Stonehenge: New theory places rocks as base for Neolithic temple: ‘Unquestionably right’ | UK | News
The famed British monument dates back as far as 3000BC and can still be found in the fields of Wiltshire today. Most archaeologists believe it was used as a burial ground for more than 500 years, and some think it was of possible spiritual importance, due to its alignment with the winter and summer solstice. But 62-year-old landscape architect Sarah Ewbank does not agree, putting forward an incredible theory in her new book.
She believes Stonehenge represents the ruins of a once majestic Neolithic temple with a thatched roof and a large oval hall overlooked by galleries in which crowds might have gathered to hear speakers below.
Ms Ewbank has created several models of how she thinks Stonehenge may have once looked, getting bigger each time.
The total diameter — some 30 metres — is said to be almost exactly the same as Shakespeare’s Globe, a similarly thatched building in which, several millennia later, the human voice could carry to every audience member.
She said: “It is unquestionably the right size for an enclosed public venue.
“Maybe there was feasting in the galleries, with dancing and musicians playing below, or perhaps ceremonies took place to welcome in the solstices. It all sounds rather splendid.”
“They have assumed they were rough, tough, types who had advanced little from grunting cavemen and were hardy enough to worship outdoors.
“But we know that the Bronze Age was sophisticated enough to have goldsmiths making absolutely stunning jewellery and they knew how to make copper alloys like bronze.
“It seems obvious to me that they would have wanted to mark the winter solstice inside, under a roof, not outside in the freezing cold.”
Ms Ewbank’s interest was said to be piqued after watching a TV programme on Stonehenge.
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Stonehenge was produced by a culture that left no written records, leaving it open to speculation.
Many aspects of the monument, such as how it was built and for what purposes it was used, remain subject to debate.
The site, specifically the great trilithon, the encompassing horseshoe arrangement of the five central trilithons and the embanked avenue, are aligned to both the summer and winter solstice.
A natural landform at the monument’s location followed this line, and experts have previously stated it may have inspired its construction.
Further astronomical associations and the precise significance of the site for its people are still heavily debated.