Art History - Prehistoric Art Essay - Stonehenge

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Touching on the Theories around Stonhenge

Submitted: September 09, 2012

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Submitted: September 09, 2012




Located in England, Stonehenge is an outstanding ancient monument, dated to as early as 3000

BC; it is surrounded mystery, awe, and various theories; some of which are incredibly far fetched, others

entirely plausible. Because Stonehenge was constructed by a culture that made no written records, the

complete history and purpose of Stonehenge are left entirely up for debate. There are literally dozens

different theories and studies that have been formed on the monument. We do know that there is no

conclusive evidence on how stonehenge was constructed; which in turn leaves many doors open for

exceptionally imaginative theories on how the monument was built. The monument is of large standing

stones set in earthworks; the monument also contains several hundred burial grounds; until recently

scientists were not entirely sure where the stones came from, in 2011 researchers announced that the

source of the rocks had been identified from a source 140 miles from the existing monument site. This

discovery opens more doors to exciting theories and concepts about the great monument.


The most far fetched of theories may be the most intriguing of theories and in all honesty could be

feasible. The ancient alien theories came from the centuries old theory that life exists on other planets

and that humans and extraterrestrials have crossed paths in the past. The extraterrestrial theories

regarding stonehenge do present a practical and quite believable story to the construction of the

monument; given the mass of the stones used. Some theorists argue that extraterrestrials came to Earth

thousands of years ago to share their abundant understanding of science and engineering with ancient

civilizations here on earth; with this knowledge, the builders were able to build the architectural wonder.

Other theories suggest the monument was built by extraterrestrials; some suggest it was a landing pad

for their space crafts. Far out or not, alien theorists do have credible evidence to back up their strong

claims. The first are ancient religious texts in which humans witness and interact with gods or other divine

beings that boast remarkable powers descending from the sky; often in crafts that resemble spaceships.

The second is physical specimens like artwork portraying extraterrestrial beings.


Another legendary theory suggested by 12th century author Geoffrey of Monmouth was

considered accurate well into the Middle Ages. This account states that Stonehenge is the glorious work

of the wizard Merlin. The story states that hundreds of British nobles were slaughtered by the Saxons and

buried at the Salisbury Plain. King Aureoles Ambrosias desired to erect a memorial for the fallen; he sent

an army to defeat Ireland and return with a stone circle known then as the Giants Ring; the ring was

believed to have been built by ancient giants and built from magical African bluestones. His soldiers

actually defeated Ireland but failed to retrieve the ancient stones. The King enlisted Merlin to move the

stones across the sea, and place them over the burial ground. The Merlin theory is particularly intriguing;

science has established that Stonehenge predates the existence of Merlin by several thousand years,

thus making this suggestion nothing more than make believe.


There are several theories that are much more realistic; whilst they do not directly touch on the

actual construction of the monument; the universal theories align better with today's way of life. Realistic

theories regarding construction of the monument involves sledges, rollers and boats. Even though it is

known that the monument was built in several phases. We see the stones did come a vast distance, and

this idea functionally works best. It is that the artisans built sledges and rollers out of tree trunks to haul

the stones from the Preseli Hills. They then transferred the stones on to a boat and sailed the stones

down the Welsh Coast and up the Avon River to Salisbury. It is that the builders use a primitive type of

stone age technology. When using weights and leverage they could get the stones into a standing


One of most reasonable uses of stonehenge, is a theory proposed by Geoffrey Wainwright and

Timothy Darvill; they suggest Stonehenge was a place of healing, thus the graves in the area; some of

which show significant trauma. Another Sensible concept is yet another from that of the 12th century by

Geoffrey of Monmouth; he extolled the medicinal properties of the stones and was the first to advocate

the idea that Stonehenge was constructed as a funerary monument; which is quite reasonable

considering the vast amounts of burial sites in the area.


Regardless of the spiritual or supernatural elements that surround stonehenge, its design

includes an astronomical observatory, the use proven by Gerald Hawkins. Hawkins located 165

astronomical alignments at Stonehenge associated exclusively with the Sun and Moon and not with any

stars that can be viewed by the naked eye. This would have allowed for predictions of eclipses, solstice

and other planetary events helpful to us today. Regardless of the mysteries of Stonehenge it is especially

obvious that the monument was built for functionality and spirituality.


Works Cited

"Ancient Alien Theory." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2012. <http://>.

"Astro-Archaeology at Stonehenge." Tiverton A.S. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2012. <http://>.

"Solving the Riddle of Stonehenge’s Construction." A&E Television Networks, 13 Dec. 2010.

Web. 03 Sept. 2012. <>.

"Stonehenge." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 09 Mar. 2012. Web. 03 Sept. 2012. <http://>.

"Theories about Stonehenge." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Aug. 2012. Web. 03 Sept. 2012.


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