Click here to support the Daily Grail for as little as $US1 per month on Patreon
Stonehenge megaliths

Stonehenge: Solstices, science and spiritualism

Stonehenge remains the undisputed king of British megalithic sites, even though there is no shortage of other sites that could rival, and even surpass it, depending on how you measure the interest factor. It long ago became so embedded in the public psyche that it is perhaps the only one of its many ‘rivals’ that is a household name across the globe.

One of the primary fascinations with Stonehenge is the huge size of the stones, erected in the depths of prehistory, that did not serve a ‘practical’ purpose – they weren’t used to construct housing/shelter, but instead served a ceremonial function that likely had some sort of spiritual/religious connection. As Dr Heather Sebire from English Heritage notes in the video below, “it’s somewhere special where people are coming together, [and] made a huge effort to delineate this amazing space with these huge stones as part of it.”

Although Stonehenge did not seem to serve as a settlement, there are nevertheless a number of ‘cremation burials’ in the pits around the site, providing more evidence that it served some sort of spiritual or ritualistic purpose. And perhaps the final key to the mystique of Stonehenge is the fact that a number of astronomical alignments have been discovered, perhaps most obviously its alignment with the solstices (the point where Sun is at its furtherest deviation from rising and setting due east/west, corresponding to the shortest or longest days of the year, for winter or summer solstice respectively):

Stonehenge is built on a solstice alignment, a solar alignment, and what happens is at what we call ‘midsummer’ the sun rises in the northeastern horizon, comes up side of the heelstone – which is one of the stones that’s a bit of an outlier [from the main circle] – and shines right into the center here and lands on a stone that we know as the ‘altar stone’.

Conversely then at midwinter, if you stand in the center you could have watched the sun setting down to the southwestern horizon. And we think for those people it was probably more important because they would have known it was like the turningof the year and the the days will get longer [from them on].

Mobile menu - fractal