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What lies under the Stonehenge landscape

24 August 2014
Ancient history

I came across this post during a Smithsonian alert – go to www.smithsonianmag.com/history/what-lies-beneath-Stonehenge.html … and it seems the author of the piece was on a guided tour by archaeologist Vince Gaffney. He has been in charge of the 'Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project' which has gone off the radar the last year or so. It has been in progress for quite some time now and attracted, it would seem, unwanted publicity. However, out of sight of the media, it has been amassing lots of information. They have found 15 unknown or poorly understood Neolithic structures – such as barrows, segmented ditches, and pits. This indicates the area was in use by people to a level not expected by archaeologists. It is often imagined, or the impression is given, Stonehenge was a sort of prehistoric cathedral, a complex from which ordinary people were largely excluded. That may not be the case. It is now looking as if the site was not a place where the few congregated to gabble gobbledegook and wave their hands towards the big orb in the sky. It seems it just might have been a place where the local community had free access.

Nobody has actually excavated the new findings. The evidence of them was gathered by geophysicists and archaeologists with magnetometers, and most importantly, ground penetrating radar (which can see anomalies fairly deep below the surface). Gaffney is well pleased with the results, it would seem – the Stonehenge landscape has been changed forever he says (in the heads of archaeologists). A full map of the project's findings will be presented in September at the British Science Festival in Birmingham.

When you add up what is known about Stonehenge there is very little as far as hard facts are concerned – and lots of theories. One of those was the product of the imagination of former SIS stalwart and council member Len Saunders – who died a few years ago. His legacy is a web site based on his research – go to www.stonehenge-info.org. These are his own ideas but when it all comes down to it the fact it consists of stones set in concentric ring formation and that some of the stones are obviously aligned astronomically – that is about all we have to go on. The men wearing white shrouds and sporting big flowing beards, real or held together by glue, that pop up at midsummer to look stern while their soul mates prance around the stones with a strange look on their faces, is all just a show. Reality at Stonehenge has yet to be established but archaeologists, it would seem, consistently ignore the most obvious – something peculiar was happening in the skies above Stonehenge (and the skies above the rest of the Earth and its inhabitants). It might be a good idea for interested parties to read some of the articles written by Moe Mandelkehr in SIS journals. These are far from definitive but they have blazed a trail that others, hopefully, some day, will follow. They have the ability to lift the fog from Stonehenge – that mist mentioned by the Smithsonian author is just the half of it.

In 1620 the Duke of Buckingham, a major landowner, had some agricultural labourers dig a hole right in the centre of Stonehenge – I wonder how many pennies he paid them. It went straight down into one of those enigmatic Neolithic pits where odd bits of stuff are buried. In this instance, they came up with the skulls of a few cattle and large quantities of burnt charcoal and other material unrecognisable to the duke and of no interest either. The treasure was not there. In 1839 a naval officer, one Captain Beamish, had labourers dig out 400 cubic feet of soil to the NE of the Altar Stone (in the middle of the monument) and as a result he completely trashed the archaeology.

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