Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Aug 2016
Dear Readers, I present a simplified version of the true story of the Stonehenge, on the Salisbury plains of Southern England, with over a million visitors every year. Declared as a World Heritage Site since 1986.Left out many technical details to curb the Length!
Hope you find this interesting to read.  Thanks, - Raj

                     BY RAJ NANDY
Shrouded in ancient legend, rituals and mystery,
Forming a part of ancient History, in the County of
Wiltshire on the rolling Salisbury plains,
Thirty miles north of the English Channel, stands the
megalithic structure  - The Stonehenge.
Dating back to some 3000 BC during the Neolithic Age,
Long before the Egyptian pyramids got made!
Some of its secrets have finally been unraveled by
Archeologists of our time and age.
It was a period when early humans changed over
from being nomadic hunter- gatherers,
To cultivate land and domesticate animals, to
become settled farmers.
This ushered in a new social change in the history
of Human progression,
Which got reflected in huge stone structures to
mark this advancement and occasion.
For these megalithic structures were bigger than
the tribes of men or the community;
Marked burial mounds and places for performing
sacred rites and magical healing rituals, for the
entire community.
Stonehenge was aligned to the mid-Summer and
mid-Winter Solstice, with the rising and the setting
Served as an astronomical calendar for the turning
of Seasons, when crop cycles also begun.
Some scholars opine that it was used as a Lunar
Calendar as well,
Since Moon worship predates Sun worship by
Pre-historic men!
It was long before the invention of the wheel,
written script, and even metal implements.
This monumental structure speak of Stone Age
Briton’s greatest achievement!
Period covered is from Late Stone Age to the brink of
Bronze Age.)

Cutting across myths and legends archeologists
and geologists have tried to piece together the
Stonehenge Story,
Which stood like an enigmatic puzzle for the
last Five Thousand Centuries!
Scholars say construction commenced around
3000 BC, but progressed only in stages spread
over the next fifteen centuries.
Initially, a large earthwork or a ‘Henge’ with a
circular ditch and a bank was made,
With 56 timber posts around the inner perimeter
on the windy Salisbury plains.
Used by primitive man as a burial place, but for
rituals later got linked to other smaller sites.
With processional avenues leading to River Avon,
to honor dead ancestors with sacred rites!
Entrance to the ‘Henge’ was marked by a pair of
upright Slaughter Stones weighing 28 tones, and
6.6 meters tall.
But only one remains today lying flat on the ground
after its fall!
Some 256 feet from center of the ‘Henge’ on the NE
Avenue once stood the Heel Stones 7.6 meters high!
As a marker for the Summer Solstice showing the
position of the rising Sun in the Midsummer sky!

Some 1000 years later, 82 Blue Stones were brought
from the Prescelli Mountains of Southern Wales;
And the earlier timber posts with these Blue stones
was replaced.
Each stone weighing around 4 tones, was brought
over a distance of some 250 miles to the plains of
Loaded on hollowed out log boats fashioned like a
mini barge, to sail during high tide into the Bristol
Pulled over land on greased wooden rollers, and
loaded again on mini barges down the River Avon.
Since Avon flowed closer to the ‘Henge’ site in those
ancient days, which is now known!
(Some Scholars feel that the Blue Stones were swept down
closer to the Salisbury plain, during the close of the last Ice
Age! These Stones were believed to have powers of magical
cure too!)

              THE SARSAN STONES
During its final phase of development came the larger
23 ft tall Sarsan Stones, weighing some 44 tones.
From 20 miles north of the ‘Henge’ area dragged on
sledges and rollers from Marlborough Downs.
These stones now formed the outer ring capped with
stone lintels, replacing the Blue Stones;
And the Blues Stones were moved inwards and
rearranged in the horseshoe and circle shape, as
presently seen and known!
(NOTE: Sheer muscle power used to drag the stones with ropes
made from plant fiber of the indigenous lime bark soaked in
water for weeks. Stone lintels were sculpted in the shape of an
arc to cap the SARSAN Stones to form the outer circle. Wooden
scaffolding & ramps were used to hoist and position the heavy
stone lintels horizontally on top of upright stones! Sarsan Stones
were hard sandstones tougher than granite! However many of the
stones of this Ancient Ruin are missing, leaving some unanswered
questions behind.)

Archeologists and scholars using radiocarbon dating
have tried to recreate the Stonehenge Story.
This ancient ruin with many unanswered questions,
now remain protected as an Iconic Monument of
British History!
It stands as an astronomical time clock and is also of
spiritual significance;
It also symbolizes the ingenuity of Human Mind, its
power, and endurance.
I conclude with a an extract from a poem by TS Salmon
about the STONEHENGE here below:-
“Warpt in veils of time’s unbroken gloom,
Obscure as death and silent as the tomb.
Where cold oblivion holds her dusky reign,
Frowns the dark pile on Sarum’s lonely plain.

Yet think not here with classic eye to trace,
Corinthian beauty or Ionian grace.
No pillored lines with sculptured foliage crowned,
No fluted remnants deck the hallowed ground.
Firm, as implanted by some Titan’s might,
Each rugged stone up rears its giant height.
Whence the poised fragment tottering seems to throw,
A trembling shadow on the plain below.”
(*Sarum = old name for Salisbury.)
Thanks dear Readers for your kind attention span ,
I have simplified by cutting short many details the
best as I can!
Written by
Please log in to view and add comments on poems