Archaeologists have found remains at ancient campsites round Stonehenge which imply that the builders of the monument were not local to the area, but
came from all over Britain and as far north as Scotland.
Stonehenge builders travelled from far, say researchers
They say the evidence suggests that building Stonehenge was a huge communal effort in which a large fraction of the population of the British Isles
The researchers believed as many as 4,000 people gathered at the site, at a time when Britain's population was only tens of thousands.
I'm not in the business of constructing theories on subjects I know nothing about, but it is fascinating to speculate on the meaning of this
discovery, and picture what might have happened on Salisbury Plain all those millennia ago.
Who decided a henge had to be built there? What was the reason for it? What motivated people to such a huge effort, carried out over so many
Was it a monument to some prehistoric tyrant or dynasty? A temple raised in desperation to placate an angry god who had sent disease or famine? The
means to avert a curse? A magical instrument to be used on rare occasions, such as an eclipse or planetary conjunction predicted by
astrologer-priests? Or something else entirely, something we have not even imagined?
Did it have to be built to a deadline (or rather, several successive ones)?
Who were the people that decreed its building? What kind of social organisation did they have? And how did they pull workers together from all over
Britain (and possibly even farther afield) to build this monument?
Did the builders volunteer, or were they pressed? Were they slaves? Prisoners of war? If they did it freely, what was their motivation? What could
have been thought important enough to draw people from hundreds of miles around?
Stonehenge seems to have been built over a long period of time, rather like Göbleki Tepe
to have been; construction at Stonehenge seems to have continued for nearly 1,500 years after it began.
Stonehenge evolved in several construction phases spanning at least 1,500 years. There is evidence of large-scale construction on and around the
monument that perhaps extends the landscape's time frame to 6,500 years.
Something like seven thousand years separate the last phases of construction at two sites, but life in the Neolithic probably didn't change very
rapidly. It may be that Stonehenge and Göbleki Tepe represent temples of the same prehistoric cult, or that both sites were built and used for the
same obscure purpose.
Or not. Perhaps some of ATS's resident experts in such matters can hazard an opinion.