From the archive: Stonehenge, it’s place in British prehistory – 16 September 1924

The trust that Stonehenge, in not unusual with different megalithic stays within the British Isles — menhirs, dolmens, and circles, — is druidical, and that the majestic staff of ruins on Salisbury Simple used to be the Westminster Abbey of the Druids in Britain, is extensively held, and particularly by way of the non-scientific public. It has discovered expression in most of the older Ordnance maps, during which the time period druidical is implemented to teams of prehistoric stays which might be referred to now to belong to the Neolithic or Bronze Age. This mistake will without doubt be erased in long term editions.

It has additionally led inside of contemporary years to the formation of a sect at Clapham who think that they’re the heirs of the Druids, and as such declare the proper to bury the ashes in their useless at Stonehenge, which they view because the Mecca in their religion. From their very own account it seems that that they’ve already buried the ashes of a few in their participants and the our bodies of a few in their kids throughout the precincts. No matter they do one day, we glance to the Board of Works to stop additional desecration of the noblest pre-historic monument in Europe, or any interference with the exploration now being carried on by way of the Society of Antiquaries and the Wiltshire Archeological Society.

Stonehenge, circa 1870.

Stonehenge, circa 1870. : Ancient England/NMR/PA

Stonehenge has excited the imaginations of many writers, starting with Geoffrey of Monmouth within the first part of the 12th century, who tells us that the stones have been introduced by way of the magic artwork of Merlin from Eire. Within the 17th and eighteenth centuries antiquaries have been nearly unanimous in assigning it to the Druids, or even in at the present time perspectives had been complicated that it used to be built on designs introduced from Egypt, and that it used to be one of those astronomical temple constructed by way of Chaldean or Egyptian priest-astronomers for the statement of the solar and stars. It’s pointless to criticise those unbelievable speculations. Let as believe the result of fashionable researches into starting place and date.

The construction of Stonehenge signifies that it used to be constructed at other instances, characterized by way of other development fabrics. The interior small horseshoe, or apse, and the internal circle of fairly sized blocks consists of international stones, that have lately been traced by way of Mr Thomas of the Geological Survey of Nice Britain, to their quarries at Prescelly in Pembrokeshire. They almost certainly belong to the unique development, whilst the outer horse-shoe, or apse, and the outer ring of large blocks of the Sarsen stone discovered within the neighbouring downs are almost certainly later additions.

It could be unimaginable, as identified by way of Dr Gowland, for the internal apse of gigantic trilithons to had been erected with out disturbance of the internal circle of stones imported from Wales, however there can be no issue in those stones being got rid of and changed when the later paintings used to be finished. However, they’ll have at the start occupied the holes within the vallum, or ramp, surrounding the outer ring of Sarsens at a distance of about 100 toes, and afterwards had been transferred to their provide place. Within the latter case the older Stonehenge would fall in keeping with different identical stone circles in Britain and at the Continent, even if it differs from all in its trilithons and within the ring of stone crowning the outer circle. It’s in those respects a extra extremely evolved development than the remaining, and almost certainly belongs to a later duration.

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