A huge circle of stones, some weighing as much as 50 tons, sits in the English countryside outside Salisbury. Known as Stonehenge, the Neolithic monument inspired Swiss author Erich von Däniken to suggest it was a model of the solar system that also functioned as an alien landing pad—after all, how else could those massive stones have ended up hundreds of miles from their home quarry?
No one knows what, exactly, the meaning of Stonehenge is, but, as with all the other sites in this collection, the explanation is not aliens. Instead, scientists have demonstrated it’s actually possible to build such a thing using technologies that would have been around 5,000 years ago, when the earliest structures at the site were built.
And now, it appears as though the stones are aligned with solstices and eclipses, suggesting the Stonehenge builders were at least keeping an eye on the heavens, even if they didn’t come from above.
Current research is now suggesting that Stonehenge may already have been an important sacred site at least 500 years before the first Stone circle was erected – and that the sanctity of its location may have determined the layout of key aspects of the surrounding sacred landscape.
What’s more, the new investigation – being carried out by archaeologists from the universities’ of Birmingham, Bradford and Vienna – massively increases the evidence linking Stonehenge to pre-historic solar religious beliefs. It increases the likelihood that the site was originally and primarily associated with sun worship
The investigations have also enabled archaeologists to reconstruct the detailed route of a possible religious procession or other ritual event which they suspect may have taken place annually to the north of Stonehenge.
That putative pre-historic religious ‘procession’ (or, more specifically, the evidence suggesting its route) has implications for understanding Stonehenge’s prehistoric religious function – and suggests that the significance of the site Stonehenge now occupies emerged earlier than has previously been appreciated.