For centuries Stonehenge has puzzled amateurs, archaeologists, historians, and scientists alike. What was its purpose? Who constructed it? How? Why? Does it have some great significance on the meaning of life?
Stonehenge is and forever has been the subject of constant speculation from all quarters, but no one has yet got anywhere near to providing concrete answers for the many questions the magnificent and mysterious structure poses. But the fact that we don’t know who, what, how, and why just makes Stonehenge all the more delightfully mysterious and intriguing for us. Indeed, nothing’s more fun than pouring over an unknown and speculating over the truth.
Here, then, we take a brief overview of some of the most popular theories, so you can decide for yourself which one you would are most inclined to believe….
We’ll begin with some of the more spurious, amateur-devised theories before moving on to consider what the professionals think. Extra-terrestrials are most commonly linked to the edifice in modern urban folklore. Indeed, Stonehenge is frequently interpreted as part of an ancient historical global narrative involving technologically advanced aliens co-habiting the earth alongside humans, and building the pyramids of Giza and so forth while they were here. Opinion is divided among U.F.O. buffs as to whether Stonehenge was built to function as some kind of extra-terrestrial communications device, a spacecraft landing pad, or as alien art.
Such theories may come across as spurious, but some of those posed by professionals seem almost as far-fetched. In the past, scholars have variously suggested that Stonehenge was built by Merlin to celebrate the repelling of Anglo-Saxon invaders by Celtic tribes, that it functioned as some kind of ancient astronomical observatory, or that it was in fact a druidic ‘hospital’ where the sick visited for magical cures. Recent debates have focused on a plethora of competing and only partially-evidenced theories. Prime among these is the idea that the site was actually an ancient burial ground for the dead of privileged Celtic communities. Although vehemently supported by some, this theory is equally highly contested by others. Many academics prefer to suppose that Stonehenge was one of the first truly national gathering places. A recently uncovered settlement built around the site at the same time as the pillars were erected corroborates this hypothesis to a degree, whilst scientific studies on the remains of cattle carcasses that have shown that animals from all over the country were brought to the area for slaughter add further weight to it. Another, more outlandish modern theory is that the structure was built to resemble the female reproductive organ!
These are but a few of the more prominent theories regarding Stonehenge’s origin and function. Why not just make up your own? (it seems a lot of people do) After all, our true attraction to the structure is borne out if its mythical mystique. Perhaps we ought not to be searching for an answer to the riddle, so that it may go on to occupy others for generations to come…
Every year millions of tourists take one of the many Stonehenge tours from London that take you to this wonder of the world, the writer of this post is a tour guide who helps visitors form their own opinion of how these stones really made their way here and why.