5 Strange Theories About Stonehenge

A large number of years ago, a historical civilization raised a circle of huge, roughly rectangular stones in a field in what’s now Wiltshire, England. Stonehenge, since it would become called, is a mystery since.

Building started on the webpage around 3100 B.C. and continued in phases until about 1600 B.C. The individuals who constructed the website left no written records and few clues as to the reasons they bothered to schlep the stones to the spot.

Wild theories about Stonehenge have persisted because the DARK AGES, with 12th-century myths crediting the wizard Merlin with constructing the website. More recently, UFO believers have spun theories about ancient spacecraft and aliens landing pads.

But Stonehenge has inspired a good number of scientifically reasonable theories aswell. Listed below are five major (rather than necessarily mutually exclusive) reasons Stonehenge might exist. [Gallery: Stunning Photos of Stonehenge]

1. A location for burial

Stonehenge may have originally been a cemetery for the elite, according to a fresh study. Bone tissue were first exhumed from the Stonehenge site greater than a century ago, but archaeologists at that time thought the remains were unimportant and reburied them. Now, British researchers have re-exhumed a lot more than 50,000 cremated bone tissue from where these were discarded, representing 63 separate individuals, from Stonehenge. Their analysis, presented on a BBC 4 documentary on March 10, reveals that the people buried at the website were women and men in equal proportions, with some children aswell.

The burials occurred in about 3000 B.C., according to review researcher Mike Parker Pearson of the University College London Institute of Archaeology, and the 1st stones were brought from Wales in those days to mark the graves. The archaeologists also found a mace head and a bowl used to burn incense possibly, suggesting the people buried in the graves might have been religious or political elite, based on the Guardian newspaper.

2. A location for healing

Another theory shows that Stone Age people saw Stonehenge as a location with healing properties. In 2008, archaeologists Geoggrey Wainwright and Timothy Darvill reported that a huge number of skeletons recovered from around Stonehenge showed signs of illness or injury. The archaeologists also reported discovering fragments of the Stonehenge bluestones — the first stones erected at the website — that were chipped away by ancient people, to use as talismans for protective or healing purposes perhaps.

3. A soundscape

Or simply Stonehenge’s circular construction was made to mimic a sound illusion. That is the theory of Steven Waller, a researcher in archaeoacoustics. Waller says that if two pipers were to play their instruments in a field, a listener would notice a strange effect. Using spots, the sound waves from the dual pipes would cancel one another out, creating quiet spots.

The stones of Stonehenge create an identical effect, except with stones, than competing sound waves rather, blocking sound, Waller reported in 2012 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Legends connected with Stonehenge reference pipers also, Waller said, and prehistoric circles are referred to as «piper stones traditionally.»

Waller’s theory is speculative, but other researchers have confirmed that Stonehenge had amazing acoustics. A report released in-may 2012 discovered that the circle could have caused sound reverberations similar to those in a modern-day cathedral or concert hall.

4. A celestial observatory

Regardless of why it had been built, Stonehenge may have been designed with the sun at heart. One avenue connecting the monument with the close by River Aven aligns with sunlight on the wintertime solstice; in December and January archaeological evidence reveals that pigs were slaughtered at Stonehenge, suggesting possible rituals or celebrations at the monument around the wintertime solstice. The website faces the summertime solstice sunrise also, there today and both summer and winter solstices remain celebrated. [Gallery: Stunning Summer Solstice Photos]

5. A team-building exercise

Or simply Stonehenge was something similar to a historical team-building exercise. Based on the University College London’s Pearson, the start of the site’s construction coincides with a period of increased unity among the Neolithic folks of Britain. Inspired by the natural flow of the landscape Perhaps, which appears to connect summer solstice sunrise and winter solstice sunset, these ancient people may have banded to build the monument together, In June 2012 Pearson suggested.

«Stonehenge itself was an enormous undertaking, requiring the labor of thousands to go stones from as a long way away as west Wales, shaping them and erecting them,» he said in a statement. «Just the task itself, requiring everything literally to together pull, could have been an act of unification.»

Follow Stephanie Pappas @sipappas. Follow LiveScience on Twitter @livescience, Facebook or Google+. Initial article on LiveScience.com.

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5 Strange Theories About Stonehenge