The mysteries surrounding Stonehenge have baffled scientists for a very long time. Who built them? Why were they built? How did they even manage to get the stones to the spot? Aliens? Druid priests? All of these questions have been burning holes into peoples brains for centuries.
Teams of archaeologists from the universities of Sheffield, Manchester, Southampton, Bournemouth and University College London have all been working on the project for well over 10 years now. They used a combination of the Stonehenge site itself and their extensive knowledge of the time period in general to piece together a hypothesis.
“When Stonehenge was built, there was a growing island-wide culture – the same styles of houses, pottery and other material forms were used from Orkney to the south coast. This was very different to the regionalism of previous centuries,” Prof Mike Parker Pearson from Sheffield University explained to the Register.
The stones, according to researchers, were put in place by communities as a gesture of the unification of farming communities who decided to lay down their arms and make peace.
The undertaking wasn’t an easy one though. As Prof Pearson explained, “Stonehenge itself was a massive undertaking, requiring the labour of thousands to move stones from as far away as west Wales, shaping them and erecting them. Just the work itself, requiring everyone literally to pull together, would have been an act of unification.”
They also have answers as to why the stones are arranged the way they are. The researches believe that the eight stones stand for different groups of Britain’s earliest farming communities. And that the area that they decided to build Stonehenge wasn’t a mistake either. “The solstice-aligned avenue sits on a series of natural landforms that, by chance, form an axis between the directions of midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset.”
The place already had some sort of significance to the farmers, “this might explain why there are eight monuments in the Stonehenge area with solstitial alignments, a number unmatched anywhere else. Perhaps they saw this place as the centre of the world,” Prof Pearson wondered.
How they got the monolithic stones to the site is another story though. This has been pondered upon for a while. The stones are thousands of pounds and some are believed to have been moved from as far away as west Wales. The same issue has come up at Easter Island and they may have solved the problem by “walking” the stones. Here is the video: