Conundrum 9 – Stonehenge’s Location
Location, Location, Location tells the story of Stonehenge – Stonehenge’s Location
Archaeologists fail to mention in their many publications and documentaries the mystery of the Location of Stonehenge in the landscape. One would imagine that such a massive undertaking and monument would be placed in the most prominent position in the landscape, such as on top of a hill. The elevated position would help promote its magnificence and allow its astronomical function as it would be clear of trees and foliage, which currently it experiences during such times as the Solstice celebrations.
Looking at the most important prehistoric site in Britain, Stonehenge, we are asked by archaeologists to consider that it is an astronomical calendar showing the rising and setting of the Sun, Moon, etc. This assumption may be partially correct, but why would you place the site in an area where trees would obscure your view – if you wish to study the sunrise and sunset with any great accuracy, would you not locate your site at the highest point available?
So why was Stonehenge built where it is, rather than at the top of the hill just 500 metres away that is 30 metres higher – especially considering that the builders took the trouble to get stones from 200 miles away in Wales, for what possible reason would they stop short of obtaining the best setting?
As there is no observational advantage to placing the site in this location, we must conclude that access to the area was paramount. If we look at a standard Ordnance Survey (OS) map of Stonehenge, it outlines the landscape and topology of the surrounding area by showing the contours of the hillsides. But it does not give you a clear idea of how Stonehenge sits in the landscape; for that, we need to look at a profile of the area.
Amazingly these profiles of Stonehenge show that it was built on the shoreline of a vast river complex. We can see this evidence on any elevation map, where we find that Stonehenge is sited halfway up a ‘Dry River Valley’ (Palaeochannel) known as ‘Stonehenge Bottom’.
My Post-Glacial Flooding Hypothesis and case study on the river Avon indicate that the groundwater tables during the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods were as high as river terrace T9 (Egberts et al., 2019), 100m high. This would mean that the river Avon would have filled the dry river valley with groundwater 30m above the existing groundwater table – when this happens, the profile changes dramatically.
And so suddenly, the impossible becomes possible, the implausible becomes credible, and myth becomes fact, for these profiles can only indicate one conclusion – Stonehenge was built on the side of a hill surrounded by water!
These remarkable features are not just found on a single side of the monument; we can go around the whole circle to see these watery features. I believe these profiles tell the entire story of Stonehenge. A picture is said to paint a thousand words; these pictures show that our most famous ancient monument was once a magnificent feature in the landscape on the edge of a peninsula, surrounded by water. Now that we have shown that water existed at the Stonehenge site during Mesolithic and Neolithic times, we can re-sequence the events and building phases.
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