October 16th, 2018 / posted by paularath

Stonehenge, almost sunset                                            Photos by Jerry Mayfield

Stonehenge is, without a doubt, the most famous set of rocks in England.

However, there are many other henges and rock circles scattered around the landscape, mainly in the Wiltshire District of Southwest England.

We hired Anne Martis of ToursByLocals to take us to Wiltshire and show us several significant henges. Anne, who lives in the Cotswolds, is highly knowledgeable about this part of the country. She planned our day perfectly, so that we would catch the last shuttle from the museum to Stonehenge and have this incredible place almost to ourselves at sunset.

An Avebury stone circle

We visited Avebury first. This is a Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles, including the largest megalithic stone circle in the world.  It was constructed over several hundred years, from 3700 – 3500 BC. It is a place of religious importance to contemporary pagans, and we saw a small group sitting in a circle near the male and female rocks, clearly absorbed in their thoughts.

These rocks at Avebury are called the male and female rocks.

 

My watercolor interpretation of the Male and Female Avebury rocks leaning in toward one another.

 

Entryway to the West Kennet Long Barrow

We then walked up Silbury Hill to the West Kennet Long Barrow, a Neolithic chambered tomb (also called a barrow). You can walk right inside the passage to experience the atmospheric internal burial chambers, where some 50 skeletons were discovered. It is estimated that 15,700 man hours were spent in its construction.

Rocks leading to the entry to West Kennet Long Barrow

Archaeologists date the construction to around 3600 BC, around 400 years before the first stage of Stonehenge, and it was used until around 2500 BC. It was such a moving experience to walk through that sacred burial place!

A Wiltshire white chalk horse carving

Only about a mile away is one of seven white chalk horse figures carved into the English landscape around 3,000 years ago.

Ahhhh…Stonehenge!

When I lived in London in 1967-68, my roommate was sort of Twiggy-looking model named Caroline. She was a bit of a wild child, and on New Year’s Eve she and some of her friends piled into her tiny red Triumph and drove from our flat in Earl’s Court to Stonehenge. I heard tales of their dancing and drinking among the rocks until sunrise. I suspect it was orgies such as this one that now prevent the rest of us from getting close to the rocks. There are ropes that prevent visitors from getting closer than about ten feet away.

A different side of Stonehenge

It’s okay, though! This place, sacred to so many, still holds a spell, especially as the sun starts to sink in the sky.

Mahalo to Anne Martis for insisting we have a photo taken at Stonehenge.

Stonehenge is Britain’s most celebrated prehistoric monument, thought to be between 4,000 and 5,000 years old. No one knows why it was built, but some believe it was constructed as an astronomical observatory or a sanctuary for a sun worshiping cult, or perhaps a combination of the two.

Regardless of its original purpose, Stonehenge holds tremendous power over anyone who stops to appreciate its awe-inspiring beauty.

Paula Rath

 

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Norm
October 17th, 2018 at 3:01 am

Have you been to the birthing stones near Wahiawa? And on Molokai there are stones where they did human sacrifices.

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