Posted by: travelrat | January 31, 2014

Bluestones

The bluestones are the smaller ones to the left of the picture

The bluestones are the smaller ones to the left of the picture

In the beginning was the Ditch. This is a circular ditch called a ‘henge’, which gives Stonehenge its name. But, there weren’t any stones here yet, although many archaeologists think there may have been a circle of timber posts, like at Woodhenge. Some think the pits known as ‘Aubrey Holes’, after the 17th Century antiquarian who first noticed them, may have been the sockets for these posts.

Then came the Bluestones. These are rocks of spotted dolerite, which are so called because they look blue when freshly broken, and were believed by some to have magical or curative properties.

They are only found in the Preseli Hills, in far-off Wales, so they must have been thought pretty special to have been transported all this way. The theory that they were brought overland all the way is fairly unlikely, for bluestones have been found at the bottom of the Bristol Channel, and are usually assumed to be from a seaborne consignment that came to grief.

It’s not known, though, whether they were landed on the Somerset coast, and hauled overland, or undertook the long and hazardous voyage around the Lizard, to be sailed up the River Avon to Amesbury.

Over the centuries, it’s believed the stones were re-arranged several times; indeed, Dr. Mike Parker Pearson suggested they may originally have formed a circle where the Avenue meets the river.

Thus, a new place name was added to the archaeologist’s gazetteer … Bluestonehenge!


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