STONEHENGE

Josef Chrpa, septima



STONEHENGE

Stonehenge is the complex of menhires and stone circles which you can find on the Salisbury plain about 13 km in the north of the town Salisbury in south England.

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NAME ORIGIN

It is for sure that the name Stonehenge comes from the old English language, but its meaning it is not known. There are two theories that only differ in the second part of the name. Both of them declare that the first part of the name stone (in old English stan) means a stone.

The first of them alleges that the second part of the name, an old English word hencg, means the gallows.

The other theory affirms this word (this time hinge) means hung. It is not clear so whether the correct name is the Stone-Gallows or the Hung Stone.

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CONSTRUCTION OF STONEHENGE

The first construction works began about 1900 A.C. There was built a circle with 100 m in diameter formed by a ditch from outside and by a mound from inside the circle.The mound was only of a 0,5m height. The depth of the ditch was 2m and there were animal and cattle bones, in order to make a soil firmer.

The second stage commenced around 1750 A.C. by building of two circles formed by stones set up in an upright position in the middle of the ditch circle. Those stones of an outer circle were almost of a five metres height and 2m thick. There was a continuous layer of horizontally laid stones which were tied to those vertical by means of mounts on the top. The inner circle stones were considerably lower, only a 2m high.

The third and the last stage started around 1650 A.C. when two horse-shoes were built. The outer one consisted of five Trilitones. Triliton is the assemblage of three stones where two of them are vertical and the third one is laid horizontally on them. The highest triliton is 8,5m high. The stones of the inner horse-shoe are similar to those of the inner circle, which means about 2m high. The whole complex was completed in about 1400 A.C.

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WHY WAS STONEHENGE BUILT?

There are many graves around the monument. Was it an ancient cemetery?

Was it a kind of observatory where astronomers studied the stars and the planets?

Was it a place where witches and magicians offered human sacrifices to the goods?

The monument faces the point on the horizon where the sun rises on Midsummer`s Day. Was it a temple where the ancient Britons worshipped the Sun?

We shall never know the real answer.

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MATTERS OF INTEREST

In 1910 an English constructer Horatio Braber constructed the plane and it was only the matter of good luck when his trainee pilot missed Stonehenge and crashed the plane not far away.

Nowadays, the biggest stones are fixed in the concrete. During the construction the stones were put in the holes and tighten there with crushed rock. As a consequence of quakes during two world wars the stones began to fall out afterwards. And that was why that archeologists of those times have been forced to put the stones into a concrete. But yet one of the stones fell down after a strong windstorm in 1963.

During excavations in 1920 there was found a bottle of port wine. On the bottle label there was the year marked and this indicated than the origin of the wine was dated to 1810. The wine cork was rotten and wine poured out almost completely.

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