Landscape Architect, Sarah Ewbank, has recently shown pictures (below) of how she imagines Stonehenge might once have looked. She pictures a wooden roof structure resting on the stone pillars, which might then have been covered in thatch.
All sorts of theories about Stonehenge have been put forward over the centuries, but her idea that it was simply a large meeting house is one of the more sensible. Its uses could have been various; a parliament, court, temple, crematorium, show ground, wedding centre, or general meeting house. Who knows!
Ms Ewbank claims that academics refuse to discuss her theory, and that doesn't surprise me. Complex 'astronomical calculator' theories are far more the realm of Oxbridge professors. Those who had worked hard for their MA's or PhD's would never admit that it had simply been an early version of London's Greenwich O2 arena.
Occasionally life IS simple, and as hard as one might try to look for complex answers to simple questions, it's always best to investigate all aspects, from the very basic to the most compounded. One should always ask 'What would those people, all those years ago, really have wanted, or needed?'.
I have a funny feeling that Ms Ewbank is right. Some of the more 'scientific' or 'mumbo-jumbo' theories really are far-fetched.
Stonehenge is estimated to have been built around 5,000 years ago. This possibly similar structure, (below), in my nearby village, was built in 1270. Stone supports, wooden roof structure, tiles instead of thatch, and used for all purposes. It does sound very similar.
There are, of course, plenty of unanswered questions about Stonehenge, but I'm sure Ms Ewbank has many of them right.
I'm reminded of a documentary on Stonehenge that I watched on PBS. Realizing it is not Stonehedge, was a reality raw moment. Anyway, experiments were done to determine what sound types might have been made when the structure was in use way back when. Methinks now after reading here, the experiments would be more scientifically accurate, acoustics wise, if they brought Ms Ewbanks on board to build her structure.ReplyDelete
Maybe there should be a Stonehenge 2, built to her specifications. I have never thought that what exists now, is all there ever was. A thatched roof sounds very plausible.Delete
Nothing should be discounted; even the Space Cadet theories.Delete
A more romantic hypothesis than it being an indicator of the summer solstice. They already knew about that as they popped the rocks in the right place.ReplyDelete
A better indicator might have been some very fine stones; the wide spaces between the very un-uniform, large, rocks, could point to almost anything. With such room for error, one could even claim that they predicted the weather!Delete
I like the concept she has theorised but I wouldn't employ her if I wanted to keep Druids dry whilst they sacrificed vegans. They wouldn't have thought of Dorma windows has they had nothing to keep the rain out.Delete
The amount of timber required to support such a structure would need to be multiplied by ten or a hundred fold. The Ms is an idiot.
PS. She would be a shoe in for Fife Council plannersDelete
I am not sure of the veracity of this but I think I read somewhere that some of the stones had been repositioned way way back due to them having fallen haphazardly over time. There may have been some guesswork involved as to their original positions.ReplyDelete
I think a lot are still on the ground, and others are missing. The site has gone through many changes over the millennia.Delete
Interesting and viable theory but what scale would those timbers in her model be given the size of the stones? One would expect to see some notches in the remaining capstones that the huge rafters were seated in perhaps?ReplyDelete
They would have been huge and weighed tons. I have only put one such Oak beam in place; it was four metres long and was 20 by 20 cms thick. I could hardly lift it from the ground, and eventually had to enrol the help of a tractor. It would never move.Delete
It was very interesting to visit and more interesting to me is how the stone was transported. I agree, go for the simple answer first and if that doesn't fit in some way, then start theorising.ReplyDelete
Life is often far more simple than one imagines. But, of course, it's far more fun for the 'experts' to look for the most complicated.Delete
Of course what she fails to mention is that the joinery used on her models didn't even exist for another thousand years even in places as advanced as Egypt. Or even that producing such beams of that length with copper chisels and axes nigh on impossible. It's why Britain was still so heavily forested when the Romans arrived well over 1000 years later.ReplyDelete
With enough people, and a good supply of flint axe heads, they could easily have fashioned a reasonable wooden structure. I don't see that as a problem.Delete
Would such a building as she suggests, warrant the production and transport of such big stones from Presseli. ??ReplyDelete
Would anything have warranted bring them all that way?Delete
They transported the stone for Norwich Cathedral all the way from France and carried it up through the city from the river. They did all sorts of things that today we think impossibly difficult because we view them in our own time. Flints were transported from Norfolk to continental Europe. I don't think distance or time was a bother to ancient people.Delete
Nor, I think, was labour. If a huge stone took a year to be brought down from Wales to the south, then that was what it took! Why worry.Delete
Yes, that is what I think.Delete
Who know what they are, but they were better when you could actually walk round and touch them.ReplyDelete
The last time I went, we could still walk around... but that was in 1970-ish. You could see my watercolours I did at the time by typing Stonehenge into the search strip. It should be there somewhere.Delete
I can't imagine why they would transport those stones all that way just for a meeting house. As you say, England was heavily forested and they could have used timber.ReplyDelete
I have no idea, maybe they were the nearest big solid stones available.Delete
Interesting idea Cro.ReplyDelete
Simple explanations are often the best.Delete
Much of old history is open to interpretation isn't it Cro ? Even old letters and manuscripts are questionable as so many lied and made things up to gain power. Stonehenge could be as simple as a meeting house. XXXXReplyDelete
It makes sense in my opinion; it seems logical.Delete
Did Ms Ewbank also design carpet cleaners?ReplyDelete
Yes, pre-electricity ones!Delete
Well I notice she has a book on it, and have read many ideas on the subject of 'what Stonehenge is for'. But another large stone circle Stanton Drew, had originally 19 concentric timber circles at its centre. Someone put forward the theory that it was a miniature forest to teach how to chase wild boar!ReplyDelete
Geoffrey of Monmouth I think said the Stonehenge stones had come from Ireland under the magician Merlin's handiwork....
When I was a student I remember reading a theory that the stones had been flown down from Wales by aliens, etc.Delete
All these old stone ruins are fascinating. I've been to Stonehenge a few times, in the 70s, and was lucky to be able to wander through them.ReplyDelete
Who knows what it really was. 'ritual' and 'lined up with the stars' are nearly always used as explanations.
I like the simple theories though I'd like to know, why those huge stones, and how they were moved
Probably much like the huge stones of the Pyramids. Rolled on logs, and taken across rivers by rafts. I don't suppose time mattered too much.Delete
Very interesting theory. Like local alien I was lucky enough to be able to wander through them in the 70s.ReplyDelete
Me too. I did some watercolours.Delete
Me too, the only time I have ever seen stonehenge, we parked by the side of the road and ran up to it and played around the stones. No other cars around, no other people, I can still see it now. I was about 17.Delete
So interesting about Stonehenge. Ms. Ewbanks makes sense.ReplyDelete
I think so. Things are not always complicated.Delete
Your 1270 structure is nicely constructed and provides a good shelter for many purposes. I like the idea that it is built with the needs of the community in mind. The mystery of Stonehenge lives on. I found the physical placement of the stone fascinating.ReplyDelete
Our local 'Halle' is very typical of all the Bastide Towns in S W France. I imagine they were originally market places; not unlike the ancient 'Butter Markets' found in the UK. In medieval times people were more practical.Delete
I've recently read a book which convincingly argues they're a big memory palace to store all manner of knowledge from that pre-literate time. There's a whole complex to Stonehenge and its surrounds which has been lost. But all the theories are quite fantastic!ReplyDelete
A 'Bodleian Library' from another age; an interesting idea!Delete
I can see that.ReplyDelete
It makes sense.Delete
We can only speculate what structures like Stonehenge were used for. I believe they were used for a variety of situations, and there are plenty of anthropologists, archaeologists, and apparently landscape architects believe so as well. Look at how often the theories of Chaco Canyon (here in New Mexico) have changed over the years. Believing that it could house thousands? Bunk, there's not enough resources to provide for all those people for more than a month or so. The most recent theory is that it was used for ceremonies and gatherings (for marriages, etc.ReplyDelete
Not unlike Ms Ewbank's theory about Stonehenge.Delete