Stonehenge founding pushed back 500 years

Archaeologists have provided further confirmation of the astrotheological nature of Stonehenge and that the site is centuries if not millennia older than previously thought. Stonehenge is aligned not only to the sun’s milestones but also to lunar phases, as well as other celestial phenomena, and the site has turned out to be an archaic astronomical computer. Since it is likewise clearly a sacred site, Stonehenge represents one of the preeminent astrotheological locations in the world.

Stonehenge (Photo: Independent UK0Secret history of Stonehenge revealed

Extraordinary new discoveries are shedding new light on why Britain’s most famous ancient site, Stonehenge, was built – and when.

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 putatively 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.

The crucial new archaeological evidence was discovered during on-going survey work around Stonehenge in which archaeologists have been ‘x-raying’ the ground, using ground-penetrating radar and other geophysical investigative techniques. As the archaeological team from Birmingham and Vienna were using these high-tech systems to map the interior of a major prehistoric enclosure (the so-called ‘Cursus’) near Stonehenge, they discovered two great pits, one towards the enclosure’s eastern end, the other nearer its western end.

When they modelled the relationship between these newly-discovered Cursus pits and Stonehenge on their computer system, they realised that, viewed from the so-called ‘Heel Stone’ at Stonehenge, the pits were aligned with sunrise and sunset on the longest day of the year – the summer solstice (midsummer’s day). The chances of those two alignments being purely coincidental are extremely low….

On midsummer’s day there are in fact three key alignments – not just sunrise and sunset, but also midday (the highest point the sun reaches in its annual cycle). For at noon the key alignment should be due south….

This realization that the sun hovering over the site of  Stonehenge at its highest point in the year appears to have been of great importance to prehistoric people, is itself of potential significance. For it suggests that the site’s association with the veneration of the sun was perhaps even greater than previously realized.

But the discovery of the Cursus pits, the discovery of the solar alignments and of the putative ‘processional’ route, reveals something else as well – something that could potentially turn the accepted chronology of the Stonehenge landscape on its head.

For decades, modern archaeology has held that Stonehenge was a relative latecomer to the area – and that the other large monument in that landscape – the Cursus – pre-dated it by up to 500 years.

However, the implication of the new evidence is that, in a sense, the story may have been the other way round, i.e. that the site of Stonehenge was sacred before the Cursus was built…

…Unless the midday alignment is a pure coincidence (which is unlikely), it  would imply  that the Stonehenge site’s sacred status is at least 500 years older than previously thought – a fact which raises an intriguing possibility.

…45 years ago, archaeologists found an 8000 BC Mesolithic (‘Middle’ Stone Age) ritual site in what is now Stonehenge’s car park. The five thousand year gap between that Mesolithic sacred site and Stonehenge itself meant that most archaeologists thought that ‘sacred’ continuity between the two was inherently unlikely. But, with the new discoveries, the time gap has potentially narrowed. Indeed, it’s not known for how long the site of Stonehenge was sacred prior to the construction of the Cursus. So, very long term traditions of geographical sanctity in relation to Britain’s and the world’s best known ancient monument, may now need to be considered….

As we can see, the ancients were keenly aware of important astronomical alignments and utilized them as key aspects of their religious worship, which revolved largely around nature worship, especially of the sun, moon, planets, stars, constellations and other celestial phenomena.

For more information on this subject of ancient astronomically aligned sacred sites, please see my 2012 Astrotheology Calendar.

Further Reading

Ancient Observatories Found Worldwide
Astrotheology of the Ancients
2012 Astrotheology Calendar

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  1. Stonehenge Sky Clarity, Then And Now.
    I remember when I visited my brother for the first time at his house in the Vail, Colorado area in the early 1970’s. I remember driving over the Colorado mountains and reaching the high altitude of Vail.

    When I got out of my car, my brother and his wife said, “Hey! You made it!”

    Then he said something unusual. He said, “Before we go inside or discuss anything, I want you to do one thing.”

    I quickly wondered what he could possibly want me to do at 12 midnight standing at the top of an 8000 foot Colorado mountain.

    He said, “Look up!” with his finger pointing upward.

    My eyes followed his pointing finger and I looked up and couldn’t believe what I saw.

    I saw more stars and clusters of white dots than I had ever seen in my life. The midnight blue sky was covered with white dots.

    Never in the Midwest, where I had grown up, had I ever seen so many stars in the night sky.

    The polluted Midwestern city that I grew up in is almost at sea level and few stars are visible in the night sky.

    My trip to Vail was my first experience at an elevation of 8000 feet.

    The number of celestial objects that one sees in the sky in Colorado at 8000 feet is far greater than the number one sees in the sky in a polluted Midwestern city at sea level.

    So I wonder:

    Stonehenge is in Wiltshire.

    What is the altitude of Wiltshire?

    Is Wiltshire near a polluted city?

    Four thousand years ago when the builders and practitioners of Stonehenge were living, how much more clear was the (unpolluted) sky in comparison to the clarity of Wiltshire’s sky today in 2011? That is, on the (clearest) day, does a person standing today at Stonehenge see the same number of stars and celestial objects as what a person standing in the same spot would have seen four thousand years ago? Or did the person standing at Stonehenge four thousand years ago see two or three or four times as many celestial objects than a person who stands at Stonehenge today?

    Knowing which celestial objects a Stonehenger saw four thousand years ago would give today’s Stonehegologists a better idea of what the complete purpose of Stonehenge was way back then.

    In fact, key celestial objects that were visible and of great importance to the Stonehengers, may be blocked and not visible because of today’s pollution.

    A scientist should try to answer my questions.

    If, four thousand years ago, the Stonehenge people saw the same number of celestial objects that I saw when I looked into the Colorado sky, I can understand why the Stonehenge people were amazed by the sun and all else that they saw in the sky.

    Clusters of bright objects were in the sky year after year but the Stonehengers couldn’t reach out and (touch) them; whereas everything else in the life of a Stonehenger that (could) be (seen), could also be (touched). And that, I’ll bet, bamboozled the Stonehengers and may be what caused them to build Stonehenge.

    1. Stars
      I’ve lived in the Midwest since birth. Last weekend, about 24 miles to the west of Minneapolis, we sat under the skies and saw thousands of starts. Not polluted here!

  2. simon
    Is there any map or ground plan showing the relative positions and sizes of the stones and the Cursus and the surrounding?

    I pass by Stonehenge regularly and I notice that most (all?) the close-by “grave” mounds (tumps) are placed on the horizon as seen from Stonehenge. I think they are ‘transit’ markers, like the stones themselves, and when used with the stones mark alignments with astronomical events..

  3. Interesting Place
    “A.S. Wrote” “>…to be an archaic astronomical computer.” Nice article A.S.

    Yes indeeed–and one that ‘when decoded’ properly. Will provide the true history of Humanity living with the Gods. I’ve heard other certain groups mention (I won’t mention), that it encodes the history of humanity.

    I’m a bit of a maverick. I’d toss out the suggestion that the whole edifice is older that 200,000 years old. But as always–that date terrifies certain researchers. The tonnage weight of certain stones in the arrangement, defies modern lifting cranes. They’ll have to solve that query first. And also learn something about the “Ancient Science” of Symbolism.

    A race of human giants lived on the earth long ago. The dinasaurs have dwarfed down in modern size akin to the modern lizard. Why not man too? Because they have found no skeleton? What about cremation? How do you explain all these sunken cities around the globe sitting at the bottom of seas?

    A.S. and others, I thought you may enjoy this link. It’s a ‘Symbolical Parable’, so don’t take literally what you read or see. I love the 9 and 3 encryption. Oh–and it sits on ‘five’ acres, but more importantly, it sits in the “North West” of GA. It needs to be read, “allegorically”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rosIIteigNc

    I’ve studied the symbolism on this GA monument. And it’s beautiful. Then again, so is stonehenge! Comparative Religion / Mythology / Symbolism /Geometry / Philosophy etc.; should be under one Q.V. They’ll never crack the “Code” until these sciences come together.
    Always remember–nothing was placed in these edifices around the globe without a “Divine” reason.

  4. Hunter-Gatherer Society’s
    Gee Acharya I reckon that your text is correct. As we progressed into being civilized I think that we developed and learnt many important things. Why would the solstice be important? Well if you knew what time of the year it was then you would also know what game and what plants were available to hunt, gather and eat. The “hunter-gatherers” would have also created religion to initiate their youth into their tribal group. There was no readily available contraceptives back then and so the initiatory rites would have been to test the youth as to who they perceived themselves to be and what they perceived themselves as doing in their lives. If the youth were acceptable then welcome to the tribe and if not then they they were removed, in one way or another because as there were no contraceptives available any initiatory failure was easily replaced. A bit like being a “washout” in a modern Motorcycle Club.

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