC. When the migrant farmers first reached Britain, they brought with them their farming methods, pottery, and spiritual beliefs.
Mark Thomas, who is UCL Professor and author of the ancient builder of Stonehenge's study, said that the farmers' most significant technological innovation among the human revolutions was the development of growing crops. He also added that the transition to farming was to have its first launch in Britain for 6000 years ago.
Farmers Gradually Replaced the Area’s Hunter-Gatherer Population
When doing experiments on the DNA of the Stonehenge cremations, the researchers expected that the DNA would reveal a combination of the population from farmers and hunters, and gatherers among the Neolithic period in Britain. However, they just only discovered that the number of both hunters and gatherers' populations declined considerably during the Neolithic period without returning to its prime. These latest findings will help the researchers to take in a much better understanding of the social and Stonehenge's agricultural developments during the Neolithic period.
Thomas, who talked about the decreasing of hunters and gatherers when it comes to the farmers' arrival, said it brought conflicts to the experts on the concept of whether the farming methods were to have brought into Britain by the immigrant farmers from other continents or being adopted by the local hunters and gatherers. We have gained studies that proved the immigrant continental farmers who first introduced the agricultural method like farming and growing crops into Britain and replaced significantly all the hunters and gatherers' population all along.
Will We Ever Solve the Mysteries of Stonehenge?
There are still some mysteries about this Stonehenge's monument are still hidden. The researchers and the scientists still wonder whether Stonehenge was a sacred temple for the priests, a burial graveyard for the deceased, a healing spot for those who suffered from incurable diseases, or all of the three above. Anyone cannot tell yet and give convincing answers to these questions about what Stonehenge truly is.
The only thing that the scholars can make sure that they will continue doing research and theorize about the one that decided to build this stone's monument, how it was created and for what purposes. We might never know what is hidden in Stonehenge. We just can continually admire its symbolic and peculiar monument.