by Anita Burns
Stonehenge is one of many megalithic structures all over the world. The word Megalith means Big Stone and they can be found in Spain, Portugal, France, Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Minorca, Malta, Sardinia, Bulgaria, Caucasus, Africa, along the Mediterranean coast, Palestine, Iran, Pakistan, Tibet, India, Japan, Indochina, Sumatra, and Borneo. But Stonehenge, in Southern England, is probably the most well known and studied of them all.
Megaliths often contain tall stones, set up like pillars, called Minhirs, which means Long Stone. These appear alone, in clusters, or in circles, like Stonehenge. Most of the megalithic structures in the world were originally tombs made of large stones and covered with earth. These are called Dolmens and they can be gigantic. One of the biggest is in Western France. It has 13 huge stone slabs forming a chamber 61 feet long by 10 feet high. The stones are about two feet thick with the biggest stone weighing 86 tons. It was calculated that 3,000 men would have been needed to move that piece into place.
One of the most puzzling things about megaliths is that they are NOT found in some areas. Why, for example, Japan, but not China? Why north of Asia Minor and South of it in Palestine, but not in Asia Minor itself? The answer may lie in the fact that one thing they all have in common is they are all in places which have concentrations of metal ore.
It is commonly believed, especially about those in Europe, that the Druids built them. Rumors originating from Caesar and early Christians, who tried to discredit the Druids, said the Druids practiced human sacrifice. The Dolmens were taken for altars of the sacrifices. But the megaliths were built long before there were Druids. And some researchers now believe that Druids didn’t practice sacrifice of any kind. Also, there were no Druids in Japan or India, so who built the megaliths there, and why?
Most of the megalithic structures, including Stonehenge, which were not tombs, are astronomical and astrological calculators. But are they more? Research has discovered the megaliths were not the work of one migrating race, but built by people from various races and cultures. For some unknown reason, from the 8th through the 1st century BC, people all over the world built these mysterious, megalithic structures. And, they were all built to be oriented along the East/West or North/South axis. Some are aligned with the equinox and solstice points.
Stonehenge, one of the world’s best examples of non-tomb megalithic structures, has massive stones, each carefully squared, smoothed, and fitted together with precision. Built in three phases, the imposing ruins we see today are the last of the three:
Stonehenge, phase one, was a big circle, about 100 yards in diameter, and marked out by a ditch and an embankment of earth. In the center was a round, wooden building. Within the embankment was a circle of 56 holes, called Aubrey holes. This is a massive 16 foot Menhir, called the Heel Stone, and is just outside the circle about 100 yards from the entrance gap in the embankment.
Stonehenge, phase two, has two rings of Menhirs surround the middle of the original circle, offset by about 3 feet. These are the Blue Stones and could only have come from quarries in Southern Wales, 150 miles away.
Stonehenge, phase three, has four Station Stones which form a big rectangle, 245 feet by 105 feet. The rings of blue Menhirs were removed, and the famous horseshoe of five Trilithons, the doorway stones, we see today was erected. These gigantic stones form a ring 108 feet in diameter and were made of local sandstone, carefully dressed and joined with dovetails, mortises and tenons. They taper precisely toward the top, and some are convexly curved to counteract the distortion we see when looking up at tall structures. Some of the stones weigh more than 50 tons. After they were erected, the Blue Stones were later put back into place.
For a long time, no one knew who erected Stonehenge. The population was mostly agricultural, and farmers didn’t have the technical expertise to build such a complicated structure. Then, in 1953, a carving of a Mycenean dagger was found on one of the stones. This placed a possible creation date for Stonehenge around 1500 BC and build by the Myceneans. But radiocarbon dating placed it around 1720 BC. New dating now places it at 2600 BC. The Myceneans could not have built it then; they were in a stage of very primitive farming.
We know Stonehenge was used as an astronomical observatory. At dawn on June 21st, the summer solstice, the rising sun passes through the center of the opening in the horseshoe, then through the center of the entrance gap and down the causeway. It also calculates the minimum and maximum moonrise at winter and summer, the midwinter and midsummer, sunset and sunrise. It enabled the priests (or whoever was in charge of this function); to maintain records and do calculations to predict eclipses. However, astronomers are still arguing on this point.
Why did these Neolithic people need this information? The standard answer is that it helped then know when to plant. However, it seems Stonehenge and other similar structures are a bit of overkill for a planting calendar. They could know when to plant by looking at the animals and the wild plants around them. Also the changing weather and length of day and night would help them know when to plant.
These structures took tremendous dedication and labor to produce. Hundreds of thousands of man-hours would be required for just a small portion of Stonehenge to be erected. Avebury, one of the largest stone circles in England was built using antler and ox shoulder blade bones as tools to dig a trench around it 20 feet deep. Stones weighing over 1000 tones were hauled great distances over tree trunk rollers. Why? To tell people when to plant? Hardly a logical answer. There must be more.
Paul Devereux, a French researcher, studied Britain’s megalithic structures and discovered ultrasonic signals emanating from the stones about an hour before dawn until full sunrise. The signals were strongest at the equinoxes and weakest during the solstices. Other researchers have found that levels of radioactivity inside the stone circles are always lower than the surrounding areas, by as much as a factor of two. The stones shield the interior of the circle from certain energy fields, including cosmic radiation. How?
Some theorists believe the structures are more than an astronomical observatory—a mystical code of some sort. Visitors touching the stones often report feeling tingling, or a twisting sensation in their spine. Others experience mild electric shock. People who study ley lines (lines of energy that network the earth) l, found that the stone structures (and early Cathedrals) are placed along these lines of energy. The ley lines surround the ancient stone circles and converge under them. Animals seem to like these ley lines and some farmers observe their animal’s preference for standing on them. In the 1960’s Royal Air Force pilots made a study of UFO sightings and correlated them with the ley lines where the megalithic structures stand.
In the end, there are more mysteries about Stonehenge than answers. Perhaps in the near future, more discoveries will be made about the nature of energy, radiation, and ley lines that will give us more evidence about why Stonehenge was built and how. But for now, we are left with speculation. You can find out more about Stonehenge and ley lines from the numerous books written by researchers. New books are frequently published with the latest findings. Perhaps one of them has a clue to the real story.