Stonehenge

Wiltshire

 

 

Today the Circle at Stonehenge stands in isolation on the Salisbury Plain, but it is in fact part of a complicated system of circles, avenues, megaliths and burial chambers built over thousands of years.

 

When the original structure, a ditch, bank and wooden henge, was built about 3000 BCE there was already a significant amount of earth workings scattered around the area.

 

Subsequently Stonehenge was then abandoned, and the population centre moved  North East towards the banks of the River Avon. Then about 2100 BCE following the appearance of the beaker people from the continent activity started once again in the area. Woodland was extensively cleared, and round barrows appeared on every hillside.

 

During this period the entrance of the henge was realigned with the midsummer solstice sunrise. A straight Avenue of two banks was constructed, and later curved round to reach the Avon bank. This Avenue was probably used as the ceremonial route from the river.

 

Then the stones started to arrive. The large sarsens weighing up to 50 ton were dragged to the site. The blue stones however were brought from Wales, probably by water, as far as the Avon bank, and then up the ceremonial Avenue.

 

The construction was spread over 300 years, and was rearranged at times leaving the final structure of a circle of thirty sarsens capped with lintels morticed to their tops. Inside this was a circle of probably sixty smaller bluestones. Within this second circle stand the trilithons, five pair of standing stones, each pair coupled by a lintel, arranged in the shape of an horseshoe built on a North-East, South-West axis. Similarly within this horseshoe lies a second horseshoe of 19 bluestones. Lying inside the bluestone horseshoe, in front of the central Great Trilithon is the Altar stone, and standing on the North-East axis, outside the surrounding bank, is the heelstone probably used as a solstice marker.

 

 

Dawn Imbolc 2009

 

 

 

The Altar stone, with Bluestone Circle and

Trilithon behind

 

The Heelstone

viewed through the two circles

 

 

 

Britain Tour