What is Stonehenge really about? This documentary puts forth some fascinating new information….

 

Recently I was fortunate enough to change channels and happen upon The Stonehenge Enigma: What Lies Beneath? on Channel 5. I missed the very beginning, but saw most of it, and very interesting it was too.

A huge circle of manmade “sinkholes has been found near Stonehenge, and the first of these holes when examined proved to be 15 metres diameter, narrowing to 10 metres at the bottom, and was 5½ metres deep, straight down. At the bottom of this pit, and all the others that were examined subsequently, was sediment of all sorts of human waste material, including charcoal and bone. The sediment lay on top of natural chalk, so was definitely caused by man. Some core samples from these pits were sent to St Andrew’s University for analysis.

Then the programme concentrated on that other fascinating monument, Durrington Walls. Close examination revealed it to have contained at least 1000 neolithic houses, presumably to house the multitude of builders of Stonehenge. The occupants of these houses and many, many others from all around came to the Walls, bringing with them young pigs, which were hunted with bows and arrows, roasted over open fires, eaten and then thrown away before the meat had all been consumed. This last is most unusual because meat was always eaten to the last piece of gristle. Waste not, want not.

The people then formed a ritual procession that passed from the Walls to the banks of the Avon, after a while leaving the river to proceed up to Stonehenge. Now, at this point bells were ringing, no, not on site but in my memory. A few decades back it seemed that no programme about ancient civilisations was without references to rituals and ritual processions, It became almost ridiculous, almost to the point of there being a ritual procession to the fire and back to make the neolithic version of a cup of tea! Thankfully this sort of thing has been watered down, so to speak. But I do remember watching a programme about this very same ritual procession along the bank of the Avon and then up to Stonehenge. So this part of the Channel 5 programme wasn’t entirely new information. Not to me, anyway. Perhaps I’m misremembering.

Next we were shown what seem to be two long, manmade parallel lines in the ground that were called an avenue. They aren’t manmade, however, but are the result of natural events at the end of the Ice Age. They were used by the above procession to approach Stonehenge, to which they seemed to lead.

We then learned that contrary to what has long been believed, i.e. that Stonehenge is dedicated to the midsummer sunrise, it’s far more likely to have celebrated the midwinter sunset. I will not explain more, because that would spoil the programme, which is 1½ hours long and introduced by Rob Bell. Suffice it that the combined complex on Salisbury Plain is revealed to be the largest such monument in Britain, perhaps in the world. If you can watch the programme, I recommend it as very interesting and thought-provoking and contains far, far more than I’ve outlined above. I hope I’ve written down my facts correctly. Apologies if I haven’t got it right!

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