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Passionate experience junkie. Lover of the arts and architecture. Want to see and share the world, one village at a time.

Who Were the Highly-Motivated Humans That Built Stonehenge?

house sitting travel

I catch the sun so my photo will be pretty, but ancient humans had a higher purpose in mind.

Standing on the grassy Salisbury Plain of Wiltshire, England, I am one of dozens of modern-day curious tourists gazing at the huge stone monoliths of Stonehenge. With cell phone cameras held aloft, we jockey into position to get the best photos – made fabulous on this particular day by the long shadows in the setting sun – to post on social media.

I work hard at taking my consciousness out of the present-day techie world and way back to the Neolithic Age of 10,000 – 3,000 BCE. It’s not easy, you know, because we’re so used to cranes lifting tons of building materials hundreds of feet in the air, not to mention drills, power tools galore, and trucks to haul everything. Heck, the invention of the wheel only happened at the tail end of the Neolithic Age, meaning that Stonehenge – built around 3,400 BCE – may have been constructed without its use. The enormous stones, weighing up to 50 tons, were transported from the Prescelli Mountains of southwest Wales, an astounding trip of 150 miles.

Why Build This Thing?

So to me the big story is about motivation. What could motivate humans to toil for 300 years to build Stonehenge? What was so vitally important for thousands of people to devote their entire lifetime to construct such a thing? And all with no wheels, no metal tools, and no mechanization whatsoever?

The Neolithic Age, the last of the Stone Ages, was a time of great development of civilization. Agriculture was begun, replacing hunter-gatherers. Villages were formed where humans gathered and shared information.

Reliance on nature was directly tied to survival in those days. Imagine their epiphany when humans discovered that the moon has an 18.6-year cycle and then repeats, making it a predictable happening. The sun has cycles as well, leading to the ability to predict seasons. To early humans, this must have been an enormous victory, and feeling of control. The great wild natural world could be harnessed! Ancient humans felt, perhaps for the first time, in control of their destinies.

I like to envision the great swelling of joy their villages gained and the power brought by this knowledge. I like to think their motivation came from the desire to harness and showcase the solar and lunar cycles in the form of a monument – Stonehenge. The gathering of spirit and power to accomplish such a great task gave rise to a movement, a direction, and a purpose for being human. I like to think their awakening humanness played a part in the motivation. They could make a difference.

There are many theories about why Stonehenge was constructed, and how humans used the circular monument, but any number of them could be true. As an homage to the solar and lunar cycles, humans gained control over their environment. In addition, once built, the hallowed ground in the monument gave solace and healing powers, or religious comfort. Sacrifices may have been performed to appease the gods. They buried their dead in the land around Stonehenge to give comfort.

To me Stonehenge is a place of positive energy and a wholesome history. It feels like the best of human spirit, where we band ourselves together for the greater good.

As I walk away, I’m sad. I want to stay and wonder. I want to stay and feel what ancient humans felt. But I must return to the modern world.

What I can do is take a little of Stonehenge’s spirit with me, reminding me always that together we can accomplish great things. I vow to be that human that finds joy in collaboration, helping those around me to live better lives.

house sitting travel

These days, the sheep are the lucky ones to live here.

 

 

House sittingHouse sitting affords Conrad and me to experience fabulous places around the globe. And being a travel blogger means I am offered tours to these places. It’s quite a wonderful combination and we’re so grateful for our life of travel.

 

 

 

We took a day-long combination open-top vintage bus through London, boat ride down the Thames, and visit to Stonehenge sponsored DSC_0555by City-Discovery.com. And this is the link to the specific tour we took. The site is an aggregate of worldwide tours and activities. Simply set the city, and voila!, you have a list of available tours there, from simple walking tours to major days-long adventures. You choose. It’s a nice concept and we are happy to blog about our experiences with them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing you safe and happy travels always and all ways.

~Josie

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11 Responses to “Who Were the Highly-Motivated Humans That Built Stonehenge?”

  1. A beautiful post. The mystery of Stonehenge has always captured me as well. And whenever I see ancient monuments, artifacts, churches, I too wonder about the human beings that created them. What were they thinking as they struggled at the end of a rope pulling such a great weight? Or when they chipped away at a stone to improve its form? Or when they stood and watched the sun on the day of the equinox as it struck the stones just so? It is a joy to wonder….
    Donna Meyer recently posted..8 Insiders’ Tips for Traveling to PragueMy Profile

    November 7, 2016 at 3:45 am Reply
    • Hi Donna, and Welcome!
      Yes, trying to understand ancient people is hard to do because we are so far removed in every way. But we still do it!
      Thank you for joining in my wonderings!
      ~Josie

      November 10, 2016 at 1:53 pm Reply
  2. I remember learning of Stonehenge when I was a kid and being totally captivated by all the unanswered questions. The fascination and mystery still endure today (your questions mirror mine) which is why visiting the iconic site is on our “Must See” list when we visit England. Loved your point about what humans can accomplish by working together – as important today as it was several centuries ago!
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go recently posted..Three Days in July, A Cyclorama and the Enduring Symbolism of GettysburgMy Profile

    November 7, 2016 at 6:52 am Reply
    • Hi Anita,
      And today, 2 days after the US elections, it is indeed especially important for humans to work together. Thanks for your comments on Stonehenge and I hope you get there someday!
      ~Josie

      November 10, 2016 at 1:58 pm Reply
  3. Bex #

    Gosh,

    I am from around the Stonehenge area and you taught me more about it than I know already!

    Thank you for this post – and 300 years to build, wow!

    November 7, 2016 at 6:38 pm Reply
  4. What I find fascinating is that Stonehenge is not a one-off phenomenon, but one of hundreds of such sites across Europe. I don’t imagine we’ll ever know exactly what they were for, although as you say there are lots of theories. But the amount of human endeavour involved was enormous, so they must have had tremendous significance.
    Karen Warren recently posted..The Ancient Burial Sites of GotlandMy Profile

    November 8, 2016 at 2:13 am Reply
    • Hi Karen,
      Because of the fact that so many other monolith sites exist, I got a sense there was a common movement at the time — a common excitement and motivation for such arduous construction. It’s so cool to think about!
      Thanks for weighing in.
      ~Josie

      November 10, 2016 at 2:03 pm Reply
  5. My fascination is not so much with why Stonehenge, the real thing, was built as what possesses people to build full size replicas in their back yards. David and I recently visited Esperance in Western Australia (think really remote here) and there in a cow paddock was a full size replica of Stonehenge. We have seen a similar replica in Oregon and I have heard there is also one in New Zealand. You really have to wonder! I should add, they’re great fun to visit if only for the weird factor.
    Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields recently posted..Sculpture by the Sea, SydneyMy Profile

    November 8, 2016 at 3:54 am Reply
    • Hi Lyn and Welcome!
      Haha, got such a kick out of your comment. I had no idea people built replicas of Stonehenge! I googled it and found there are two made of foam, one made of cars, one of snow, and one “Imitator” called Manhattanhenge. That last one is so named because of the way sunrise is viewed down the streets of the city, which happens four times each year.
      Wild!
      Thanks so much for your fun comment!
      ~Josie

      November 10, 2016 at 2:14 pm Reply
  6. Lovely post, Josie. I am new to your site and will definitely return to hear more about your housesitting adventures.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..being grateful will improve your healthMy Profile

    November 9, 2016 at 7:25 pm Reply
  7. It’s amazing that in this day and age of discovery we still can’t figure out Stonehenge. Maybe some day…

    November 10, 2016 at 9:47 am Reply

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