Διαφορά μεταξύ των αναθεωρήσεων του «Στόουνχεντζ»

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To '''Στόουνχεντζ''' είναι [[Νεολιθική περίοδος|νεολιθικό]] μεγαλιθικό μνημείο του οποίου η διαμόρφωση συνεχίστηκε ως την [[Εποχή του Χαλκού]], κοντά στο Έιμσμπερι (Amesbury) της [[Αγγλία|Αγγλίας]] στην κομητεία του Γουΐλτσιρ (Wiltshire), περίπου 13 χλμ βορειοδυτικά του Σώλσμπερι (Salisbury). Πρόκειται για έναν κύκλο [[Μεγάλιθος|μεγαλίθων]], που κατασκευάστηκε σύμφωνα με τις πλέον αποδεκτές [[Αρχαιολογία|αρχαιολογικές]] εκτιμήσεις ανάμεσα στο [[2500 π.Χ.]] και το [[2000 π.Χ.]]. Το αρχαιότερο κυκλικό ανάχωμα και η περιφερειακή τάφρος, που ανήκουν σε πρωιμότερη φάση του μνημείου, χρονολογήθηκαν προσφάτως περί το [[3100 π.Χ.]].
 
Το όνομα Στόουνχεντζ (Stonehenge) προέρχεται από τις αρχαίες αγγλικές λέξεις ''Stanhen gist'', που σημαίνουν 'κρεμαστοί λίθοι' και έδωσαν το όνομά τους σε μια ολόκληρη κατηγορία μνημείων γνωστών ως ''henge(s)'', δηλαδή κυκλικές ή οβάλ σχήματος περιοχές με διακριτά χαρακτηριστικά τους το κυκλικό ανάχωμα και την τάφρο που το περιβάλλει. Οι αρχαιολόγοι καθορίζουν τα ''henge(s)'' ως εκχωματώσεις που συνίστανται από ένα κυκλικό έγκλεισμα, περιβεβλημένο με κρηπιδωμένη κυκλική τάφρο. Όπως συμβαίνει συχνά με την αρχαιολογική ορολογία, η λέξη είναι δάνεια από τους παλιούς αρχαιοδίφες. Όμως, ο όρος ''henge'' δεν είναι και ο καταλληλότερος για την περιγραφή του Στόουνχεντζ, στην περίπτωση του οποίου το κρηπίδωμα βρίσκεται εσωτερικά της τάφρου. Παρόλο που το Στόουνχεντζ ως μνημείο είναι σύγχρονο άλλων τυπικότερων. Το σύνολό του δεν είναι δυνατόν να καταχωρηθεί σε κάποια κατηγορία. Μορφολογικά έχει μακρινή μόνον συγγένεια με τους υπόλοιπους λίθινους κύκλους των Βρετανικών νήσων, όπως ο [[κύκλος του Μπρόντγκαρ]] (Ring of Brodgar), για παράδειγμα, ενώ τα περίφημα τρίλιθά του το καθιστούν μοναδικό. Το Στόουνχεντζ και ο περιβάλλων χώρος του προστέθηκαν στον [[Κατάλογος Μνημείων Παγκόσμιας Κληρονομιάς|κατάλογο]] της [[UNESCO]] για την [[Μνημείο Παγκόσμιας Κληρονομιάς|Παγκόσμια Πολιτισμική Κληρονομιά]] το [[1986]].
 
== Ποιοι έχτισαν το Στόουνχετζ ==
 
Μέχρι σήμερα οι μελετητές και οι αρχαιολόγοι δεν γνωρίζουν ποιοι ήταν αυτοί που έχτισαν το μεγαλιθικό αυτό μνημείο. Οι μαρτυρίες που έχουμε είναι αμφισβητούμενες και είναι οι εξής:
* Ο [[Τζέφρεϊ του Μονμάουθ]] το [[1135]] μ.Χ., στο έργο του ''Ιστορία των Βασιλέων της Βρετανίας'' (''Historia Regum Britanniae'') αναφέρει ότι το μνημείο διέταξε να αναγερθεί από το βασιλιά των [[Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο|Βρετανών]] Αυρήλιου Αμβρόσιου εις ανάμνηση της άγριας σφαγής, απο τον Χέωγκιστ το Σάξονα, 500 ευγενών το [[490]] μ.Χ. Για να κατασκευάσει το μνημείο ο Αμβρόσιος ζήτησε τη βοήθεια του μάγου [[Μέρλιν]] (Μίριν στα κέλτικα), ο οποίος συμβούλεψε να πάρουν τους ογκόλιθους από τη νήσο της [[Ιρλανδία|Ιρλανδίας]] από ένα άλλο μεγαλιθικό μνημείο στη θέση Κίλαρ. Επειδή οι ογκόλιθοι ήταν τεράστιοι, ο [[Μέρλιν]] ανέλαβε τη μεταφορά τους όπου με μαγικό τρόπο "έκανε τις πέτρες να χορεύουν πάνω από τη θάλασσα" όπως γράφει ο [[Τζέφρεϊ του Μονμάουθ|Μόνμαουθ]]. Σύμφωνα με τους μελετητές, ο παραπάνω μύθος έχει ελάχιστα πραγματικά στοιχεία και δημιουργήθηκε κυρίως για να προβάλει το βρετανικό παρελθόν έναντι του σαξονικού, καθώς ο μύθος γράφτηκε τη περίοδο της νορμανδικής κυριαρχίας στη [[Μεγάλη Βρετανία|Βρετανία]].
* Ο Γουόλτερ Τσάρλτον εκφράζει τη πεποίθηση ότι το μνημείο ανεγέρθη από τους [[δανία|Δανούς]] και αποτελούσε το κοινοβούλιο τους. Την άποψη αυτή τη βρίσκουμε καταγεγραμμένη το [[1663]] στο βιβλίο του Τσάρλτον ''Χορεία γιγάντων ή το Στόουνχετζ επανακτάται από τους Δανούς'' (''Chorea gigantum or Stone-Heng restored to the Danes'')
* Ο Τζον Όμπρεϊ στο έργο του ''Μνημείο Βρετανικό'' (''Monumenta Britannica'') υποστηρίζει ότι το Στόουνχετζ ήταν ναός χτισμένος από τους [[Δρυΐδες]] και ανήκε στη δικαιοδοσία τους.
* Ο [[Εκαταίος ο Αβδηρίτης]] και ο [[Διόδωρος ο Σικελιώτης]] αναφέρουν στα έργα τους έναν λαό με το όνομα [[Υπερβόρειοι]], οι οποίοι κατοικούσαν σε ένα νησί πέρα από τη γη των [[Κέλτες|Κελτών]] της [[Γαλατία|Γαλατίας]] (σημερινή [[Γαλλία]]) και είχαν κατασκευάσει έναν μεγάλο κυκλικό ναό όπου λατρεύανε το θεό [[Απόλλων|Απόλλωνα]]. Κατά πολλούς μελετητές, αυτή η εκδοχή θεωρείται αληθινή, καθώς το Στόουνχετζ χρησιμοποιούνταν ως παρατηρητήριο για τη θέση του ήλιου, πράγμα που μπορεί να μπέρδεψαν οι [[αρχαίοι Έλληνες]] εξερευνητές με τη λατρεία του Ήλιου, που για τους ίδιους ταυτιζόταν με τον θεό [[Απόλλων|Απόλλωνα]].
Μέχρι σήμερα μελετητές από όλο τον κόσμο υποστηρίζουν πως το μνημείο είτε χτίστηκε από [[Μυκηναϊκός πολιτισμός|Μυκηναίους]], είτε από [[Αρχαία Ρώμη|Ρωμαίους]], είτε από [[Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο|Βρετανούς]], ενώ ορισμένοι υποστηρίζουν την κατασκευή του ακόμα και από εξωγήινους πολιτισμούς.
* Το [[1740]] ο Γουίλιαμ Στάκλεϊ δημοσιεύει το βιβλίο του ''Στόουνχετζ, Ένας ναός επανακτάται από τους Βρετανούς Δρυΐδες'' (''Stonehenge, A temple restored to the British Druids'') στο οποίο παραθέτει στοιχεία τις περιοχής, που προέκυψαν μέσω δεκαετούς έρευνας, μαζί με αξονομετρικό σχέδιο του μνημείου και με ακριβείς μετρήσεις αυτού. Ο Στάκλεϊ επανεξέτασε την υπόθεση ότι το έχτισαν οι [[Δρυΐδες]] και αποφάσισε ότι είναι η μόνη πιθανή εξήγηση για το ποίος ανέγειρε αυτό το μνημείο.
Μέχρι σήμερα μελετητές από όλο τον κόσμο υποστηρίζουν πως το μνημείο είτε χτίστηκε από [[Μυκηναϊκός πολιτισμός|Μυκηναίους]], είτε από [[Αρχαία Ρώμη|Ρωμαίους]], είτε από [[Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο|Βρετανούς]], ενώ ορισμένοι υποστηρίζουν την κατασκευή του ακόμα και από εξωγήινους πολιτισμούς. Τα μόνα σίγουρα στοιχεία για το Στόουνχετζ, την ανέγερσή του και τη χρήση του είναι ότι:
* Σύμφωνα με πετρογραφική ανάλυση των ογκόλιθων, οι επιστήμονες διαπίστωσαν ότι αυτοί οι μονόλιθοι λαξεύτηκαν και μεταφέρθηκαν από λατομεία της [[Ουαλία|Ουαλίας]] και της νοτιοδυτικής [[Αγγλία|Αγγλίας]].
* Σύμφωνα με τη χρήση αστρονομικών διαγραμμάτων, οι αρχαιολόγοι υπολόγισαν ότι το μνημείο παρέμεινε σε χρήση για 1.500 χρόνια περίπου ως λατρευτικός χώρος και ως αστρονομικό παρατηρητήριο.
* Με τη χρήση ραδιενεργών μετρήσεων οι αρχαιολόγοι υπολογίζουν ότι ανεγέρθη μεταξύ του [[3000 π.χ.]] και του [[2000 π.χ]].
 
== Η Ανάπτυξη του Στόουνχεντζ ==
 
[[Αρχείο:Stonehenge_plan.jpg|right|thumb|Σχέδιο του Στόουνχεντζ σήμερα σύμφωνα με τον Cleal et al και Pitts]]
 
Το σύμπλεγμα του Στόουνχεντζ ολοκληρώθηκε σε αρκετές φάσεις κατασκευής που εκτίνονται σε χρόνικό βάθος 2.000 χρόνων αν και υπάρχουν ευρήματα που μαρτυρούν δραστηριότητα (βλ. [[Τοξότης του Στόουνχεντζ]]) πριν και μετά από αυτή τη χρονική περίοδο. Οι αρχαιολόγοι έχουν ανακαλύψει [[Μεσολιθική περίοδος|μεσολιθικές]] [[πασσαλότρυπα|πασσαλότρυπες]], κάτω από το σύγχρονο χώρο στάθμευσης, που χρονολογούνται περίπου από το [[8000 π.Χ.]], αν και επιβεβαιώνεται ότι συνδέονται με το μεταγενέστερο μνημείο. Τα ταφικά ευρήματα ενός αποκεφαλισμένου Σάξωνα στην ίδια περιοχή χρονολογούνται από τον [[7ος αιώνας|7ο αιώνα]]. H χρονολόγηση και η κατανόηση των διαφορετικών φάσεων του Στόουνχεντζ δεν είναι απλή υπόθεση. Είναι μια μάλλον περίπλοκη διαδικασία που στηρίζεται στα ελλιπή αρχεία των πρώτων ανασκαφών, σε πολύ λίγες ακριβείς επιστημονικά χρονολογήσεις και τη διατάραξη της φυσικής κιμωλίας του εδάφους από ανακατατάξεις της ύστερης παγετώδους και φυσικές διαταράξεις της πανίδας. Οι γενικότερα αποδεκτές φάσεις ολοκλήρωσης του μνημείου ακολουθούν λεπτομερειακά παρακάτω. Τα χαρακτηριστικά που αναφέρονται στο κείμενο είναι αριθμημένα στην εικόνα που δείχνει τις αλλαγές του αρχαιολογικού τοπίου. Στο σχέδιο παραβλέπονται τα τρίλιθα για λόγους σαφήνειας. Τρύπες που δεν περιέχουν ή δεν περιείχαν ποτέ λίθους φαίνονται ως ανοικτοί κύκλοι, ενώ οι λίθοι που υφίστανται έως σήμερα παρατίθενται με διαφορετικό χρώμα.
 
=== Στόουνχεντζ 1 ===
 
[[Αρχείο:Stonehenge phase one.jpg|left|thumb|90 px|Στόουνχεντζ 1]]
Το αρχικό μνημείο ήταν ένα κυκλικό ανάχωμα περιβεβλημένο με τάφρο ''(7 and 8)'' περίπου 115 μ. (320 πόδια) διάμετρο με μια μεγάλη είσοδο βορειοανατολικά και μια μικρότερη νότια ''(14)''. Οι πρώτοι οικοδόμοι τοποθέτησαν οστά ελαφιών και βοδιών στον πυθμένα της τάφρου, πολύ αρχαιότερα από τα οστέινα εργαλεία εκσκαφής που ανακαλύφθηκαν επί τόπου. Το χρονολογικό βάθος τοποθετείται περίπου στο 3100 π.Χ.. στο εξωτερικό χείλος της περικλεισμένης περιοχής είχε σκαφθεί ένας κύκλος 56 λάκκων ''(13)'', που εμειναν γνωστοί ως τρύπες του Όμπρεϊ (Aubrey holes), από τον αρχαιοδίφη του [[17ος αιώνας|17ου αιώνα]] Τζον Όμπρεϊ (John Aubrey), που λέγεται ότι τους ανακάλυψε πρώτος. Πιθανώς επρόκειτο για πασσαλότρυπες, αν και δε βρέθηκαν ίχνη ξυλείας κατά τις ανασκαφές. Μια μικρή εξωτερική της τάφρου εκχωμάτωση ανήκει πιθανώς στην ίδια περίοδο ''(9)''.
 
=== Στόουνχεντζ 2 ===
 
Ορατές μαρτυρίες της δεύτερης φάσης δεν υπάρχουν πλέον. Όπως φαίνεται από τις πασσαλότρυπες που χρονολογούνται στη συγκεκριμένη περίοδο υπήρξε κάποια ξύλινη κατασκευή στον περίκλειστο χώρο στην αρχή της 3ης χιλιετηρίδας π.Χ. Φαίνεται πως ξύλινες κατασκευές υπήρχαν επίσης στη βορειοανατολική είσοδο, ενώ παράλληλοι δοκοί απλώνονταν από την νότια είσοδο. Το ανάχωμα εκσκάφθηκε για να μειωθεί το ύψος του, ενώ τουλάχιστον στις 25 από τις τρύπες του Όμπρεϊ βρέθηκαν ταφικά ευρήματα που επιβεβαιώνουν την καύση νεκρών. Άσχετα, λοιπόν, από τον αρχικό προορισμό τους οι πασσαλότρυπες φαίνεται πως έγιναν τάφοι ενός ιδιαίτερου τύπου κατά την Φάση 2. Τριάντα επιπλέον καύσεις επιβεβαιώνονται σε άλλα σημεία μέσα στο μνημείο, κυρίως στην πλευρά του ανατολικού ημικύκλιου. Αυτός είναι και ο λόγος για τον οποίο ενίοτε το Στόουνχεντζ ερμηνεύεται ως περίκλειστος χώρος καύσης νεκρών εκείνης της εποχής, ο αρχαιότερος του είδους του στα βρετανικά νησιά. Σπαράγματα άκαυστων ανθρώπινων οστών βρέθηκαν επίσης στην τάφρο. Βρέθηκαν επίσης κεραμεικά της ύστερης [[Νεολιθική|Νεολιθικής]] που βοηθούν στη σχετική χρονολόγηση της συγκεκριμένης φάσης.
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===Stonehenge 3i===
Archaeological excavation has indicated that around [[2600 BC]], two concentric crescents of holes (called the Q and R Holes) were dug in the centre of the site. Again, there is little firm dating evidence for this phase. The holes held 80 standing [[bluestone]]s ''(shown blue on the plan)'' brought from the [[Preseli Hills]], 250 km away in modern day [[Pembrokeshire]] in [[Wales]]. The stones, which weighed about four tons, consisted mostly of spotted [[dolerite]] but included examples of [[rhyolite]], [[tuff]] and volcanic and calcareous ash. What was to become known as the [[Altar Stone]] ''(1)'', a six ton specimen of green micaceous sandstone twice the height of the bluestones, was also brought from Wales and may have stood as a single large monolith.
 
The north eastern entrance was also widened at this time with the result that it precisely matched the direction of the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset of the period. This phase of the monument was abandoned unfinished however, the bluestones were apparently removed and the Q and R holes purposefully backfilled. Even so, the monument appears to have eclipsed the site at [[Avebury]] in importance towards the end of this phase and the [[Amesbury Archer]], found in [[2002]] three miles (5 km) to the south, would have seen the site in this state.
 
The [[Heel Stone]] ''(5)'' may also have been erected outside the north eastern entrance during this period although it cannot be securely dated and may have been installed at any time in phase 3. At first, a second stone, now no longer visible, joined it. Two, or possibly three, large portal stones were set up just inside the northeastern entrance of which only one, the fallen Slaughter Stone ''(4)'', 16 ;ft (4.9 ;m) long, now remains. Other features loosely dated to phase 3 include the four [[Station Stones]] ''(6)'', two of which stood atop mounds. The mounds are known as 'barrows' although they do not contain burials ''(2 and 3)''. The [[avenue (archaeology)|Avenue]], ''(10)'', a parallel pair of ditches and banks leading 3 km to the [[River Avon, Hampshire|River Avon]] was also added. Ditches were later dug around the Station Stones and the Heel Stone, which was by then reduced to a single monolith.
 
===Stonehenge 3ii===
 
The next major phase of activity at the tail end of the [[3rd millennium BC]] saw 74 enormous [[Sarsen]] stones ''(shown grey on the plan)'' brought from a quarry around 20 miles (30 km) north to the site on the [[Marlborough Downs]]. The stones were dressed and fashioned with [[mortise and tenon]] joints before 30 were erected as a 30 m diameter circle of standing stones with a 'lintel' of 29 stones resting on top. Each weighed around 25 tons and had clearly been worked with the final effect in mind. The [[orthostat]]s widen slightly towards the top in order that their perspective remains constant as they rise up from the ground whilst the lintel stones curve slightly to continue the circular appearance of the earlier monument.
 
Within this circle stood five [[trilithon]]s of dressed [[sarsen]] stone arranged in a horseshoe shape. These huge stones, ten uprights and five lintels, weigh up to 50 tons each and were again linked using complex jointings. The images of a 'dagger' and 14 'axe-heads' have been recorded carved on one of the sarsens, known as stone 53. Further axe-head carvings have been seen on the outer faces of stones known as numbers 3, 4, and 5. They are difficult to date but are morphologically similar to later Bronze Age weapons.
 
This ambitious phase is radiocarbon dated to between [[2440 BC|2440]] and [[2100 BC]].
 
===Stonehenge 3iii===
 
Later in the Bronze Age, the bluestones appear to have been re-erected for the first time although the precise details of this period are still unclear.
 
===Stonehenge 3iv===
 
This phase saw further rearrangement of the bluestones as they were placed in a circle between the two settings of sarsens and in an oval in the very centre. Some archaeologists argue that some of the bluestones in this period were part of a second group brought from Wales. The Altar Stone may have been moved within the oval. Although this would seem the most impressive phase of work, Stonehenge 3iv was rather shabbily built compared to its immediate predecessors, the newly re-installed bluestones were not at all well founded and began to fall over. This period dates from [[2280 BC|2280]] to [[1930 BC]].
 
===Stonehenge 3v===
 
Soon afterwards, part of the northern section of the Phase 3iv Bluestone circle was removed, creating a horseshoe-shaped setting termed the Bluestone Horseshoe. This mirrored the shape of the central sarsen Trilithons and dates from [[2270 BC|2270]] to [[1930 BC]]. This phase is contemporary with the famous [[Seahenge]] site in [[Norfolk]].
 
===Stonehenge 3vi===
 
Two further rings of pits were dug just outside the stone circle, called the Y and Z Holes ''(11 and 12)''. These were each of thirty pits but were never filled with stones however and were permitted to silt up over the next few centuries; their upper fills contain [[Iron Age]] and [[Roman Britain|Roman]] material. Monument building at Stonehenge appears to have been abandoned around [[1600 BC]].
 
==Theories about Stonehenge==
 
===Early interpretations===
[[Αρχείο:Stonehenge_Wide_Angle.jpg|thumb|right|Stonehenge, 2004]]
 
Many early historians were influenced by supernatural [[Stonehenge#Myths and legends|folktales]] in their explanations
 
In [[1615]], [[Inigo Jones]] argued that it was a [[Roman temple]], dedicated to [[Cnelus]], a pagan god, and built following the [[Classical_orders#Tuscan_order|Tuscan order]]. Later commentators maintained that it was erected by the [[Danes]]. Indeed, up until the late nineteenth century, the site was commonly attributed to Saxon or other, relatively later societies.
 
The first academic effort to survey and understand the monument was made around [[1740]] by [[William Stukeley]]. As was his wont, Stukeley incorrectly attributed the site to the [[Druidry|Druid]]s. He contributed measured drawings of the site, which permitted greater analysis of its form and significance. From this work he was able to demonstrate the astronomical or calendrical significance of the stones' placement.
 
By the turn of the nineteenth century, [[John Lubbock]] was able to attribute the site to the Bronze Age based on the bronze objects found in the nearby [[barrow]]s.
 
===Archaeoastronomy and Stonehenge===
 
The monument is aligned north east - south west and it has been often suggested that particular significance was placed by its builders on the [[solstice]] and [[equinox]] points so that for example, on midsummer's morning, the sun rose close to the Heel Stone, and the sun's first rays went directly into the centre of the monument between the horseshoe arrangement. It is unlikely that such an alignment can have been merely accidental.
 
A huge debate was triggered by the [[1963]] publication of Stonehenge Decoded, by British born astronomer [[Gerald Hawkins]], who claimed to see a large number of alignments, both lunar and solar and argued that Stonehenge could have been used to predict eclipses. Hawkins' book received wide publicity, partly because he used a computer in his calculations, then a rarity. Archaeologists were suspicious in the face of further contributions to the debate coming from British astronomer C. A. Newham and Sir [[Fred Hoyle]], the famous Cambridge Cosmologist, as well as by [[Alexander Thom]], a retired professor of engineering who had been studying stone circles for more than 20 years. Their theories have faced criticism in recent decades from [[Richard Atkinson]] and others who have suggested impracticalities in the 'Stone Age calculator' interpretative approach.
 
Today, the consensus is that some of the astronomical case, although not all, was overstated. Even so, since the sun rises in different directions in different geographical latitudes, for the alignment to be correct, it must have been calculated precisely for Stonehenge's [[latitude]] of 51° 11'. This alignment, therefore, must have been fundamental to the design and placement of at least some of Stonehenge's phases. The recent discovery of a neighbour to the Heel Stone has challenged the interpretation of it as a midsummer sunrise marker and it may have instead been one side of a 'solar corridor' used to frame the sunrise. [[Sun mythology|Sun worship]] is certainly not an uncommon phenomenon amongst Neolithic peoples given their reliance on it for crop fertility.
 
As a result, [[archaeoastronomy|archaeoastronomers]] have claimed that Stonehenge represents an "ancient observatory," although the extent of its use for that purpose is in dispute. Some have theorised that it represents the female sexual organs ([http://www.observer.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,992215,00.html Article from The Observer]), a computer or even an alien landing site.
 
===The bluestones===
 
[[Roger Mercer]] has observed that the bluestones are incongruously finely worked and has suggested that they were transferred to Salisbury Plain from an as yet unlocated earlier monument in [[Pembrokeshire]]. Most other archaeologists agree that the Bluestones are only roughly worked however compared with the sarsens. If Mercer's theory is correct then the bluestones may have been transplanted to cement an alliance or display superiority over a conquered enemy although this can only be speculation. Oval shaped settings of bluestones similar to those at Stonehenge 3iv are also known at the sites of [[Bedd Arthur]] in the Preseli Hills and at [[Skomer Island]] off the southwest coast of Pembrokeshire. Some archaeologists have suggested that the igneous bluestones and sedimentary sarsens had some symbolism, of a union between two cultures from different landscapes and therefore from different backgrounds.
 
Recent analysis of contemporary burials found nearby known as the [[Boscombe Bowmen]], has indicated that at least some of the individuals associated with Stonehenge 3 did indeed come from modern day Wales. [[Petrology|Petrological]] analysis of the stones themselves has verified that they could only have come from the Preseli Hills and it is tempting to connect the two.
 
[[Aubrey Burl]] contends that the bluestones were not transported by human agency at all and were instead brought by [[glacier]]s at least part of the way from Wales during the [[Pleistocene]]. No geological evidence has been found for any glacial activity between Preseli and Salisbury Plain however and no further specimens of the unusual dolerite stone have been found in the vicinity.
 
===Stonehenge as part of a ritual landscape===
Many archaeologists believe Stonehenge was an attempt to render in permanent stone the more common timber structures that dotted Salisbury Plain at the time, such as those that stood at [[Durrington Walls]]. Modern [[Anthropology|anthropological]] evidence has been used by [[Mike Parker Pearson]] and the [[Madagascar|Madagascan]] archaeologist [[Ramilisonina]] to suggest that timber was associated with the living and stone with the ancestral dead. They have argued that Stonehenge was the terminus of a long, ritualised funerary procession, which began in the east at sunrise at [[Woodhenge]] and [[Durrington Walls]], moved down the Avon and then along the Avenue reaching Stonehenge in the west at sunset. The journey from wood to stone via water was a symbolic journey from life to death. There is no satisfactory evidence to suggest that Stonehenge's astronomical alignments were anything more than symbolic and current interpretations favour a ritual role for the monument that takes into account its numerous burials and its presence within a wider landscape of sacred sites.
 
===Construction techniques and design===
[[Αρχείο:Stonehenge_Closeup.jpg|thumb|right|Closeup of Stonehenge]]
 
Much speculation has also surrounded the engineering feats required to build Stonehenge. Assuming that the bluestones were brought from Wales by hand and not transported by glaciers as Aubrey Burl has claimed, various methods of moving them relying only on timber and rope have been suggested. During 2001, in an exercise in [[experimental archaeology]], an attempt was made to transport a large stone along a land and sea route from Wales to Stonehenge. Volunteers pulled it on a wooden sledge over land but once transferred to a replica prehistoric boat, the stone sank in rough seas in the [[Bristol Channel]].
 
It has been conjectured that timber [[A frame]]s were erected to raise the stones and that teams of people hauled them upright using ropes. The topmost stones may have been raised up incrementally on timber platforms and slid into place or pushed up ramps. The carpentry-type joints used on the stones imply a people well-skilled in woodworking and they could easily have had the knowledge to erect the monument using such methods.
 
[[Alexander Thom]] was of the opinion that the site was laid out with the necessary precision using his [[megalithic yard]].
 
The engraved weapons on the sarsens are unique in megalithic art in the British Isles where more abstract designs were favoured. Similarly the horseshoe arrangements of stones are unusual in a culture that otherwise arranged stones in circles. The axe motif is, however, common to the peoples of [[Brittany]] at the time and it has been suggested that at least two stages of Stonehenge were built under continental influence. This would go some way towards explaining the monument's atypical design, but overall, Stonehenge is still inexplicably unusual in the context of any prehistoric European culture.
 
Estimates of the manpower needed to build the various phases of Stonehenge put the total effort involved at millions of hours work. Stonehenge 1 probably needed around 11,000 hours work, Stonehenge 2 around 360,000 and the various parts of Stonehenge 3 may have involved up to 1.75 million hours work. The working of the stones is estimated to have required around 20 million hours work using the primitive tools available at the time. Certainly, the will to produce such a site must have been strong and it is considered that advanced social organisation would have been necessary to build and maintain it.
 
==Excavations at Stonehenge==
 
The first recorded excavations at Stonehenge were carried out by [[William Cunnington]] and [[Richard Colt Hoare]]. In 1798, Cunnington investigated the pit beneath a recently-fallen trilithon and in 1810, both men dug beneath the fallen Slaughter Stone and concluded that it had once stood up. They may have also excavated one of the Aubrey Holes beneath it. In [[1839]], one Captain Beamish dug around the Altar Stone and a little later [[Charles Darwin]] was granted permission by the Antrobus family who owned Stonehenge to hold a small excavation to test his theories about [[earthworm]] activity burying ancient structures. On New Year's Eve [[1900]], another trilithon fell over and Sir Edmund Antrobus undertook to right it and set it in concrete. Following public pressure and a letter to ''[[The Times]]'' by [[William Flinders Petrie]], he agreed to re-erect the stones under archaeological supervision so that records could be made of the below ground archaeology. Antrobus appointed a mining engineer [[William Gowland]] to manage the job who despite having no previous archaeological experience produced some of the finest, most detailed excavation records ever made at the monument. Gowland established that antler picks had been used to dig the stone holes and that the stones themselves had been worked to shape on site.
 
The largest excavation at Stonehenge was undertaken by Colonel [[William Hawley]] and his assistant [[Robert Newall]] after the site had come into state hands. Their work began in 1919, funded by the [[Office of Works]], and continued until 1926. The two men excavated portions of most of the features at Stonehenge and were the first to establish that it was a multi-phase site.
 
In [[1950]] the [[Society of Antiquaries]] commissioned [[Richard Atkinson]], [[Stuart Piggott]] and [[Marcus Stone]] to carry out further excavations. They recovered many cremations and developed the phasing that still dominates much of what is written about Stonehenge.
 
In [[1979]] and [[1980]] Mike Pitts led two smaller investigations as part of service trenching, close by the heelstone, finding the evidence for its neighbour. More recent excavations have been held to mitigate the effects of electrical cables, sewage pipes, and a footpath through the site.
 
==Recent history==
 
By the beginning of the [[20th century]] many of the bluestones were leaning precariously, probably due to the increase in curious visitors clambering on them during the nineteenth century. Additionally two of the [[trilithon]]s had fallen over during the modern era. Three phases of conservation work were undertaken which righted unstable or fallen stones and carefully replaced them in their original positions using information from antiquarian drawings. If nothing else, this means that Stonehenge is not quite as timeless as its tourist publicity would suggest and that as with most historic monuments, conservation work has been undertaken.
 
Stonehenge remains a place of pilgrimage for [[Neo-druidism|neo-druid]]s and those following [[paganism|pagan]] or [[neo-pagan]] beliefs. It was the site of the [[Stonehenge free festival]] held between [[1972]] and [[1984]], and loosely organised by the [[Politantric Circle]]. However, in [[1985]] the festival was banned by the British government. A consequence of this was the violent confrontation between the police and new age travellers that became known as the [[Battle of the Beanfield]]. There was then no access for almost fifteen years until [[Roundtable Access]] was negotiated.
 
In more recent years, the setting of the monument has been affected by the proximity of the [[A303 road]] between Amesbury and Winterbourne Stoke, and the [[A344 road|A344]]. Projects for moving the road or placing it in a tunnel under the site have been proposed in the past, but these have often been opposed as they are either too expensive or too destructive. In early [[2003]] the [[Department for Transport]] announced that the A303 would be upgraded, including the construction of the [[Stonehenge road tunnel]]. The plans are still controversial and the government has not yet finalised the plans.
 
Also announced is a new heritage centre, which should be open in [[2006]]. Current provision for visitors has often been criticised; in [[1993]] Stonehenge's presentation was condemned by the Public Accounts Committee of the [[British House of Commons|British House of Commons]] as 'a national disgrace'. Even so, the plans for the new centre have aroused significant controversy especially from nearby landowners and residents. English Heritage proposes a new purpose-built facility 3km from the stones at Countess Road in Amesbury, on the edge of the World Heritage Site boundary. Visitors would be ferried to and from drop off points near the monument by [[land train]]s. They would then approach the stones themselves on foot for the final kilometre.
 
Locals in Amesbury have complained that the scheme would shift traffic congestion from Stonehenge to their own village. They have also suggested that the necessary time that the public would now have to spend travelling to and from Stonehenge would likely dissuade many visitors, especially American and Japanese tourists on whistle-stop tours of England, to visit at all.
 
By [[2008]], the new road schemes should be completed and the old roads closed. Costs for the new road and visitor facilities are estimated at £270m by English Heritage.
 
[[Αρχείο:Stonehengesunset.jpg|left|thumb|Stonehenge at sunset]]
 
==Myths and legends==
 
''The Heel Stone'' was once known as the Friar's Heel. A folk tale, which cannot be dated earlier than the seventeenth century, relates the origin of the name of this stone: ''The [[Devil]] bought the stones from a woman in Ireland, wrapped them up, and brought them to Salisbury plain. One of the stones fell into the [[River Avon, Hampshire|Avon]], the rest were carried to the plain. The Devil then cried out, "No-one will ever find out how these stones came here." A friar replied, "That's what you think!," whereupon the devil threw one of the stones at him and struck him on the heel. The stone stuck in the ground, and is still there.''
 
[[Αρχείο:Heelstone.JPG|right|thumb|230px|The Heel Stone]]
Some claim "Friar's Heel" is a corruption of "Freya's He-ol" or "Freya Sul", from the Germanic goddess [[Freya]] and (allegedly) the Welsh words for "way" and "sun day" respectively.
 
Stonehenge is associated with [[King Arthur|Arthurian legend]]. [[Geoffrey of Monmouth]] said that [[Merlin (wizard)|Merlin]] directed its removal from [[Ireland]], where it had been constructed on [[Mount Killaraus]] by [[Giant (mythology)|Giant]]s who brought the stones from [[Africa]]. After it had been rebuilt near Amesbury, Geoffrey further narrates how first [[Ambrosius Aurelianus]], then [[Uther Pendragon]], and finally [[Constantine III of Rome|Constantine III]], were buried inside the ring of stones. In many places in his ''Historia Regum Britanniae'' Geoffrey mixes British legend and his own imagination; it is intriguing that he connects Ambrosius Aurelianus with this prehistoric monument, seeing how there is place-name evidence to connect Ambrosius with nearby Amesbury.
 
==Replicas and derivative names==
 
There is a full-size replica of Stonehenge as it would have been before decay at [[Maryhill, Washington|Maryhill]] in [[Washington|Washington State]], built by [[Samuel Hill|Sam Hill]] as a war memorial. It is even aligned to the midsummer sunrise, but to the true position of the sun at the virtual horizon, rather than the apparent position of the sun at the actual landscape horizon.
 
[[Black Sabbath|Black Sabbath]] featured a Stonehenge stage set for the 1983-1984 Born Again tour that ended up being too large to fit in most venues. When bassist Geezer Butler was initially asked by the stage designer how he visualized the Stonehenge set, Butler responded, "Life size, of course." This was ridiculed in the movie ''[[Spinal Tap (band)|This is Spinal Tap]]'', when the band orders a Stonehenge set but it arrives in miniature.
 
[[Carhenge]] was constructed from vintage American cars near [[Alliance]], [[Nebraska]] by the artist Jim Reynolds in 1987. A full-size Strawhenge has been constructed in [[Kemnath]], [[Bavaria]], Germany in 2003 from 350 bales of straw. There is another replica, called [[Stonehenge II]], on FM 1340 west of [[Hunt, Texas]], USA. The grid reference is 30°04.428'N,99°21.530'W.
 
[[America's Stonehenge]] is an unusual and controversial site in the United States of America whilst [http://www.strohhenge.de Strohhenge] is a German music festival.
 
A full-size replica of Stonehenge made out of [[foam]] - and inevitably called [[Foamhenge]] - stands near [[Natural Bridge, Virginia]]. [http://www.tackytreasures.com/tackyhtml/places-foamhenge.html]
 
[[Stonehenge Aotearoa]] in the [[Wairarapa]] region of [[New Zealand]] is a modern adaption aligned with the astronomy seen from the Antipodes, it was built by the [http://www.astronomynz.org.nz/stonehenge/stonehenge.htm Phoenix Astronomical Society].
 
In November 2004, a 7 m diameter circle of postholes was found in Russia and publicised as the Russian Stonehenge.
 
A nearby henge containing concentric rings of postholes, discovered in [[1922]], was named [[Woodhenge]] because of similarities with Stonehenge.
 
The [http://www.umr.edu/ University of Missouri at Rolla] has a half-scale replica located on campus. [http://web.umr.edu/~stonehen/ UMR Stonehenge] is constructed from solid granite, not easily eroded sandstone (like the original), nor wood, drywall, and sprayed concrete (like the one in New Zealand).-->
 
== Προτεινόμενη Βιβλιογραφία ==
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