First I must bow to the greatness of previous researchers, to the work done by astronomers, writers, philosophers, archaeologists, chemists and physicists amongst others. Without them, there is no past to visit. They along with a well educated public, kept all the old sites alive, there would have been no preservation, just museum relicts. Placed between one floor or another an old stone is just a stone. The sacredness Megaliths impose stems from the sacrosanct work of their builders, to those ancients without wheels or mechanical machines, those who dragged such heavy and huge rocks many hard miles for no greater goal than to achieve a vision made of stone.
In archaeology, there is much pride found in carbon dating achievements. It is however not a certain science, there are doubts. In my experience carbon dating results give estimates not a permanent end to many questions. There are flaws in this method which should beg the attention of those who simply like to oversimplify. I can attest that a boat from a known whaler built in the1840s , C14 dated to the 12th century (http://www.sirjohnfranklin.com/pages/page3_a.html). Stonehenge is another good example, why for instance was no baseline dating done with known antlers, with trophies say from the 10th century, or from ruined castles rubbish mounds. Baselines are crucial for confidence and credibility, yet a main study about Stonehenge offers no such thing. Antler biology is not the same as wood.
A paper Ive read, titled "Science and Stonehenge" is outstanding because it expresses some doubts with respect to many research facets, citing even that more refined research would eventually remove some suspicions. From the partial excavation of the site, no extract and examine all possible evidence unfortunately raises more doubts, especially about dating conclusions. Placing too much emphasis on the main ditch and from sparse evidence found around the stones is another recognized weakness. Applied with stratigraphy, C14 greatest flaw is that it relies on circumstances not noted, a bone or a carbon based object submerged under layers of soil does not explain much. The possibility of ancient excavations, especially at frequently visited Stonehenge is not hard to imagine, since we today do the same. C14 doesnt reveal how the grounds were kept, it simply gives a time when the objects were alive. Stating that antlers were used for digging the site before insertion of the stones, the report couldnt explain the connection, between construction and abandonment of artifacts. There is no overwhelming C14 evidence proving one way or another when the stones were erected. Aiming for certitude, this report took the side of caution, since no artifacts were found older than from 4360 BC within the circle, no Stone construction happened prior to that date.
The most perplexing conclusion from the report is "With all caution in mind, we estimate that it took 850 to 1090 years for the Stone monument at Stonehenge to reach its final form". The only other human construction project taking 1000 years or so is the Great Wall of China, which is really huge, easily dwarfing all ancient constructions combined, comparing minuscule Stonehenge construction period as taking as long demands a lot of imagination. Was it because the stones where so far away?
Sun observations offer a different vision, much more simple but leaving perhaps a complex trail of evidence. As with the Great Pyramids, it took very little time to make the Stone monuments. Unlike the Pyramids , Stonehenges greatest accomplishment was for the duration of its usage. Take the heel stone for instance, I estimate it being aligned with a summer solstice at about 1455 BC. This date goes a little beyond end of phase 3 C14 date of 1520 BC. Is it so hard to imagine that some keepers moved one or several Heel stones? All in keeping with precession movements. Every 200 years or so the summer solstice rose a little further East by about one foot, keeping In touch with exact dates required realignments. Was it not possible that other Stones could have been moved as well, or the pillars trimmed to conform with prescribed dates. Could this be confused with a long drawn out construction project spanning 40 generations? The solstice Sarsen gap aligned with the heel stone is strangely atypical with the other curvy gaps, was this due to trimming?
Mesolithic memories or a Neolithic catastrophic climate change?
First, a simplified stance must be taken, the Sarsen shapes at Stonehenge and various shaped megalith capstones found throughout the UK , Ireland and Brittany represent the flattened sun or moon. At the edge of the underworld is the passage or doorway, or like in ancient Egyptian, the Duat. Under megalith capstones commonly called tombs lies the underworld, above is the world of the living. For a person to stand under the Sarsen lintel at Stonehenge was to practice a rite of passage, the world never seen became apparent.
In climatic terms, Stonehenge was inspired by cold air, there is no two ways about it, the argument now stands on when, when was it cold? An easy answer would be the Mesolithic or early Neolithic. A known cold period, with Boreal forest acting as a natural horizon de-markers like the Sarsen pillars. Eventually humans moved wood poles or stones placing a temple over a site selected by nature, a dedication to the original world, and making it last beyond its days. For the purpose of keeping the Mesolithic in mind, a recreation of ancient Britain, a mystical time whence the sun changed its shape near the ground.
The other possibility is more complicated, but in agreement with C14 data. Something happened roughly around 4000 BC. Could it be a dramatic explosive warming? Causing the eventual birth of British civilization, or the opposite, a dramatic climatic cooling, retarding the rise of Britain by more than 2500 years. Either way, Stonehenge fits in quite well. If a cold 4000 BC climate became much warmer in a relatively short time span, with the Sarsen structure completed just before the climate got warmer a great deal, the gradual increase in temperature would have affected the very core of Mesolithic inspired religious beliefs forever. However, if the weather changed from a warming trend to a harder to take freezing one, then C14 data fits like the proverbial glove. A sudden catastrophic cooling would have caused a dramatic reduction in population, from that point in time, it would have taken 2500 years of adjustment until the apparent rise of British civilization takes place into world consciousness at about 1000 BC . Just before the climate transition, with Mesolithic climate almost distant or dead from human memory, Britain and Ireland became colder and sub-arctic in nature. Those who would have survived would be from a scant religious cast, who kept ancient beliefs intertwined with hunting rituals. Stonehenge would have revived in importance on account of its main function, amongst others, observing the sky and flat sun, revived once again until it became warmer and wet again, roughly around 1500 BC. There was a significant cooling period known in history called "the Irish elm decline" from 4000 to 3250 BC. This cool period shows promise in confirming a cold Stonehenge agreeing with C14 data.
Stonehenge could have also been useful during not so cold times, it would be the most complicated scenario of all, small but significant cyclical climatic changes associated with major events like Gulf Stream location variations or volcanic activity can occur in short periods, causing chaos. 5000 years is a very long time, the climate in our past 1000 years was not always constant or consistent. Stonehenge as a climatic instrument would have been extremely useful for farming not only as a calendar. When at times there was no flat sun observed during winter, it would have been considered an omen for warm weather to come, on the opposite, persistent winter observations of the rectangular sun would have indicated upcoming weather of a disastrous freezing nature.
Next essay, Shamanism Solitude
Altar Stone - Horizon Megaliths - Vision Reconstructions