Good evening folks! Thanks for tuning in to another episode of I Know What You Did Last Summer 10000 Years Ago! On today’s episode, we’ll be discussing about the Stonehenge. Oh, so you’ve heard about it? But you don’t know what it is though! Well lucky you’re here because now you’ll finally understand all the attention it’s been getting!
A little background information on the Stonehenge, for those who’ve never heard of it before. They’re basically these boulders that have been planted in a circular formation. OK hold up, I’m not so good at describing so here’s a picture of the Stonehenge (if you haven’t seen at the beginning of the post).
So it’s been said that they were built probably in the year 5,000 BCE. Think about it, these stones were erected before machines existed. The Stonehenge is made up of 2 circles, one outer circle and one inner circle. The outer circle is made of heavier and bigger stones that weigh at least 50 tons (45359.237 kg) each. The inner circle is made of smaller Bluestones that weigh around 4 tons (3628.73896 kg) each. That’s like 157,771 chicken nuggets! Imagine how they constructed the Stonehenge, without the use of machines! Thought about it? Well let me tell you something to confuzzle your brain a bit more. Research has been done to the stones and scientist have concluded that the bluestones were not from the Stonehenge area. In fact, the bluestones originated from 240 miles (386.243 km) away. Like whuuuut??? How did they even transport stones that heavy over such a distance? Yeah… Humans are wonderful creatures, you and I included. I mean there have been theories about it, like maybe they rolled the stones with logs or the glacial sheets carried it over to Salisbury Plain, which is where the Stonehenge is located. But nothing is for sure as of now.
I hope that made you a little bit more interested in the Stonehenge, it’ll help me convince to you that the Stonehenge is important to understand human behaviour in today’s world as it has pioneered how societies live. Oh hey, did I mention that the Stonehenge was designated a World Heritage Site in 1986. Why are a bunch of rocks a World Heritage Site? These “bunch of stones” as you call it is actually an important part of the Neolithic community who settled down in the Salisbury Plain area. The Neolithic age is the period of human culture that began 10,000 years ago.
It’s been said that the Stonehenge was used for ceremonial and mortuary practices. This was the main reason why the Stonehenge became a World Heritage Site. I mean, the people from the Neolithic age are already mysterious as it is and if we don’t preserve this site, we wouldn’t know much about them. Them, being the people who pioneered settling down in societies and communities, the people who evolved from being nomads.
Pssh, what does that have to do with the Stonehenge? Let’s put on our historian caps! Before the Neolithic age, humans were basically nomads, where they move around wherever they think there are resources for them to live like food and water. Being nomads, they carry around the basic necessities that ensures their survival. They don’t have any use for structures like the Stonehenge. They just stay somewhere for a few nights and move on somewhere else where the grass is greener, get what I’m saying? But with the erection (don’t giggle) of the Stonehenge, it can be inferred that people started staying put in an area for longer periods of time. Not only from the fact that if they were going to move on in a couple of days, they wouldn’t have built it but also from the duration it took for these people to build the Stonehenge.
Going back to the purpose of the Stonehenge; nomads probably didn’t have proper burial sites from their constant travelling (remember the poor Kennewick Man I wrote for my previous blog post). The fact that the Stonehenge was used as a burial site means that there are several bodies in the area that was buried over a long period of time, suggesting that people actually settled down in that area.
I hope you’re halfway convinced by now, but let me really sell it to you. Let me ask you a question. Would you and maybe a group of friends just decide to build something so labor intensive and stick to it just because? I mean clearly there had to be some sort of an authority figure that spearheaded the project. The Neolithic people were the ones who created this idea of authority, leadership of someone who should guide the community. Before the Neolithic age, nomads mainly travelled with their families, which isn’t very big. The leader who was often the older and most capable male in the group lead their family.
With just one monument, we were able to understand the pioneers who helped shape us into the society we now live in. The Stonehenge is one of the biggest Neolithic monuments on Earth, giving us the most information on the people who created communities similar to ones we live in. Without them, we probably might still be nomads right now. We owe it to them for settling down.
Thanks for tuning in! Till next time folks!