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Thursday, 3 March 2011

Stonehenge Unhinged

 ... and here is Stonehenge Unhinged, which has now been on YouTube for some time, upsetting a few people in the process!


Amber said...

Brian, I doubt you'll publish this comment... but here goes.
The YouTube is rather like a send-up for Blackadder Does Prehistory! ;)
The crotchety commentator didn't actually make a case for much... but simply added his determinist speculations and scoffed at the Stonehenge Perfection enthusiasts. Yawn. So what if wasn't ever a completed circle of sarsens? What if it wasn't intended to be?
And, reasonably, if Stonehenge (and Avebury Complex et al) were constructed of nearby opportunity materials left by the glaciers -- are they any less inspiring?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Amber, I'm always willing to publish comments, even rude ones, so long as they are not offensive and are relevant! OK -- you are welcome to your opinion. The crotchety commentator (me!) was simply trying to make one point -- that the standard story of Stonehenge is based on much less science and observation than we are led to believe, and is based on a whole host of shaky assumptions. I'm sorry if it made you yawn, or told you nothing new. But why do archaeologists refuse to say this sort of thing, and why do they so slavishly follow the party line? They have simply gone along with what they are told to believe -- and that ultimately is a disservice to archaeology.

I have never said that Stonehenge and Avebury are not inspiring. They ARE impressive, as monuments to ambition or as statements of some great aspiration. It is the technical ability and the persistence of the builders (and maybe their motivation and state of organization) that I am asking questions about. And yes, I do feel rather irritated when people lavish so much REVERENCE on Stonehenge that they stop thinking rationally.


Are you not at all startled by the sheer audacity of the prehistoric people as they fashioned the sarcens on a woodworking model? They seem to have decided to apply the same woodworking principles that were used at Woodhenge and Durrington Walls and elsewhere in wooden circles, to their stone monument at Stonehenge. This sheer audacity, in creating mortices and tenons out of Sarcen stone (and also bluestone) is what REALLY marks Stonehenge out as unique of all the stone circles in the British Isles.And there IS considerable accuracy in this feat alone, which ought to be acknowledged, rather than pooh-poohed, in your next Edition. If you did this, I think more people would take your general thesis on board. Yes, we know there are people who are mainly interested in selling vast quantities of their books and so on who exaggerate some aspects of the accuracy of the building of Stonehenge, but it is still a marvellous achievement (finished or unfinished). Yes, our prehistoric ancestors made mistakes, and these mistakes are pointed out in the more middle-of-the road serious books on Stonehenge eg holes that were hollowed out on the wrong sides of lintels at great cost in labour hours to the builders, before the mistake was rectified!

BRIAN JOHN said...

Agree with most of that, Tony. I have always thought of Stonehenge as audacious and highly impressive because of the sheer imagination and courage of the builders (or the designers). And yes, it is impressive that they used woodworking techniques on stone...... and that Stonehenge is unique in that respect. I don't think I have ever ridiculed any of that. What I have done is question those who assume an extraordinary level of geometrical precision in the monument -- when in reality (as acknowledged in many of the texts) many spacings are inexact, lines are not quite straight, and circles are not quite circular! OK -- put that down to the problems of working with very large stones with irregular shapes, but I still stick to my point that the AMBITION of the builders was greater than their technical ability. That's the central message of my video.

Robert Langdon said...

Surprised you dug out this old discredited video for your blog site!

You assumption of the site being half finished is 'half right' as it was never supposed to have been a circle - try a crescent moon for the dead.

Therefore ALL the uprights are either in place of have been found on the floor - half of the lentils are missing, but they would be easily robbed in 'relatively' recent years - by fellow medieval sceptics as yourself no doubt, who saw it as a 'stone resource' rather than a 'precious wonderment of scientific knowledge'.

As you commented on your video about the mathematics of the site - I feel that I need to correct your misjudgement - For the 'complete' monument structure shows that the builders understood the relevance of what is commonly known as the 'golden ratio' - so cleaver is its design that this mysterious 'relationship' (which is contained in all of natures designs such as flower petals) is clearly shown in both the horizontal and quite remarkably the vertical aspects of this 'unremarkable' monument some 8,000 years before Pythagoras took the glory.

Our ancestors were leaving a mark in the landscape to celebrate their great civilisation as we did some 40 years ago when we sent a plaque into space with some pictures indicating who were are and where we lived - also binary code and basic maths to show other worlds the level of our intelligence - the hope (as it was for our ancestors) was that one day someone would find this plaque on a planet far far away and understand what it represented and therefore appreciated who we were!

As for our ancestors 'time capsule' -little did they know that our civilisation would deteriorate so much so, that the geologists had taken over the world and these 'elders' were so blind in their beliefs that they were not capable of understanding something so beautiful and so mathematically simple.


BRIAN JOHN said...

Robert -- old and discredited video? Not old, and not discredited. You are welcome to your ideas about crescent moons and flower petals. And I particularly like your idea that geologists have taken over the world -- ah, they must be a dark and devious lot, in spite of seeming to me to be quite civilized. No knowing what they will get up to next!