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Stonehenge and Sodom

29 September 2015

The title is tongue in cheek but it was penned to illustrate that there was activity at Stonehenge contemporary with the destruction of Tall el-Hammam at the end of the Middle Bronze Age in the Levant. This consists of the carvings of daggers and axe heads on some of the stones, first noticed by Richard Atkinson in the 1950s. These are symbolic we may assume and it is possible they represent lightning or meteors – apt when we consider the excavators of Tall el-Hammam are thinking in terms of destruction by a bolide (meteor from the sky).

At http://heritagecalling.com/2015/09/23/7-new-discoveries-about-stonehenge/ … which is about seven recent discoveries that are now being embedded in a new guide book on the site. The heritage is English Heritage – which has morphed into Historic England. The information comes from a blog on the official web site.

Two things worth picking up and not widely advertised in recent publicity. One is that the North Barrow dates from prior to the building of the henge – and is partly overbuilt. It is almost insignificant on the surface, having been eroded.

The second point is the carvings on the stones which have recently been laser scanned – which was publicised. However, it is the date they are now thought to have been made that is more important, between 1700 and 1500BC. This coincided with renewed activity at the site – which is not qualified. Richard Atkinson was purportedly the most knowledgeable person on Stonehenge but he died without committing his discoveries to writing (as far as an archaeological report was concerned). The carvings on the stone were just one aspect of many he investigated.

There was substantial Roman activity at Stonehenge – and appears to have become the focus of religious rites of some kind. Pits and graves were dug, coins and other valuable items were deposited, etc. In fact, a human presence in the vicinity of the stones is known from virtually every period of history – apart from the late Iron Age. This is probably because evidence of people at that time has yet to be discovered but the author relishes in the fact that the age of the druids (historically) coincided with the Iron Age (more than any other period of history). The druids are largely an 18th and 19th century invention by homesick Welshmen living in England so there is nothing surprising there.

Finally, considerable restoration work was done at Stonehenge between the wars – often overlooked in all the hype.

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