Druids, mystics, UFO enthusiasts and even the occasional rock star have converged in awe beneath its arcane structure. Now, after its eternal mysteries have driven generations of archaeologists round in circles, a lucid new theory has suggested Stonehenge was conceived for a more prosaic purpose – as a Neolithic health centre.The latest hypothesis surrounding one of the world's best known but least understood landmarks suggests the world heritage site was a precursor to Lourdes. The claim follows the first dig inside Stonehenge's concentric circles for nearly half a century. The excavation this spring unearthed many fragments ofbluestone, accorded healing powers in medieval folklore and literature, and seemingly taken as lucky charms by visitors to Salisbury Plain.The disclosure justifies the extraordinary feat of Stonehenge's construction, in which bluestone rocks were transported over land and sea from a quarry known as Carn Menyn in Pembrokeshire's Preseli Hills, 150 miles away.
Tim Darvill of Bournemouth University revealed radiocarbon dating
suggested the monument was three centuries younger than previous
theories suggested, raised in 2300BC.
The date correlates with
the grave of the so-called Amesbury Archer, an adult male with a healed
head wound and an injured left leg excavated in 2002.
discovery of an "abnormal number" of other non- native bodies showing
signs of serious disease, researchersbelieve Europe's ill may have
came to Stonehenge in search of good health.
"(The stones'] meaning and
importance to prehistoric people were sufficiently powerful to warrant
the investment of time, effort and resources to move them from the
Preseli Hills to the Wessex Downs," Prof Darvill said.
Wainwright, president of the Society of Antiquaries and fellow project
leader of the dig alongside Prof Darvill, said a river running through
the Preseli Hills had been dammed to create pools for the sick to bathe
in. Nearby prehistoric art and burial cairns strengthened the
connection between Stonehenge and healing properties.
"The wells of the Preseli
Hills were considered to have wonderful healing powers, and that is a
good reason why the bluestones were transported," he reasoned.
Submitted by Da Verminator: A team led by University of Manchester archaeologist Professor Julian Thomas has dated the Greater Stonehenge Cursus at about 3,500 years BC - 500 years older than the circle itself. They were able to pinpoint its age after discovering an antler pick used to dig the Cursus - the most significant find since it was discovered in 1723 by antiquarian William Stukeley. When the pick was carbon dated the results pointed to an age which was much older than previously thought...Vandals damage Stonehenge
Vandals used a hammer and screwdriver to vandalise the Stonehenge ancient monument, the first such incident for decades, officials said Thursday. The night-time attack by two men last week involved the central megalith in the 5,000-year-old ring of standing stones, with English Heritage saying the vandals could have been looking for a souvenir. A chip of stone about the size of a large coin was removed, while a 2.5-inch long scratch was left on the Heel Stone, at the centre of the UNESCO World H...Pagans mark end of Stonehenge dig
Pagans from dorset performed a closing ritual to mark the end of a major archaeological dig at Stonehenge. Members of the Weymouth-based Dolmen Grove order held the ceremony as 10 days of digging finished at the historic site. Tony Jameson, a member of the Grove, said: "It was very good. "The whole archaeological team took part and it was really nice." The grove was asked to the site to represent pagans and druids for an opening ritual at the end of March to bless the dig and placate the spirits...Stonehenges all around us
Archeologists recently discovered what appears to be the other half of Stonehenge, illuminating what they believe is a much larger Neolithic complex than has long been envisioned. What is coming to the surface seems strangely familiar. Looking closely at Stonehenge and other Neolithic sites, we find the formative patterns of our modern world.Step out of your house and you might notice your street is fixed on a cardinal grid: north, south, east, west. This pattern defines many American and Europe...'Breakthrough' at Stonehenge dig
Submitted by Waspie Dwarf: Archaeologists carrying out an excavation at Stonehenge say they have broken through to a layer that may finally explain why the site was built. The team has reached sockets that once held bluestones - smaller stones, most now missing or uprooted, which formed the site"s original structure. The researchers believe that the bluestones could reveal that Stonehenge was once a place of healing. The dig is the first to take place at Stonehenge for more than 40 years. The te...Uncovering stone circle's secrets
A major archaeological investigation is getting under way at one of Western Europe"s most impressive prehistoric sites. The Ring of Brodgar in Orkney is the third largest stone circle in the British Isles, but little is known about it. A month-long programme of investigations will be undertaken by a 15-strong team. The last important archaeological studies took place there in the 1970s. Significant developments have taken place since then in analytical techniques including dating. Historic Scotl...How to explain Stonehenge
Anthony North: They gather by the hundreds to see the Summer Solstice dawn at Stonehenge. Yet, some researchers feel they shouldn"t. They should actually be waiting for the Winter Solstice moon. That is what is important. Or is it purely an observatory? No, it"s about ancestor worship. No, it"s a calendar. No, it"s all about healing. No, it purely for burial. No, it"s purely about trade. No, it"s a UFO beacon. No, it"s a transmitter to the stars â€¦. Will you all please shut up!: Thank you. That..."Bluehenge" discovered
Archaeologists have discovered a second stone circle only a mile from Stonehenge, the prehistoric circle named "Bluehenge" would have consisted of 27 large blue stones which are nowmissing from the site."Archaeologists have discoveredStonehenge"s little sister - just a mile from the famous monument. . The prehistoric circle, unearthed in secret over the summer, is one of the most important prehistoric finds in decades." View: F...Scientists chip away at mystery of Stonehenge
The mysterious circle of stones that rises on Salisbury Plain near here has stood as a marvel for thousands of years, its origins and purpose shrouded in the mists of history. But a just-completed excavation of Stonehenge, the first within the ancient circle in more than 40 years, could provide some of the first reliable explanations for one of the greatest wonders of the prehistoric world. A team of British archeologists hopes to prove its theory that nearly 4,000 years ago Stonehenge was regar...Stonehenge 'was hidden from lower classes'
The wooden construction extended nearly two miles across Salisbury Plain more than 5,000 years ago, and would have served to shield the sacred site from the prying eyes of ordinary lower-class locals. Trenches have been dug around the monument, tracing the course of the fence which meanders around the stone circle. The dig"s co-director Dr Josh Pollard, of Bristol University, said: "The construction must have taken a lot of manpower. "The palisade is an open structure which would not have been d...