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No Other Essay, Research Paper

Despite the many purposes it seems to serve, Stonehenge is still the embodiment of mystery for most of the world. Some believe that its purpose was to be used as an astronomical observatory. Others think that it was used as a religious meeting center for the Druids. However, no one has been able to prove its true meaning and existence.

Stonehenge is believed to have been built in three main periods. The first took place between 3100 and 2700 B. C. This part of the construction consisted of building a huge ditch around the area in which Stonehenge was to be built (Castleden 1). This ditch was 320 ft. in diameter with a broken area in which the entrance is located. Just inside the ditch 56 holes were dug equal distance from each other. These holes were then filled with chalk rubble, but some of the holes were filled with the bones of cremated human beings. These holes were called the Aubrey holes after their discoverer John Aubrey. To the northeast of the ditch a 16ft. tall heel stone was erected (Brown 751).

The second phase of the building is non-existent to this day (Warwick and Trump I t can however be inferred by to holes known as the ?Q? and ?R? holes. The two holes form a double circle around the monument. It was originally filled with 38 blue stones. Also during this building phase two ditches were dug parallel to each other. The two ditches go outward from the entrance. This part of the building process is believed to be unfinished. This thought is due to the fact that some holes are missing in the double circles (Brown 751).

The third phase in building is the most spectacular of all the phases. This is because of the 100ft. Circle that is filled with 30 sarsen stone columns which weighs 25 tons separately. A continuous circle of lintel stones held in place by mortise and tenon joints tops them off. Inside the circle is the holes known as the ?X? and ?Y? holes. Also inside are a small horseshoe shape of bluestones. The largest bluestone is called the altar stone. This altar stone?s original location and meaning is unknown. It now lies under two fallen trilithon stone. The builders of this age of Stonehenge are the Wessex culture of the early Bronze Age (Brown 752).

Those who constructed Stonehenge may never be known. There are many myths and legends as to who really built the huge monument. On such myth is that the great magician Merlin built Stonehenge. This was claimed in the book History of the Kings of Britains written by Geoffrey of Monmouth. According to Geoffrey the huge stones were taken from Ireland and moved to England where they were marked as a burial ground for slain British princes. This monument was set up by King Ambrosius. He sent for Merlin to give him a monument. Merlin suggested the ?Dance of the Giants? in Ireland. However the Irish were not going to give up their monument without a fight. They had set up an army to defend the giant monument from King Ambrosius?s army of soldiers sent to fetch the monument. The British defeated the Irish but could not budge the giant stones in any way, shape, or form. Merlin, however, could. He came to their rescue and moved the stones with the greatest of ease. This story was a good explanation to all medieval believers.

Outline

I. Construction

A. Phases

1. Period I

2. Period II

3. Period III

B. Builders

1. Celts and Druids

2. Merlin and King Ambrossius

II. Purpose

A. Solstice Calendar

B. Druids Meetings

C. Astronomical Events

III. Feeling toward Stonehenge

A. Peoples Feelings Then

B. Peoples Feelings now


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