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Stonehenge: Cultural Background [message #76586] Thu, 30 May 2013 00:05 Go to next message
jmm is currently offline  jmm
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Message-ID: <152@bonnie.UUCP>
Date: Fri, 6-Jul-84 12:56:19 EDT
Article-I.D.: bonnie.152
Posted: Fri Jul  6 12:56:19 1984
Date-Received: Sat, 7-Jul-84 02:41:51 EDT
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	Note:	The following article is not intended to present any new
		concepts concerning Stonehenge, but only to give the reader
		a better backround concerning the people who built it.

	Among the pantheon of gods worshipped by the ancient Celts, one of the
most important was the sun god, named "Bel". Half of the year in the Celtic
calendar was named "Beltaine" in honor of Bel. The ancient symbol of Bel can
still be seen in many places in the modern world, on churches, buildings,
tombstones. Bel's symbol was what we call today the Celtic cross (a cross
surrounded by a circle), although it was Bel's sign for probably a thousand
years or more before the time of Christ and before its adoption as a symbol of
Christ by the Church. So we can say that the movements of the sun were watched
with great interest by the ancient Celts.
	Another fact which is of interest about these people is that although
they had writing, a script called Ogham, they did not trust many things to the
written word because they were wary that anyone who was not accepted by them
could acquire their knowledge. And so they committed most of their knowledge
to memorization. They used rhyme and rhythm as a sort of Cyclical Redundancy
Check on the content of their memorization. Their scholars had to study their
various fields for many years to acquire a title which would be the equivalent
of "doctor" today. Indeed they may have been the first to set up a system of
colleges or universities. Later, after Christianity arrived, Irish monks
founded the universities of Iona in Scotland and Oxford in England.
	One modern survivor of this system of memorization is the seanachai
(shan-a-kee) or storyteller. These storytellers had to memorize hundreds of
historical and traditional tales which were retold at various prescribed times
of the year. At the end of each telling the seanachai would swear an oath that
he had not added or altered any part of the story. The ancient Celts were also
known to have a great facility with foreign languages and with oratory.
	Another point that many people are not aware of is the fact that
Stonehenge is not an isolated phenomenon. There are many other similar sites
in the British Isles (Scotland, Ireland and Wales) and on the continent of
Europe which reveal a continuity of development which eventually led to
Stonehenge. Another associated phenomenon is the system of old Celtic pathways
running in precise straight lines over much of Britain and other sites on the
continent of Europe. These pathways are called ley lines and are periodically
punctuated by standing stones. In addition these ley lines also have
astronomical alignments. One very good book on this subject is John Michell's
"Secrets of the Stones".
	In his book Mitchell mentions "...statements by Caesar and other old
historians about the great traditions of astronomy and philosophy held by the
Druids and taught in their famous schools...". Furthermore, he says:

		"Both leys and ancient astronomers had been dismissed by
	archaeologists as being against the 'historical evidence'. Now both
	had been vindicated by the astronomers' discovery that the significant
	sun and moon alignments at Stonehenge pointed to a succession of
	other ancient sites over distances of many miles and with stretches
	of ancient track in between. Stonehenge was no longer an isolated
	monument but the centre of a vast system of astronomically placed
	stations extending far across the Wessex landscape, almost as the
	Rev. E. Duke saw it a century earlier, a 'giant orrery' spread out
	over Salisbury Plain.
		Nor is it the only such system. Its outlying stations must
	have served as mark points for other astronomical centres, and thus
	the entirety of Neolithic 'ritual' sites in northern Europe may be
	seen as the relic of an ancient scientific enterprise, conducted over
	many centuries and presumably directed by a central college of
	astronomer-priests whose authority was everywhere accepted.
	Archaeologists for some unapparent reason had been struggling hard
	to break the popular association of megalithic monuments with Druidism,
	when suddenly science restored the Druids to their old temple,
	Stonehenge, wiser and more venerable than before."

					J. M. McGhee
					bonnie!jmm
Re: Stonehenge: Cultural Background [message #76588 is a reply to message #76586] Thu, 30 May 2013 00:05 Go to previous message
lmc is currently offline  lmc
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Message-ID: <496@denelcor.UUCP>
Date: Sun, 15-Jul-84 00:20:02 EDT
Article-I.D.: denelcor.496
Posted: Sun Jul 15 00:20:02 1984
Date-Received: Thu, 12-Jul-84 03:19:58 EDT
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It is my understanding that the earliest dated work on Stonehenge I is
dated from ~2775 BC by "megalithic peoples" living at that time across all
of western Europe.  The work through its various stages lasted about 1200
years, bringing the latest date for construction at Stonehenge to ~1575 BC.
Megalithic building seems to have ended across all of Europe at about that
time.  A shift in culture occured, bring in the cultures known as the
Beaker People, the Battle Ax and Corded Ware people (it is unknown whether
these were invaders, or just culture changes).  One fairly certain invasion
of the Urnfield Culture did occur between 1200BC and 700BC.

At about 800BC the Pre-Celtic culture arrived in waves from central Europe.
To quote one author, "The Celts were not a people to band together in peace
and indulge in the slow work of erecting megaliths; their efforts at
construction were limited to hill-forts to protect themselves from one
another."

Hawkins in "Stonehenge Decoded" is adament; the Celts did not build
Stonehenge.  To them, it was probably at least as mysterious as it is to
ourselves.
-- 
		Lyle McElhaney
		(hao,brl-bmd,nbires,csu-cs,scgvaxd)!denelcor!lmc
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