Essay On Stonehenge

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Stonehenge and Durrington Walls/Woodhenge
For centuries, Stonehenge has been a structure of wonder for all those who see or hear about it; many people wonder how it was built and why. Over the years, Stonehenge and the similar surrounding structures have been heavily studied, with new discoveries found yearly. Construction of Stonehenge itself started around 2600 BC on the Salisbury Plain in England (Grimston, 2007). It is constructed of large stones brought from the Welsh mountains positioned into several circular patterns (Grimston, 2007). Not too long ago, a discovery was made near Stonehenge called Durrington Walls. This lesser known site is believed to be the home of the builders of Stonehenge and is very significant to the monument’s purpose. 200 feet away from there lies the most famous of the timber henges, Woodhenge (Rattini, 2008). After examining each site’s solstitial alignments and relation to each other structure, it is deducted that each would have played a pivotal part in a ritual that would have taken place thousands of years ago.
There are several theories as to what Stonehenge was. These ideas range from a calendar to an astronomical observatory to sacred grounds. These inferences are based upon the shape and positions of the stones that make up the monument. Stonehenge is made up of megaliths, or giant rocks. There are two kinds of these rocks at the structure, bluestones, which are about 8,000 pounds each, and sarsen stones, which can weigh up to 100,000 pounds each (Rattini, 2008). These rocks make up a henge, a group of circular ritual structures unique to the Late Neolithic era in Britain (Pitts, 2008). The first ring is a sarsen stone circle, the next ring a smaller circle of blue stones, then an even sm...

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...e as a sacrifice or just for food (Balter, 2014). This means people would have traveled potentially long distances to reach these special events. Rituals at Stonehenge, Durrington Walls, and Woodhenge were likely a huge deal at this time, big enough to attract people all over the region. The people of Late Neolithic Britain were kinship based people who highly revered the dead and honored them with building great structures. These structures remain today and researchers constantly discover new things and ask new questions about them. The solstitial alignments of Stonehenge, Woodhenge, and Durrington Walls made them each a huge part of a ritual that was significant for the peoples’ culture. It shows their advances in knowledge of the rising and setting sun, and they used those events to create magnificent structures that attract the awe of thousands of people today.

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