Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Who built Stonehenge? Part.I

Centuries ago , a visitor might have attributed Stonehenge’s construction to magical powers; a typical 12th century British legend asserted it was built” not by force but by Merlin’s Art”, and the site has been associated with Druid assemblies. More recently, its design has so impressed archeologists that they have insisted it could only be the product of an advanced, colonizing population. Mycenae, a flourishing citadel culture on the Greek mainland, and Brittany, in north western France, were suggested as possibilities for this invading force, because each boasted similar, if less impressive, gigantic structures made of stone.

  So the archeological world was shocked when in the 1960s carbon dating revealed that the original building of Stonehenge occurred possibly as early as 3000 BC, centuries before the Mycenaean period. In fact the tests confirmed that Stonehenge was built in stages spanning a period of up to 1,500 years, as later immigrants renovated the original site. Stonehenge I, the earliest version, was little more than a raised bank with a ring of 56 shallow pits just inside. Stonehenge II, begun in about 2000BCand more sophisticated in its design, consisted of a double circle of huge blue stones; some time before 1500 BC, these were replaced in Stonehenge III by a 100 foot diameter ring of 30 larger sarsen sandstone monoliths. On top of some of these stones were set huge lintels, with peg and socket joints used to secure them in place, forming a vast horseshoe of triithons.