A Journey into Mystery at Stonehenge from Southampton
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If there's one place that shows up on more than its fair share of bucket lists, it's Stonehenge. Something about this ring of enormous stones – transported great distances and precisely assembled without any modern tech (like, say, even a wheel) – grabs your mind and won't let go.
Unlike the folks who brought us the Great Pyramids around the same time, this Neolithic culture left zero written records re: their intentions, reasons, or construction tricks. Not a single papyrus. So we're all just guessing at an explanation. Even the scientists.
For instance: The biggest stones, the sarsens, stand 25 feet tall and weigh upwards of 25 tons. How were they manipulated? The smaller "bluestones" only weigh about 4 tons – but somehow got here from quarries 200 miles away, in Wales. How? Sledges and rollers? Rafts and rivers? Alien spaceships? All of the above?
Then there's the whole who-built-it question. Crazy ideas abound. For a few centuries, everyone thought Merlin did. Really. In the 1600s, a prominent archaeologist active on the site conjectured it was the work of Celtic high priests known as Druids – and that theory held water awhile. Even today, committed neo-Druids converge on the area each year to celebrate the summer solstice. And whatever else Druids celebrate.
But the real stumper is: Why was it built? The most prevalent answer is: "Dunno." Despite a cavalcade of theories – some based on sound science, others on complete hooey – the true purpose of this unforgettable monument is the most tantalizing of its mysteries.
Hey, maybe you can answer that for us when you come.
The biggest threat to Stonehenge? The Griswolds
Stonehenge has seen many a human and environmental threat to its existence, but none more vivid than Clark Griswold and the fam, in National Lampoon's European Vacation. At the end of their visit, Clark waxes poetic about the importance of this monument to future generations – then knocks it completely down, domino-style, as he backs up his car to leave. Google it. Priceless.
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