On my last trip to the UK, there was some repeat stops. Since this was my 5th visit to Britain, this should not be a surprise, however. The truth was, that my last visit to Stonehenge had been over 4 years earlier and before I bought a digital SLR and truly got into photography seriously, so it was time to return.
The second time through, I skipped the audio tour. They may well have updated it in the past four years, but I really just wanted to wander around and take photos and enjoy the view in relative silence. Unfortunately, a large road is nearby, which somewhat kills the feeling of those still plains that must have once existed, but it’s still an incredible place to visit. The skies shifted a lot during our time there as clouds rapidly passed by and the light (when there was any light) was special.
The day we visited, I noticed that a professor I’d seen on the history channel, Mike Parker Pearson, was filming a piece on Stonehenge. It made the history geek in me a little star struck. The professor has put forth one of the newest theories on the purpose of Stonehenge. He believed that there would be a second site near Stonehenge and then surely enough he discovered a wooden village down a nearby river. He put forth the idea that the wooden village was occupied primarily at the spring and fall equinoxes and that on those days, the people who built Stonehenge visited it to celebrate and to mourn the fallen whose cremated remains where left behind here. It makes logical sense for a people who were far more tied to the seasons than most of us are today. But you have to wonder if we will ever really know the minds of the people who built this place 5,000 years ago.
I’ve been to Stonehenge twice and although I would love to see more ancient stone age sites, I would gladly visit Stonehenge again. I’d love to get the chance to visit on an Equinox and see what the ancients saw. Sadly, I’ve heard from more than one person that Stonehenge was a disappointment. It failed to live up to their expectations! The big reason seems to be that it’s not as large as people think it is. I guess that makes sense in a day when a good sized mall dwarfs Stonehenge, but try to imagine building something like this yourself with nothing but stone tools, creativity and ingenuity! I know I wouldn’t know where to begin designing it never mind erecting it! You absolutely have to put a site like this into context when you visit it.
For more prints from around Great Britain, please check out my Britain Print Gallery.