By: Celtic Bard Jeff
Many scholars have suspected that the monuments of Stonehenge were carefully arranged to function as some type of calendar. In an article just published in the Antiquity Publications Ltd , archaeologist Timothy Darvill from Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom disclosed what he believes is the most likely solution to the enigma: the Stonehenge solar calendar.
“The numerology of these sarsen [large standing stone] elements materializes a perpetual [Stonehenge solar] calendar based on a tropical solar year of 365.25 days,” Professor Darvill wrote in his paper. He acknowledges that ancients in northwestern Europe could have developed such a calendar on their own. But he is intrigued by the possibility that they imported the Stonehenge solar calendar concept from somewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean region, like Egypt, where solar calendars were most certainly used in ancient times.
Construction work began at Stonehenge in approximately 3,000 BC. Notably, the stone sarsens that Darvill believes form a calendar were all quarried (from the same location) and erected at about the same time, between the years 2,620 and 2,480 BC. This suggests the monumental site was used for another reason originally, before being converted into a solar calendar.
Stonehenge in its current form consists of three distinct sections. The largest and most prominent of these is the Sarsen Circle, which several thousand years ago would have consisted of 30 tall standing stones arranged in a circle. The majority of these are still standing today, although seven have fallen and six were removed from the site by thieves or scavengers at some point.
Bridges were formed by heavy rock lintels that were placed on top of the standing stones. However, only a few of these connecting lintels are still in place, the rest have either fallen off or are missing.
There are wider-than-usual gaps between some of the stones, which act to separate the 30 stones into three distinct subsets of 10. The first stones in the second and third sets are smaller than the other 30 stones in the circle, which reinforces the notion that some type of division was intended.
The second section at Stonehenge includes five huge monuments known as the Trilithons. These were placed inside the Sarsen Circle, arranged in a horseshoe shape that curves from the southwest at the bottom to the northeast at the top. The largest of the stones is the one that directly faces the southwestern sky, while the smallest are those that are aligned to face northeast.
The third group of stones includes four much smaller sarsens, which were placed at four points around the Sarsen Circle to form a 260-foot by 100-foot (80-meter by 30-meter) rectangle. This formation is known as the Station Stone Rectangle. Only two of these stones is still in place, but it is always possible to establish where standing stones once stood at Stonehenge because of the empty sockets that can be found in the ground.
Significantly, the Stonehenge site is bisected (divided in half) by a straight axis that is oriented from southwest to northeast. This means that all the standing stones are divided into two equal sections that mirror each other on either side of the axis. On its two ends the axis points to the exact spots in the sky where the sun sets on the winter solstice sun and rises on the summer solstice, linking together the two most important milestones of the solar year.
For Darvill, all the information a person needs to decode the true meaning of Stonehenge is found in these alignments and arrangements. Darvill’s hypothesis is evidence-based, and it will require an evidence-based counterargument if it is to be refuted.
Source: Ancient Origins Image: The Stonehenge Trilithons were placed inside the Sarsen Circle, arranged in a horseshoe shape that curves from the southwest at the bottom to the northeast at the top. (Public domain )