How would you like to watch the sun rise at Stonehenge on the day of the summer solstice? No problem. We can do this.
Usually that would involve being there with over 20,000 of your closest pagan friends. Not this strange year. The event will be eerily quiet yet millions of people will be watching it.
For the first time ever, English Heritage, the organisation that manages the site, will livestream the rising of the sun on the Northern Hemisphere’s longest day but there will be no-one, other than production crew, at the site itself.
Somehow that seems really weird. Here’s this 5000 year-old monument- there’s still no clear and certain understanding of its purpose – being seen on digital devices right around the world.
I wonder what the original builders would make of that.
We are always learning about the monument
Our understanding of the culture that built the monument evolves all the time.
In the 1920s it was discovered that the bluestones, the smaller stones in the inner ring, came from a quarry in the Presili Mountains in Wales.
That begged the question “Why would the builders go 290km away to get stone when there was plenty of local material close by?”
After all, it’s not an easy job to haul stones weighing three to five tons all that way without the aid of cranes and Kenworth trucks, let alone anything even vaguely resembling a road.
It is now thought that they were part of an earlier tomb built near the quarry in Pembrokeshire.
For some reason the Neolithic people that built it decided to move east so they disassembled the tomb and took it with them. It clearly must have had great cultural or emotional significance for them to invest so much time and hard physical labour in the project.
It seems that the stones may even have been used in another monument on Salisbury Plain prior to being moved to Stonehenge. In 1801 an identical bluestone was unearth at Warminster, 15 miles west of the Stonehenge site.
You can, virtually, visit Stonehenge at any time by going to https://stonehengeskyscape.co.uk/ It’s particularly interesting at night when the website displays a computer generated image of the night sky above the monument.
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