New Insights Into Stonehenge

Stonehenge is one of the most iconic and famous archaeological sites in the world. This prehistoric temple, erected in the late Neolithic period around 3000 BC, has captured the imagination of people from all walks of life. But even now, over 1500 years after it was built, its secrets remain shrouded in mystery.

The monument was designed by a group of Beaker People, an ethnic group that lived in the southern part of England from the early Neolithic era (2200 B.C.) until the end of the Bronze Age (300 AD). It was carved out of the landscape in two phases, the first from around 2200 to 3000 B.C. The site has since become a world-famous tourist attraction, visited by thousands of tourists each year.

There have been many theories over the centuries as to what Stonehenge might have been used for. It has been suggested to have served as a religious temple, an astronomical observatory or even a cemetery.

Amongst the most popular ideas was that the stones were carved by druids, or the priests of an ancient god. This idea was put forward by John Aubrey and William Stukeley in the 17th century.

It was also thought that a large number of the stones were placed in the ground by giants. However, there is no evidence to support this theory.

Another common theory suggests that the stones were erected to mark the solstices, the seasons of the moon, and so were used as a calendar. The stones were positioned in such a way as to face the rising and setting sun.

Finally, a third hypothesis is that Stonehenge was a ceremonial centre or shrine. It was believed that a group of people would assemble around the stones during certain times to worship a particular god or goddess, or to perform specific rituals.

This was an idea that has remained a part of the monument's story since it was first discovered in the 19th century, although this theory is now considered unsound.

New insights into stonehenge
Detailed analysis of the data gathered by a laser-scan survey reveals that up to half a dozen other carvings were made on the stones at Stonehenge, but never been visually identified before now. These images reveal that the stones were engraved with a variety of different shapes - including axe heads and daggers.

The axe-head images, in particular, are of significant interest to archaeologists. Axe-heads are known to have been associated with storm deities and in some surviving European folklore, they were thought to be powerful magical talismans.

They may have been engraved as votive offerings to placate these storm deities and so protect crops, people and property from lightning damage. This is a possibility, but it seems far more likely that they were made as part of a larger 'art gallery' on the stones, allowing them to be viewed by anyone.

In addition to the axe-heads, many of the other carvings reveal that they were made using tools such as a stone chisel and a hammer. The hammer, for example, was a very basic tool used for cutting the sandstone stones that were in the henge's construction. The stone chisel, on the other hand, was probably a much more sophisticated and advanced piece of equipment.

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