Saturday 21 May 2016

Healing Stonehenge

Tim Darvill has a new paper out...

Houses of the Holy: Architecture and Meaning in the Structure of Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK

Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture

Volume 9, Issue 2, 2016

Stonehenge in central southern England is internationally known. Recent re-evaluations of its date and construction sequence provides an opportunity to review the meaning and purpose of key structural components. Here it is argued that the central stone structures did not have a single purpose but rather embody a series of symbolic representations. During the early third millennium this included a square-in-circle motif representing a sacred house or ‘big house’ edged by the five Sarsen Trilithons. During the late third millennium BC, as house styles changed, some of the stones were re-arranged to form a central oval setting that perpetuated the idea of a sacred dwelling. The Sarsen Circle may have embodied a time-reckoning system based on the lunar month. From about 2500 BC, more than 80 bluestones were brought to the site from sources in the Preseli Hills of west Wales about 220km distant. Initially arranged as a Double Circle they were variously rearranged at least four times over the following centuries. The diverse lithology of the bluestones reflects the landscape from which the stones derived so that the monument embodied a microcosm of the distant land. Associations with water and healing suggest one reason why Stonehenge became such a powerful place in prehistoric times.

Article is available for £28 or through the usual academic channels.


  1. Shame it's not open access. Perhaps he's changed his mind about it being a working model of their cosmos/perceived Universe. Anyone got a copy?

  2. Doesn't say one way or the other on review. Not sure what to make of it. Have you read it Tim?

    1. Through my academic credentials I have read it but to be honest until I reread it with a towel on my head I'm not sure what the take home message is, but cosmos model is downplayed and sacred house more in favour.

    2. He conveys the idea of a "Sacred House" certainly. But even outlandish theories (not naming names) consider it that.
      The most interesting thing I took away from it is that the diverse selection of Bluestones may represent significant areas in Wales which were being 'remembered' at Stonehenge. I liked that idea, but it's hardly a watershed moment.

      Tim Darvill is an important contributor to the pantheon of investigators, and while I also got my copy through academic channels, why this paper costs 29 quid is really the biggest mystery!


    3. I think I agree with you both. Wasn't really sure what to make of it. Cosmic model definitely didn't come through as far as I could see.