Throughout the world one can come across enigmatic standing stones, some of them arranged in a circle or ellipse.
Many suggestions have been made to explain their purpose. Were they built as astronomical observatories? Or were they perhaps out up as monuments to commemorate persons of importance in prehistoric times?
The purpose of these stones is a puzzle that modern day archaeologists can only speculate over; these ancient sites may forever remain shrouded in mystery. Many of ancient sites however are believed to have been used for religious or ceremonial purposes.
Standing stone circles as a form of prehistoric engineering exist on worldwide scale.
The best known tradition of stone circle construction occurred across the Great Britain and Ireland with over 1000 surviving examples, including Avebury, the Ring of Brodgar and Stonehenge. Another prehistoric tradition occurred in Poland, Armenia, Russia, southern Scandinavia during the Iron Age, also there is a controversial theory that structure similar to Stonehenge lies at the bottom of Lake Michigan.
There are more examples of stone circles include the 6300-6900 BCE Atlit Yam in Israel and 3000-4000 BCE Gilgal Refaim nearby, and the Bronze Age monuments in Hong Kong. Stone circles also exist in a megalithic tradition located in Senegal and the Gambia.
Many scientist suggest these mysterious stones were erected for some long-forgotten purpose and it would appear that our prehistoric ancestors possessed a special knowledge, often termed the ‘ancient wisdom’. There are theories that it gave them the ability to harness and utilize terrestrial forces which we have yet to discover.
Were stone circles constructed in relation to underground water?
New study reveals it is possible to detect underground streams of water passing immediately below standing stones and also to sense bands of power that rise in a spiral within the stones. Researchers claim to detect seven different power bands by placing their hands at certain points on the megaliths. Interesting to admit the spiral power waxes and wanes in a 28 day cycle and at the end of that time the polarity is reversed as a new cycle commences. Such forces of nature are as yet unrecognized by scientists but may well be attributed to electromagnetism.
Objects of superstition
In years the stones have become objects of superstition and many strange legends become associated with them. Some of the stones supposed to walk, dance and roam around in the night, visiting local pools or rivers for a drink or swim. It was once claimed that anyone who planned to visit the site of a ‘wandering megaliths’ during its absence, to seek treasure at its base, would not live to see the morning. The tradition that stones and burial chambers conceal treasure is common to many of these sites, and there are numerous tales told of farmers harnessing teams of oxen to stones in order to uproot them. But they never seem to succeed, for the stones are always set too deep in the ground or else the men are frightened away by lightening, thunder and torrential rain.
Some stones are accredited with healing powers, particularly those with a hole in them. In such cases people at one time used to insert their rheumatic limbs through the holes and would often claim an improvement in their medical condition.
There are some historical references to the same:
Geoffrey of Monmouth, writing in around AD 1136, stated that the stones of Stonehenge, which he referred to as the ‘Giants’ Dance’, had healing powers. In his History of Britons, he had Merlin say to Aurelius, ‘Laugh not so lightly, king…for in these stones is a mystery and healing virtue against many ailments.’
Purpose of ancient stone circles
While the purpose of stone circles remains open to conjecture, numerous explanations for their erection have been suggested by archaeologists.
Scientists, such as professor Alexander Thom have carried out experiments to prove that the circles are constructed with such accuracy that it is possible to make use of them to calculate the movements of the sun, moon and stars during the year. It is thus believed that the people responsible for erecting the circles must have had some knowledge of mathematics.
Some of circle appeared to be associated with burials, for there are cairns built within them, although of course the cairns may have been constructed at a later date within the existing circles.
I has been also suggested that the circles were built as astronomical observatories, or as temples for worshiping the sun god, or that they, in conjunction with the single standing stones, were once part of a long-forgotten power system.
featured image: Castlerigg Stone Circle, Lake District, UK © Barry
‘Mysterious Wales’ by Chris Barber