Photographer's Note


Stonehenge is the most famous prehistoric site in Europe. It was build and rebuilt over a 1500 year period. Construction started around 3000 BC when the outer circular bank and ditch were constructed. An inner circle of granite stones, known as bluestones from their original coloring, was erected 1000 years later. The stones weighed up to four tons each and were brought from the Preseli Mountains in South Wales, nearly 250 miles away.

Around 1500 BC, the huge stones which make Stonehenge instantly recognizable were dragged to the site, erected in a circle and topped by equally massive lintels to make the sarsen (the type of sandstone) trilithons (the formation of vertical and horizontal stones). The sarsens were cut from an extremely hard rock found on the Marlborough Downs about 20 miles from the site. It is estimated that dragging one of these 50 ton stones across country to Stonehenge would require about 600 people.

Also, around this time, the bluestones from 500 years earlier were rearranged as an inner horseshoe. In the center of this horseshoe went the altar stone, a name given for no scientific reason in the 18th century. Around the bluestone horseshoe was a sarsen horseshoe of five trilithons. Three of these trilithons are intact; the other two have just a single upright. Then came the major circle of stones, of which 17 uprights and six lintels remain.

The inner horseshoes are aligned along the sun’s axis on rising in midsummer and setting in midwinter. Stonehenge's alignment in relation to the rising and setting sun has always been one of its most remarkable features. It is uncertain whether this was because its builders came from a sun worshipping culture or because, as some have suggested, the circle and its banks were part of a huge astronomical calendar.

For centuries, there has been a debate about the significance and uses of Stonehenge. Clearly, it represents an enormous investment of labor and time. A huge effort and great organization was needed to carry the stones tens and sometimes hundreds of miles by land and water, and then to shape and raise them. Only a sophisticated society could have assembled such large a workforce and produced the design and construction skills necessary to build Stonehenge.

This is a scanned picture taken in 1994 before I had a digital camera. I dedicated it to E.M. who has been helping me scan many of my old slides and negatives.

bona, subhendu_bagchi, pajaran, kordinator, Atousa, BluSimo has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Betty Jones (BWJ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 473 W: 0 N: 919] (3094)
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