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Title: Stonehenge - Today and Yesterday
Author: Stevens, Frank
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  [Illustration: Stonehenge
    as it probably was. Plan & Bird'seye View.]




Curator of the Salisbury Museum
with Plans and Illustrations by



Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd
Price 1s net


The interest that has always attached itself to Stonehenge has,
without doubt, been in a great measure due to the mystery as to the
origin of this unique monument of bygone time. But the careful
investigations carried out by the modern school of archæologists, as
instanced in the work of General Pitt Rivers, Mr. Gowland, and others,
every excavation being carried out with great care and scientific
accuracy, have had good results; little by little the history of
Stonehenge has been unravelled; a fact that Mr. Stevens has clearly
demonstrated in the present volume. We now know how, when, and who,
built this remarkable temple. One point, however, still remains a
mystery, viz. whence the so-called foreign stones were obtained?
Clearly, as geology shows, from no spot in Wiltshire.

Amongst the many rude stone circles scattered over Great Britain,
Stonehenge is unique, in the fact of having its sarsen stones
carefully though roughly worked; and also in the introduction of the
horseshoe within the circles, in the design or plan of the building.
As in the present day, our churches, in their design, symbolise the
Cross, so we may fairly infer that the horseshoe at Stonehenge had its
own special meaning, as it still has in the East.

I would advise all interested in the subject, after reading Mr.
Stevens' lucid and comprehensive account, to visit this weird monument
and judge for themselves; take Omar's sound advice, "_To-day_" view
the "_Dead Yesterday_," wait not for the "_Unborn To-morrow_."

                         H.P. BLACKMORE.
  _March 1, 1916._


FOREWORD                                                   v


SALISBURY PLAIN                                            8

STONEHENGE                                                12

THE LITHOLOGY OF STONEHENGE                               15
  1. The Story of the Sarsens                                      17
  2. The Foreign Stones                                            20

THE STONES WITHOUT THE CIRCLE                             27
  1. The Hele Stone or Friar's Heel                                28
  2. The Legend of the Friar's Heel                                29
  3. The "Slaughtering Stone"                                      31
  4. The Earthwork                                                 34

THE BUILDING OF STONEHENGE                                36
  1. Dressing the Stones                                           40
  2. Tenons and Mortices                                           42
  3. The Process of Erection                                       45
  4. Raising the Foreign Stones                                    49

WHEN WAS STONEHENGE ERECTED?                              51

WHAT WAS STONEHENGE?                                      57

THE DRUID QUESTION                                        67

THE BARROWS OF SALISBURY PLAIN                            70
    1. The Round Barrows                                           73
    2. The Men of the Barrows                                      87

VALEDICTORY                                               92

  [Illustration: Stonehenge, Today--Looking West.]




Each statement is furnished with a reference to the particular pages
in this book, where fuller information and arguments "for and against"
may be found.


(_a_) Stonehenge was erected about the year 1700 B.C. (See page 51.)

(_b_) It was built by a race or men who had only a slight knowledge
of the use of bronze, and no knowledge of iron. (See pages 40-49.)


(_a_) A circular earthwork, 300 feet in diameter. (See page 34.)

(_b_) An avenue bounded by earthworks approaching it on the
north-east. (See page 34.)

(_c_) One large unworked Sarsen Stone, called the "Hele Stone," or
"Friar's Heel." (See page 28.)

(_d_) A recumbent slab within the earthwork called the "Slaughtering
Stone." (See page 31.)

(_e_) Two small unhewn Sarsens lying north-west and south-east of the
Circle of Stones. (See page 27.)

(_f_) A ring of hewn Sarsen stones with "imposts" or lintels mortised
to them. The lintels are fitted together with toggle joints. Sixteen
out of the original thirty uprights of these "Trilithons" are now

The diameter of this circle is about 108 feet, or that of the dome of
St. Paul's. (See page 12.)

(_g_) A ring of less perfectly hewn "Foreign Stones" (_i.e._ stones
not to be found in Wiltshire at the present day).

These numbered between thirty and forty. Only seven are standing
to-day, nine are overthrown. (See page 20.)

(_h_) Five great Trilithons, arranged in a horseshoe, with the opening
to the north-east. These Trilithons rise gradually in height towards
the south-west. The largest group of stones fell A.D. 1620. Those next
to the great Trilithon on the north-west, fell on January 3rd, 1797.

To-day only two of the Inner Trilithons are standing. One upright of
the great Trilithon (raised and made secure in 1901) is erect. (See
page 17.)

(_i_) A horseshoe of less perfectly hewn Foreign Stones. Originally
there were fifteen or more of these monoliths averaging eight feet
high. (See page 20.)

(_j_) A simple recumbent slab of micaceous sandstone called the "Altar
Stone." (See page 14.)


(_a_) The Sarsen Stones are the remains of a cap of Tertiary Sandstone
which once covered the plain. (See page 17.)

(_b_) The Foreign Stones are still a matter of debate. They have
assuredly been brought from a distance. This is unusual; megalithic
structures are usually built of materials found close at hand. (See
page 20.)

  [Illustration: Stonehenge. Looking towards the South East.]


The large monoliths of Sarsen Stone were first of all roughly shaped
as they lay _in situ_ on the Plain and then transported to the chosen

The Foreign Stones were also dressed on the spot before erection.

The entire work was performed with stone tools of the roughest
description, weighing from half a pound to over sixty pounds. (See p.

The only trace of metal discovered in 1901, was a small stain of
bronze on one stone, caused by contact with the stone of some very
small bronze object, possibly an ornament. (See page 53.)

The large Trilithons were erected from the centre of the site.

The Foreign Stones were placed in position afterwards. (See pages


It is a notable fact that the sun rises immediately over the summit of
the "Hele Stone," in a line with the axis of Stonehenge on the Summer

Sir Norman Lockyer and Mr. Penrose, working on astronomical grounds,
fix the date of the circle at 1680 B.C., with a possible error of 200
years on either side.

Much has been said as regards Sun Worship at Stonehenge. The exact
use to which the circle was put is at present a matter of conjecture.
(See page 57.)


1. Stonehenge is probably the latest, and is certainly the most
elaborate, stone circle in England.

2. It is the only one in which the stones are squared, dressed, and
provided with lintels or imposts.

3. It is the only circle which contains a "horseshoe" arrangement of

4. Most of the stone circles in the South of England face towards the
north-east. Stonehenge is one of these.

5. Monuments of the Stonehenge type, but ruder, are found in the
following neighbouring counties in South Britain: Cornwall,
Devonshire, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire.

6. Though Wiltshire only contains four such monuments, two of them,
Avebury and Stonehenge, are the most remarkable in the kingdom.

Avebury, the older of the two, has been almost destroyed, but when
perfect was one of the largest.

Stonehenge, the later, is the most finished example of a megalithic
circle in England.


There seems to be no valid reason for supposing that Stonehenge was
erected by the Druids. (See page 67.)


The Barrows round Stonehenge were the burial places of a bronze-using
race, of almost the same date as the Circle; they were erected mostly
after the building of Stonehenge, and are more numerous in this spot
than in any other part of England. (See page 73.)


  "We passed over the goodly plain, or rather sea of carpet, which I
  think for evenness, extent, verdure, and innumerable flocks, to be
  one of the most delightful prospects in nature."--"Evelyn's
  Diary," 1654.

There is not a county in England which does not pride itself upon some
outstanding characteristic which places it in a category by itself.
And if there be a thing particularly characteristic of Wiltshire, it
is "the Plain" of which John Evelyn above quoted has written so

The word Plain is somewhat misleading, for the surface of the
Salisbury Downland is anything but even, as poor Samuel Pepys found to
his cost when he traversed it in 1668, and on his journey encountered
some "great hills, even to fright us." The actual truth lies midway
between the "evenness" of Evelyn and the "great hills" of Pepys, and
to the man of Wilts that word "Plain" will ever summon up a vision of
rolling downs, a short, crisp, elastic turf dotted with flocks, and
broken here and there by some crested earthwork or barrow, which rears
itself from the undulating Down, and breaks the skyline with its
sharp outline. It has been estimated that fully one-half of Wiltshire
consists of these high bare chalk downs which rise in bold rounded
bluffs from the valleys which thread their way through the county. It
is impossible to escape them. The Cotswold shepherd looks downward on
their folds, and marks the gleaming white of the occasional chalk pit
which breaks the surface of their scarp.

The huntsman in the Vale of the White Horse, and the farmer on the
fringe of the shady depths of the New Forest alike live in the
presence of the Wiltshire Downs. There is something of grandeur in the
immensity of their broad unbroken line stretching as they do, or did,
for mile upon mile, limited only by the horizon, a rolling sea of
green pasture.

And the very heart of the Downs is the Plain of Salisbury, that broad
stretch which is bounded on the west by the wandering valley of the
river Nadder, and on the east by the trickle of the Bourne, between
which the "Hampshire" Avon divides the area with almost mathematical
accuracy in two equal triangles; and Salisbury lies at the apex of

The pasturage of the Downs, and the rich woodland of these valleys
must have been important factors in those old days, when the builders
of Stonehenge pushed inland from the coast, seeking a spot wherein
they might settle. As a general rule, it may be held with
considerable certainty, not only in Wiltshire, but also in other parts
of England, that our early settlers from the Continent elected to live
on the downland rather than in the valleys. Go where you may over the
Plain, its turfy surface is scored by terraces or "lynchets," telling
the tale of the ancient ploughman's furrows on the slopes, and side by
side with them lie the scars of what were once cattle enclosures,
farms, and stockaded villages. Nor is the explanation far to seek, for
the valleys afforded shelter to the wolves, and were in places
obstructed by undrained marshes, unhealthy and unfitted for the
herdsman and his flocks, and impenetrable as regards roads.

Midway between the valleys of the Nadder and the Avon lies
"Stonehenge," a Megalithic Monument without an equal in this country,
about which the legend of the peasant, as well as the speculation of
the _savant_ have gathered in an ever-increasing volume.

The bibliography of Stonehenge alone comprises nearly a thousand
volumes, and it is hard to pick up an old magazine or periodical which
does not contain some notice of it. County historians, astronomers,
Egyptologists, and antiquaries have argued, as old Omar would say,
"about it and about" until the man of ordinary tastes who chances to
visit the spot and to study the stones, finds himself confronted with
such a mass of evidence, of theory, and of fantastic speculation,
that he sadly turns aside befogged, or maybe fired by the example of
others evolves from his inner consciousness yet another theory of his
own to add to the already plethoric accumulation on the subject. The
object of the following pages is not to propound any new theories, but
rather to reduce the existing knowledge of Stonehenge to a compact
compass, and to make it readily accessible to that vast body of
individuals who take an intelligent interest in the stones, without
having the leisure or opportunity of following up the elaborate stages
by which certain conclusions have been arrived at. In short, it is a
plain statement of the facts about Stonehenge which may serve either
as a guide to the visitor, or as a useful remembrance of his visit.


  "Salisbury Cathedral and its neighbour Stonehenge are two eminent
  monuments of art and rudeness, and may show the first essay and
  the last perfection in architecture."--_Dr. Johnson, letter to
  Mrs. Thrale_, 1783.

Stonehenge is one of those historical monuments which possesses the
disadvantage of a reputation. The first impression is always one of
disappointment, the circle appears so much smaller than it really is
by reason of its isolated situation. Its proportions are dwarfed by
the wide expanse of downland which surrounds it. This feeling of
disappointment, however, gradually gives place to one of wonder, as
the stones are approached more closely, and their bulk is seen in true
proportion. The diameter of the outer circle of stones is 108 feet, or
almost exactly that of the internal diameter of the Dome of St.
Paul's. A casual glance even at the monument is sufficient to show
that its basic form is intended to be a circle. The earthwork which
girdles the stones is circular and 300 feet in diameter. Within this
stands the remnant of a circle of 30 upright stones, bearing imposts
upon them; within this again is what was once a circle of smaller
stones. Inside these three outer circular forms are two others, shaped
like a horseshoe. The first consisted of the five large "Trilithons,"
huge pylons of stone, comprising two uprights and an impost; standing
separate, while in front of them is the remnant of a horseshoe of
small upright stones, similar to those which comprise the inner circle
of the monument.

  [Illustration: Upright stones shaded--Prostrate stones in outline.]

At first it may seem difficult to disentangle the chaos of fallen
stone which meets the eye; but when once the original design of the
structure is grasped, it becomes easy to piece together again in
imagination a work which even in the light of modern and scientific
engineering presents very considerable difficulties and problems.

Lying flat within these concentric circles and horseshoes is a single
flat tabular block generally known as the "Altar Stone." From this
slab, now almost buried beneath the remains of a fallen Trilithon, the
visitor may look in a north-easterly direction, and through the arches
of the outer circle observe the "Hele Stone" or "Friar's Heel," which
stands at some considerable distance from the main structure. On the
Summer Solstice (or "Longest Day"), the sun rises immediately over the
top of this monolith, when viewed from the centre of the Altar Stone.

Such, then, are the facts which meet the eye when standing within
Stonehenge. Each minute the stones appear to increase in bulk, and the
problem of their coming grows more inscrutable. Then if wearied with
such vastness, the eye may wander over the surrounding plain, broken
in almost every direction by the sepulchral mounds, or Barrows, which
cluster to the number of two hundred or more about the venerable stone
circle. The connection between Stonehenge and the Barrows, seems
almost irresistible. The hands which raised those huge monoliths must
assuredly have been laid to rest almost within the touch of their
shadow. Stonehenge and the Barrows, each casting light upon the
other's origin, confirming and reconfirming each other's existence,
knit together to-day as yesterday, by a bond of close union which even
Time and speculations cannot sever.


Weatherworn and overgrown by lichen, it is not possible at the present
day to see clearly the nature of the stones which go to make up
Stonehenge. For that reason only the barest outline of the monument as
it appears to the unknowing eye has been given, in order that the
original plan may be grasped thoroughly before entering into those
important issues which help to solve the enigma of its origin. Careful
investigation reveals the fact that the stones vary very much in
material, and that, further, just as the stones are placed in
systematic order, so, too, has the same care been exercised in the
selection of the material from which each circle or horseshoe has been
built. Moreover, just as the stones can be divided into groups of
uprights and imposts, or "Trilithons," and "simple uprights," so, too,
has it been found that while all the Trilithons are composed of a
"local" stone, known generally as "Sarsen"; all the "simple uprights"
are of "foreign" stone, sometimes classed together roughly as
"Syenite." This latter term must be understood in a very comprehensive
sense since the simple uprights show considerable variation in
quality, but one and all are foreign to the county of Wiltshire;
whereas the larger Sarsen blocks are to be found in considerable
numbers scattered over the Wiltshire Downs. This difference in
material seems to present a considerable difficulty; and the question
naturally arises, How did the foreign stones come to Salisbury Plain?
This point will be considered later, as it is one involving other
matters, such as the ethnology of the builders and the probable region
from which they obtained these unusual materials. But the Sarsens
present no problem, and so may be considered first of all, for
familiar as they are their story is full of interest.

  [Illustration: The Lithology of Stonehenge.]


The geologist would probably describe the Sarsen stones of Wiltshire
as "masses of saccharoid sandstone," which in plain English might be
rendered as boulders closely resembling gigantic lumps of coarse
sugar. These huge stones are to be found, though in decreasing
numbers, scattered all over the plain, and particularly along the
ridges of the Marlborough Downs. The country folk, always
picturesquely minded, call them "Grey Wethers," and indeed in North
Wilts, it is not hard to conjure up their poetic resemblance to a
flock of titanic sheep, reclining at ease upon the pasturage of the
Downs. The alternative name Sarsen, has an interesting derivation. It
is a corruption of the word "Saracen." But what have Saracens to do
with Wiltshire? Frankly nothing. The name has come to the stones from
Stonehenge itself, and is a part of that ever interesting confusion of
ideas, which has been bequeathed to us by our ancestors of the Middle
Ages. To them all stone circles and megalithic monuments were the work
of heathens, if not of the devil himself. Heathenism and all its works
was roundly condemned, whether it be Celtic, Mahomedan, or Pagan; and
the condemnation was as concise and universal as the phrase "Jews,
Turks, Infidels, and Heretics" of the Christian Prayer Book to-day. In
the early days of the _Moyen Age_, the Saracen stood for all that was
antagonistic to Christianity. Consequently the stones of Stonehenge
were Saracen or heathen stones, which the Wiltshire tongue has
shortened in due time to Sarsen.

This confusion of ideas may seem amusing, but it is not more absurd
than the existing popular idea that Stonehenge is of Druidical origin.
The stone circle of Salisbury Plain was many hundred years old when
those half mythical Celtic priests first set foot in England, and the
Druids of yesterday have about as much connection with Stonehenge as
the Salvation Army of to-day.

The Sarsen well repays a close examination. A glance at one of these
stones as it lies on the Downland, shows that it has suffered greatly
from the weather. It is the core, or kernel, of a much larger block of
friable sandstone, worn away on all sides by wind and weather.
Moreover, these isolated blocks appear on the Downs in a country
devoid of any rock save chalk.

How came they in their present position? In one sense they never came
at all; for they existed on the surface of the chalk from the time it
rose from the bottom of the sea to its present position. They are, in
fact, the remains of a great sheet of fine sand and gravel cemented
together by silex, which formerly overlay the chalk downs, the other
parts of which have been dissolved and worn by wind and rain until
only the harder cores or kernels survive to tell the tale. And the
proof of this is not far to seek. The chalk of the London Basin is
still capped by layers of such sandstone, as may be seen at Purfleet
in Essex. The titanic sheep, or Grey Wethers, therefore, are merely a
small residue of that widespread sandy deposit which once covered the
whole of the south of England with its inhospitable sheet, and of
which larger patches remain to-day in Surrey, Hampshire, and the Isle
of Wight. But though the hand of Time and the buffets of the weather
have been heavy on the Sarsens, the hand of man has likewise borne its
share. In a district like the Plain, devoid of building material other
than flint, these stones have attracted the unwelcome attention of the
farmers. Walls, gateposts, and paving-stones have accounted for many,
while in the interest of the road-mender many a noble Grey Wether has
been led to slaughter to provide macadam for the roads. Hence it is
not surprising that the number of Sarsen stones to be found on the
Plain where Nature placed them is becoming less and less. Indeed, the
time may yet come when they will be as extinct as the Great Bustard
who once strutted among them, and their memory will survive only in
their accidental use in a prehistoric monument like Stonehenge.


While the Sarsens usually awake the greatest interest by reason of
their bulk, and the problem of how a primitive people was able to deal
with them, a far greater problem is presented by the small uprights,
or Foreign Stones, the like of which cannot be matched within a
hundred miles of Salisbury Plain, while some can only be found upon
the continent of Europe. Fragments carefully removed and submitted to
mineralogists have made this fact abundantly clear, and consequently
it is possible to arrive at the very definite conclusion that
Stonehenge is certainly not a "Wiltshire" monument, and probably that
it is not even "British" at all.

Where have the stones come from? One school of writers ventures to
suggest Kildare in Ireland. Others suggest Wales, Cornwall, Dartmoor,
Shropshire, or Cumberland, where similar rocks are to be found, though
perhaps not absolutely identical in character. Yet another theory
advanced is that the Foreign Stones were transported to the plain as
boulders of the "glacial drift." It has even been stated that the
gravels of the district contain small pebbles composed of rock similar
to these mysterious Foreign Stones. The statement has indeed been
made, but as yet no Wiltshire geologist has produced one of these
pebbles of which so much is written, and so little seen.

These Glacial Drift theorists, further account for the absence of
these foreign stones elsewhere than at Stonehenge, by yet another
theory, that they, like most of the Sarsens, have all been used up for
millstones, gateposts, and road metal.

There are many millstones and gateposts in Wiltshire, but where is
there one which corresponds in any way to the upright Foreign Stones
at Stonehenge? The production of pebbles from the gravels of Wilts, or
of a specimen gatepost or millstone would at once settle this
question. Unhappily this tangible evidence is wanting, so, alluring as
the Glacial Drift theory may appear, it must reluctantly be set aside
for want of convincing evidence. Finally, there seems every reason to
believe that the small upright stones are "naturalised aliens" from
abroad, and that is why they have been described at the commencement
of this section as "Foreign Stones." It must not be taken for granted
that the small upright stones at present standing represent all the
foreign rocks employed. Probably they are merely the hardest and most
durable of those used in the original structure, the softer and more
friable examples having disappeared entirely, owing to the action of
the weather, and possibly also to the assaults of the unchecked
relic-monger, who until recent years could with his hammer collect
_souvenirs_ with impunity. In this connection, there is a story afoot
that a hammer was kept upon the mantelpiece of a well-known hotel in
Salisbury, which was reserved for the use of those intending to see
Stonehenge, who might be wishful to bring back some convincing
evidence of their visit.

In all probability these foreign stones originally numbered
forty-five. To-day there are but thirty.

A complete lithology of the stones made by the late Professor J.W.
Judd, in 1901, reveals the following rocks as comprising those used in
the construction of Stonehenge.

  1. _Sarsens._--Coarse and fine-grained Sandstone similar to the
       Woolwich, Reading, or Bagshot beds. This stone is used for
       the Trilithons, Hele Stone, a recumbent stone known as the
       "Slaughtering Stone," and two small stones set north-west
       and south-east of the circle. It is of local origin.

  2. _Ophitic Diabase._--(Some porphyritic.)

  3. _Highly altered basic Tuffs, and agglomerates_ (calcareous
       chloritic schists).--Only one stump now remains.

  4. _Altered Rhyolites and Dacites._--Only fragments of this rock
       have been revealed during Mr. Gowland's excavations in 1901.
       At one time doubtless there was a whole upright of this
       material, but its striking appearance and fracture has
       probably led to its demolition by generations of _souvenir_
       hunters. Other fragments have been found in the barrows once
       within sight of Stonehenge, but now destroyed by cultivation.

  5. _Sandstones, Grits, and Quartzites._--The "Altar-Stone" belongs
       to this class. It is interesting to note that Professor
       Maskelyne has pointed out the similarity between the Altar
       Stone at Stonehenge, and the "Stone of Destiny" in the
       Coronation Chair at Westminster Abbey.

  6. _Grey Wackés._--Fragments only of these stones have been
       discovered among the chippings incidental to the dressing of
       the stones before erection.

  Their absence at the present day is not a matter for surprise, as
       stones of this class weather badly, and when exposed to the
       action of frost and cold rapidly disintegrate.

  7. _Argillaceous Flagstones and Slates._--As in the case of the
       Grey Wackés, fragments only of these stones exist to tell the
       story of the uprights which have vanished under atmospheric

  8. _Glanconitic Sandstone_ (possibly Upper Greensand?).--Traces of
       this rock have been discovered at Stonehenge by Mr.
       Cunnington. Professor Judd suggests the possibility of a
       boulder of this material having been found and used by the
       builders of Stonehenge.

  9. _Flints._--These of course are naturally found in abundance
       throughout the district. Most of those found within
       Stonehenge are broken fragments struck off in the process of
       repointing flint chisels during the erection of the circle.

The above catalogue of stones may not convey very much to the ordinary
visitor, and has only been inserted for the sake of completeness; or
for the information of geologists who may be concerned with this
aspect of the history of the monument. The conclusions to be drawn
from such a list, however, are not without interest to the general
reader. From the varied fragments found, it is apparent that some six,
or perhaps seven, different classes of stone were used for the small
uprights, but that only the harder and more durable rocks (the
diabase, rhyolite, etc.) have survived. The softer rocks (basic tuffs,
grey wackés, flagstones, and slates), being more easily broken, have
fallen victims to the souvenir hunter, and to the action of the
weather, rain, and frost. Originally, as has already been stated, the
foreign stones numbered forty-five, disposed as follows: thirty in the
outer circle, and fifteen in the inner horseshoe. To-day only nineteen
exist in the outer circle, and eleven in the inner horseshoe.

A very striking proof that many of these foreign stones have
disappeared, is to be found in the wide gaps which exist to-day in
certain parts of the circle. That such gaps were originally filled by
standing stones is beyond question, indeed, the base of a "schistose"
stone (see Class 3 in the Lithology above) was actually discovered by
Mr. Cunnington in the course of his investigations into the nature of
the rocks composing Stonehenge. It is highly probable that careful and
scientific excavation may add greatly to our knowledge in this

There is yet one other point of interest in connection with these
foreign stones. On entering the circle from the north-east (the usual
path taken by visitors) a recumbent foreign stone will be noticed on
the left-hand side, which has two cavities worked in it. This is the
only worked foreign stone in the whole monument, and at first sight
these cavities may possibly suggest themselves as "mortise holes"
similar to those on the Sarsen trilithons, to be described later. It
has even been suggested that the small uprights once carried imposts,
or lintel stones similar to the trilithons, on the evidence of this
one stone. Such a theory, however attractive, should be accepted with
due caution, for the cavities on the stone are far from the ends, and
situated too close together to justify a comparison with the existing
Sarsen trilithons of the outer circle. This stone has never yet been
explained and its position defined, consequently it is omitted from
the frontispiece.


Outside the circle of Trilithons stand three stones which have not as
yet been described in detail, since they do not fall within the
geometrical arrangement of the circle. They are, however, of the
highest importance, as it is from them, and from their position, that
it is possible to gather some conclusions as to one use to which the
structure may have been put.

Within the circular earthwork, lying in a line north-west and
south-east, are two small untrimmed Sarsens, while outside the
earthwork stands yet another unworked Sarsen, already referred to as
the "Hele Stone" or "Friar's Heel." The fact that these three Sarsens
are unworked, while all the others show very marked traces of dressing
and trimming, is one that should be remembered. These three stones
occupy no haphazard position either. As already stated, the "Hele
Stone" marks the rising of the sun on the Summer Solstice. The
remaining two mark both its rising on the Winter Solstice, and its
setting on the Summer Solstice.


This stone, as being the largest of this group of three, and such a
conspicuous feature in the structure, demands something more than mere
passing mention. It is a monolith of unwrought stone standing sixteen
feet high. Such untrimmed stones are to be found all the world over in
connection with religious rites. Even the Jews were not untainted with
this early cult of stone worship.

"Among the smooth stones of the valley is thy portion; they are thy
lot; even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, hast thou offered
a meat offering," writes Isaiah.

In Christian times the custom continued. The Council of Tours as late
as A.D. 657 categorically excluded from Christianity all worshippers
of upright stones; while later, Canute forbade the barbarous worship
of stones, trees, fountains, and heavenly bodies. At once, therefore,
this huge unwrought monolith suggests religion, and probably one of
the earliest, and most primitive forms of worship. And thus being
obviously connected with non-Christian rites, it is not surprising to
find that it has a "devil-legend" attaching to it.


The devil, so the story runs, determined one day to undertake some
great and stupendous work, for the like of which he is famous
throughout the world. In this devil we can still discern the
Scandinavian "giant" legend, which in later Christian times became
"devil" legends. The work had to be great, puzzling, and amazing to
all beholders, for as the Wiltshire story-teller adds, "he had let an
exciseman slip through his fingers." In the course of his wanderings
up and down the earth, he had noticed some huge stones in the garden
of an old crone in Ireland; and he determined, therefore, to transport
them to the stoneless waste of Salisbury Plain as being the most
unlikely spot in which to find such things. There yet remained the old
woman's permission to be obtained before he could commence his labour.
His request was at first met with a flat negative, but eventually the
devil so played upon her cupidity, by the assurance that she could
have as much money as she could count and add up while he was engaged
in the work of removal, that she readily gave her consent. As usual
the devil had the best of the bargain, for he, knowing her powers of
arithmetic to be but scanty, handed her a number of pieces of money,
whose value was fourpence halfpenny, and twopence three-farthings.
The dame had barely managed to add the first two coins together, when
the devil called upon her to stop, and looking round she saw the
stones were all removed, and had been tied with a withe band into a
neat bundle which was slung upon his shoulder. Away flew the devil
towards Salisbury Plain, but as he sped onwards the withe cut deep
into his shoulder, so heavy were the stones. He endured it as long as
he could, but just towards the end of his journey, while passing over
the valley of the Avon, he winced, and re-adjusted his burden; in so
doing one of the stones fell down and plunged into the river at
Bulford, where it remains at the present day, as witness to the
veracity of this legend. Right glad to be rid of his burden when he
reached the Plain, the devil made haste to set up the stones, and so
delighted was he with the result of his first efforts, and with the
progress he was making, that he cried aloud with glee, "Now I'll
puzzle all men, for no one knows, nor ever will know, how these stones
have come here." Unluckily this bold boast was overheard by a holy
friar walking near, who straightway replied in right Wiltshire
fashion, "That's more than thee can tell"; and then realising who the
builder was, turned and fled for his life. Enraged at his discovery by
the friar, and perceiving that his scheme had failed, the devil, who
had just taken up a stone to poise it upon its two uprights, hurled
it at the holy man, and struck him on the uplifted heel as he made
haste to run. The friar's sanctity was evidently greater than his
personal courage, for it was the stone and not the friar which
suffered most from the impact. Even to-day the huge impress of the
Friar's heel is to be seen upon the stone. At this juncture the sun
rose, and the devil had perforce to relinquish his task. This accounts
for the present scattered appearance of the stones.

Turning from fancy to fact, the word Hele, from which the stone takes
its name, is probably derived from the Anglo-Saxon verb _helan_ = "to
conceal," and is so applied to the stone because it conceals the sun
at rising on the day of the Summer Solstice.


In all matters of archæology it is constantly found that certain
questions are better left in abeyance, or bequeathed to a coming
generation for solution. The "Slaughtering Stone" appears to be an
admirable example of this class. Just within the area enclosed by the
earthwork circle, lies a prostrate Sarsen Stone, to which this name
has been given. The idea of its having been used as a place of
slaughter for the victim intended for sacrifice in the "Temple" of
Stonehenge, seems to rest upon a very bare foundation. It is probably
a picturesque piece of nomenclature devised by certain bygone
antiquaries to whom Stonehenge was a "Druidical" monument, and who,
therefore, having the idea of human sacrifice, and "wicker figures"
prominently before them, naturally jumped at the idea of providing a
slaughtering stone for the numberless human victims whom they imagined
had been slain there. Nevertheless, the stone is curious because of
the row of holes which have been worked across one corner, which
certainly is unshapely, and which would square up the stone very
nicely if it were removed along the line of these holes. The
indentations are somewhat oval, suggesting that they were made by
"pecking" with a sharp instrument, rather than drilled by a rotating
one, which would make a circular incision. Having recorded this,
however, there is little to add, except that Mr. Gowland, who minutely
examined the stone in 1901, is of opinion that the oval indentations
referred to are more recent than the building of Stonehenge. Had they
been contemporaneous with the erection of the Trilithons, he is
convinced that the action of the water in the holes, combined with
frost, would have caused a very much greater amount of disintegration
than exists to-day. Yet another difficulty arises. At the meeting of
the British Archæological Association at Devizes in 1880, a visit was
paid to Stonehenge, and there were, as usual at such gatherings,
papers and discussions dealing with it. Mr. William Cunnington,
F.S.A., specially put on record the fact that his grandfather, Mr. H.
Cunnington, and Sir R.C. Hoare, remembered this stone as standing
erect. Here at all events are three conflicting statements. Under
these circumstances it is well to leave the Slaughtering Stone as a
problem for posterity.

  [Illustration: Stonehenge. shewing the Avenue approach & the
  earthwork surrounding the stone Circle.]


Visitors entering Stonehenge are apt in their eagerness to reach the
stones to overlook a definite banked Avenue leading from the
north-east towards the Hele Stone, and entering the circular earthwork
enclosure. This earthwork is not very considerable to-day, but in the
Stonehenge of yesterday it was probably far more marked and imposing.
This Avenue extends from Stonehenge in a straight line northwards for
about five hundred yards, where it divides into two branches, one
going eastward towards the Avon, where there is an ancient ford, the
other continuing northward until it joins yet another earthwork,
generally known as the Cursus, about half a mile distant. The whole
Avenue has suffered greatly in recent years and is fast disappearing
entirely. Both the circular form of the earthwork enclosing
Stonehenge, as well as the straight and parallel banks of the Avenue,
are specially worthy of notice. They belong to a class of earthwork
quite unlike the usual planning of cattle enclosures, and defensive
works, and exhibit a precision in setting out which is only associated
with the sepulchral and religious earthworks of prehistoric times in
this country.

  [Illustration: Stonehenge, Yesterday--Looking South East.]


The question is often asked, "How did they build Stonehenge?" There is
a refreshing simplicity about that indefinite word "they," but for the
present, whoever "they" may be, it is possible to some extent, at all
events, to furnish an answer to this ever recurring query. In the
first place, however, it may be well to recapitulate very briefly the
conclusions already arrived at, before entering into a more detailed
description of the tools which were employed in the work of erection,
and the methods by which the huge Sarsens were reared into position.

Stonehenge is a circular monument, enclosed by a circular earthwork,
and approached by an avenue lying north-east and south-west. Without
the circle lie four Sarsen stones. The Hele Stone, and two smaller
stones _unworked_, occupying definite sites with reference to the
rising and setting of the sun at the Summer and Winter Solstices; and
the so-called Slaughtering Stone, the use of which is at present a
matter of speculation. The monument proper, consisting of a circle of
Sarsen Trilithons, enclosing a circle of upright foreign stones.
Within these, five detached Sarsen Trilithons, of graduated height.
These five Trilithons are set horseshoe wise. Before them a standing
horseshoe of foreign stones, and in the front of the great Trilithon a
flat slab or altar stone. From this stone it is possible to look
outwards towards the Hele Stone, which lies in line with the axis of
the monument drawn through the centre of the Altar Stone. The Sarsen
stones were obtained from the immediate neighbourhood, the foreign
stones must have been imported from a very considerable distance. All
the stones, with the exception of the four specially indicated, have
been worked. The question naturally arises how were they worked? The
answer to this may be given without the least hesitation: with stone
tools. For many years the method of working the stones was a matter of
great debate, and the uncertainty then prevailing permitted many
theorists to speculate on the "Roman" origin of the structure. Now,
however, the entire absence of any metal which resulted from Mr.
Gowland's excavations in 1901, at once precludes the possibility of
the builders being anything but a primitive people, to whom the use
of metal was unknown, or only partly known. The stone tools in use in
the construction of Stonehenge were of four kinds.

i. Axes of rude form roughly chipped, and with a cutting edge.

ii. Hammer-axes, chipped to an edge on one side and flat on the other.

iii. Rounded hammer-stones; many of which show signs of bruising and
hard wear. The material used in these three classes was flint. All of
these tools would have been used in the hand, and not set in a handle.

iv. Rounded hammer-stones of Sarsen, varying from one pound to six
and a half pounds in weight. They would have been used for the surface
dressing of the stones, to which reference will be made later.

v. Mauls of compact Sarsen weighing between thirty-six and sixty-four
pounds. The broadest side of these was more or less flat, and when
wielded by two or three men they were capable of giving a very
effective blow. Their use would have been for breaking the rude blocks
into more or less regular forms; and consolidating the rubble
foundations. It is specially notable that no ground or polished stone
implements were found among them.

  [Illustration: Flint implement from Stonehenge.]

  [Illustration: Stag's horn pick from Stonehenge.]

In addition to the stone tools, picks of deer horn were employed for
quarrying the chalk when making the foundations of the uprights. Those
who are familiar with the antlers of the deer, will recall the sharp
pointed tine, known as the "brow tine," which projects forward from
the horn above its core or socket. This was the tooth of the pick, all
other tines being sawn off; thus transforming the antler into a very
rough implement closely resembling a pick, with a single point. Many
splinters from these picks were found actually embedded in the chalk
of the foundations, and one entire discarded example was discovered
showing great signs of use, the brow tine being worn away to a
considerable extent.


There can be little doubt that the Sarsens were first of all roughly
hewn into shape, before they were conveyed to the site. It stands to
reason that a primitive race, when faced with the problem of
transporting a vast mass of stone, would first of all reduce its bulk
to the approximate proportions which it would have when finished and
erected. Moreover, the chippings and mason's waste discovered in the
excavations of 1901 reveal comparatively little Sarsen stone, and only
a few large fragments, such as must have been broken off in finally
reducing the "Grey Wethers" to monolithic pillars and lintels. It must
not be forgotten either, that the Sarsens occur naturally in tabular
blocks, well adapted to the purpose of the builders. The surface of
these blocks is often soft, and sugary, while the body of the stone
is dense. The nature of their composition is such that no two stones
are quite alike in hardness, some can be disintegrated easily, even
with the fingers, while others are dense, and will resist blows with a
hammer and chisel.

But in any case the natural structure of the stone made it an ideal
material for the Trilithons, or, it may be, that the Trilithons were
the natural outcome of the physical peculiarities of the rock. The
preliminary dressing may very possibly have been effected by lighting
small fires along the proposed line of fracture, and heating the
stone, and then by pouring cold water upon it, which would originate a
cleavage in the grain, which would readily break away under blows from
the heavy mauls referred to in Class V. of the Implements. Sides and
ends could thus be roughly squared.

The next point was the transportation of the rough ashlar to the site.
Here the problem is not so formidable as it appears, when it is
remembered that time was no object to the builders, that labour was
abundant, and that in all probability the work was undertaken under
the stimulus of religion.

Labour, tree trunks, and stout ropes of twisted hide would have proved
sufficient. It is only necessary to consider very briefly the
megalithic monuments in Egypt, Assyria, and elsewhere, to see that
such tasks were well within the capacities of a race emerging from
comparative savagery. There exists on the wall of a tomb at El Bersheh
in Egypt a very characteristic illustration of the transport of a
Colossus; such as are to be seen _in situ_ in Egypt to-day. The
approximate date of this is B.C. 2700-2500, and prior to Stonehenge by
about 1000 years.

Arrived at the site, the more skilled work of final dressing was
completed. A close examination of the face of some of the fallen
stones reveals several shallow grooves on the face with a rib or
projection between them. It has been suggested that the rough stone
was violently pounded with the heavy mauls until the surface was
broken up and reduced to sand for a considerable depth, and the
_débris_ brushed away. The projecting ridge resulting from this could
then be cut away by hammer and stone chisel, or even by the hammer


Hitherto no word has been said as to the arrangement of mortice and
tenon, by which the Trilithons are keyed together. This has been done
purposely, in order that the constructional questions relating to
Stonehenge should, as far as possible, be dealt with together, and in
due order. In the outer circle of Trilithons each upright had two
tenons worked on its apex, to bear the two lintels or horizontal
stones which rested upon it. Corresponding mortices were sunk in
those stones to admit the tenons. In the case of the Trilithons of the
Inner Horseshoe, only one tenon on each upright was necessary.
Further, the ends of the lintels of the outer circle were shaped so as
to dovetail into one another, and form what is known as a "toggle"
joint. This can easily be seen to-day, in the group of three
Trilithons which lie between the Altar Stone and the Hele Stone. This
careful arrangement, of mortice, tenon, and toggle, has doubtless very
much to do with the comparative stability of Stonehenge at the present
day. Had these simple but effective measures not been taken, it would
not be exceeding the bounds of possibility to say that to-day the ruin
would have presented a mass of fallen stones, and the task of their
reconstruction would be well-nigh impossible.


Evidently the early mason found the cutting of these tenons by no
means an easy task, for, with two exceptions, the workmanship is not
remarkable. Luckily for the observer to-day the tenon on the remaining
upright of the Great Trilithon is very strongly marked, and stands out
boldly on its apex, thus affording a clue to those existing on other
stones. The mortice holes were easier to accomplish. A small
depression may have been made first of all, and then a round stone
inserted with sand and water. In this way a smooth hollow could soon
be worn. This principle is and has been applied by stone-using peoples
in all quarters of the globe. The rough dovetailing of the lintels of
the outer circle would present no difficulty to users of the tools
already mentioned.

To-day the surfaces of the Sarsens bear undoubted signs of weather,
but in the Stonehenge of yesterday the Sarsens were beautifully
finished with rough tooling all over their surface. This final finish
was achieved by the Quartzite Hammers (Class IV.). A very beautiful
piece of this work was discovered by Mr. Gowland in 1901. In the
process of raising the upright of the Great Trilithon, a thin slab of
that part of the stone which had been buried in the foundation became
detached. The tooling upon this fragment is absolutely perfect, and as
clean and sharp as it was when it left the hand of the craftsman about
four thousand years ago. So remarkable was the workmanship that
experiments were made on pieces of Sarsen with various materials to
endeavour to secure the same quality of surface, during which it was
found that whereas the ordinary masons' chisels of to-day failed to
produce the effect, a quartzite pebble used as a tool at once
reproduced the character and surface of the original finish on the

The foreign stones appear to have been treated in a very similar
manner, but it is not possible to discuss this with the same detail as
in the case of the Sarsens, for the body of the rock to be dealt with
varied vastly in quality and fracture. The method of dressing by
pounding was probably not adopted. Quantities of small chippings from
the foreign stones were found in 1901, so many indeed as to justify
the claim that these stones were actually dressed on the spot, and not
partly shaped before being transported to the circle, as in the case
of the Sarsens. This at once disposes of a popular and ingenious
suggestion that the foreign stones were originally a temple elsewhere,
and that in migrating to Salisbury Plain, the tribe had brought their
temple with them.


Contrary to another cherished belief, the Sarsen Trilithons were
erected first, followed by the foreign stones. The building of the
group was continuous and no gap separates the Trilithon from the
foreign upright. Of this abundant ocular proof was forthcoming in
1901, when the foundations of the great Trilithon were laid bare, and
the leaning upright restored to its original perpendicular position.
When the ground was opened it was found that each upright had been
differently bedded in the earth--and for a very good reason. The one
was twenty-nine feet eight inches long, while the other was only
twenty-five feet. Obviously they were the two finest "grey wethers"
obtainable in the flock, and because of that, they were set aside for
the most prominent place in the enclosure. The master builder decided
that the height of this central Trilithon should be the equivalent of
twenty-one feet at the present day. Therefore it was necessary to bed
one stone deeper than the other, in order that their two summits
should be level to receive the lintel, or impost. One stone,
therefore, was sunk to a depth of four feet, while the other extended
downwards eight feet three inches. To compensate for the lack of depth
in the shorter stone, its base was shaped into an irregular projecting
boss to give it a greater bearing area. It was decided to raise the
larger stone first, and the foundation was dug as follows: A slanting
trench was cut with the deer's horn picks through the earth and chalk,
having at its deeper end a perpendicular chalk face against which the
Sarsen could rest when upright. Rubble and chalk were cleared away,
and the stone carefully slid down the plane to its foundation. To
raise it, now that its base rested against a solid wall of chalk, was
not a great matter. The same ropes of hide and tree trunks which had
served for its transport would again have come into play. Slowly it
would be levered up, and packings or wedges of wood or stone inserted.
Thus inch by inch, probably, it rose higher and higher, strutted up,
perhaps, by strong saplings as it reared its head above the busy crowd
of builders. Blocks of Sarsens were packed beneath it to equalise the
bearing, and then the excavation was filled in with chalk and rubble,
which doubtless was well rammed down and consolidated with the big
sixty-pound mauls. Among the packing of chalk and rubble were found a
considerable number of the rough implements already referred to.

  [Illustration: The central Entrance of Stonehenge. Looking S.W.]

The shorter upright was next set on end. A shallower excavation had to
suffice in this case, but the base of the stone, as has been already
intimated, was wider, and to secure greater stability blocks of Sarsen
were provided for the stone to rest on, other blocks being packed in
carefully as it was raised, and curiously enough among the firm
packing were several large stone mauls, fitted in to make the whole
mass solid and compact. There is no direct evidence as to the actual
method of placing the imposts upon the uprights. It has been
suggested, and with every show of reason, that one extremity of the
imposts would be raised and packed with timber. The opposite end
would then be similarly treated. In this way, by alternately raising
and wedging first one side and then the other, the impost could have
been brought, in time, level with the summit of its upright, and
levered over on to the tenons.

Such a method is employed by primitive races to-day.


The five Sarsen Trilithons already mentioned were raised into position
from the inside of the circle. Investigation has shown this to be a
fact. It therefore stands to reason that the Foreign Stones were
erected last, and not first as has so often been supposed.

This is a hard saying, for it at once negatives the picturesque legend
that the Foreign Stones were a stone circle brought from Ireland, and
erected by a colonial tribe, who afterwards gave dignity to their
primitive temple by the erection of stately Trilithons. Furthermore,
the _débris_ of the ancient mason reveals chippings of Sarsen and
Foreign Stone intermingled so thoroughly as to preclude any idea of
two separate periods of building. Stonehenge, therefore, was erected
at one date and continuously. It is a question, as yet, if the outer
Sarsen Trilithons were erected from the outside or the inside of the

It has not been possible, in the foregoing brief description, to
enter into minute detail, but it is hoped that sufficient has been
said to show the stages by which the work of building was approached.

First, the rough trimming of the Sarsen, as it lay upon the Down, then
its transport to the spot, its final dressing, and the preparation of
its foundation, followed by those anxious days during which the
builders toiled as they raised it aloft; the feverish haste with which
they rammed and packed the loose rubble about its foot, casting in
their mauls and implements to wedge and fix it securely on its base:
and last of all, the final effort of raising the impost on its wooden
bed, rising now on this side, now on that, as the packings were
inserted beneath the levered stone. What a contrast to the Stonehenge
of to-day--abandoned and silent on the fast vanishing Plain of
Salisbury. Yesterday, it was the workplace of a teeming hive of
masons, the air filled with the tap of the smaller hammers dressing
the stone faces, with the sullen thud of the big maul pounding the
face of a newly arrived Sarsen, while the faint muffled "peck" of the
deer's horn told of trench workers dressing down a chalk face to
receive the thrust of the monolith, while high above the steady tap of
the picks and hammers came the sounds of an unknown tongue raised now
in command, now in argument, or encouragement as the work went on.


Until comparatively recent years, the date of Stonehenge was a subject
for speculation, and so fascinating did it prove that it attracted the
attention of a vast number of minor authorities, who in the face of no
definite data on which to base their theses, set the date of
Stonehenge at almost any period except that to which it has been
proved to belong.

Many decided definitely that it was of Roman origin. For the most
part, these speculations have not been based upon the tangible
evidence of the Stones, the Tools, and the Barrows, but rather upon
the records of early historians, whose evidence in those days was
probably not a question of first-hand information.

After all, the objects actually exhumed from the foundations of the
Stones, must of necessity be the evidence of greatest importance. What
are these objects? The following is a complete list taken from Mr.
Gowland's report.

_Excavation I._ (Seven feet deep.)--A Roman coin of Commodus and a
penny of George III. at eight inches below the turf.

A flint hammer-stone, and a splinter of deer's horn embedded in the
chalk, at a depth of two and a half feet (below datum line).

_Excavation II._ (Eight feet deep.)--Two, edged hammer-stones of
flint, and two rounded ones of the same material, at a depth of three
feet (below datum).

_Excavation III._ (Eight feet three inches.)--A halfpenny of George
I., just below the turf.

A Roman coin (sestertius of Antonia) ten inches below the turf, and a
pewter farthing of James II. at the same depth.

Below this, at a depth varying from two feet to four feet, were
twenty-six axes and hammer-stones of flint, two hammer-stones of
Sarsen, and a large maul of the same material weighing over sixty-four

A fourth excavation, known as Excavation Q, yielded at a depth of
three feet six inches to four feet six inches, ten flint axes, one
sandstone axe, nine edged flint hammer-stones, four rounded flint
hammer-stones, ten Sarsen hammers, and seven mauls, weighing from
thirty-six to fifty-eight and a half pounds. Large numbers of deer's
horn splinters were discovered in this excavation.

_Excavation V._ (Eight feet deep.)--Four axes of flint, one of Sarsen,
three edged hammer-stones of flint, one Sarsen and one Diabase
hammer-stone, were found at depths varying between two feet and four

One Sarsen hammer-stone was found under the base of the foreign
upright, which stands in front of the upright monolith of the Great
Trilithon, at a depth of six feet below datum.

In this last excavation, at a depth of about seven feet, the slab of
tooled Sarsen already referred to was discovered, and on it a very
small stain of copper carbonate. The depth at which this stone was
discovered precludes the possibility of metal being thus sunk by moles
or rabbits.

This list, like the details of the foreign stones, may not be of
general interest, but it affords a very powerful argument for the date
of the structure.

To summarise the "finds." The metal objects found consist of various
coins ranging from Roman to recent times, about half a dozen in
number, all coming from the surface, and none at a greater depth than
ten inches. In other words, they may be classed as "superficial"
finds, of very little value; the more so, as some of the more recent
coins were found at a greater depth than those of earlier date. The
only other trace of metal is the small green stain upon the slab of
Sarsen already alluded to. This stain can only have been caused by the
contact with the stone of a small fragment of copper, which appears to
have been entirely decomposed, as no traces of it could be found. It
must have been very minute, since had it exceeded one-eighth of an
inch, it could not have escaped the mesh of the sieve employed in
searching for it. Clearly, therefore, it could not have been an
implement; perhaps it was an ornament.

On the other hand, the Stone Implements discovered number one hundred
and fifteen, and were found scattered through the excavations at all
depths, and even under the foundations of one of the foreign stones.

Probably the entire area of Stonehenge, if opened up, would yield over
seven thousand examples.

The evidence of the Stone Implements goes far to give the date of the
building. Horn picks similar to those employed at Stonehenge have been
found in considerable numbers at Grimes Graves, where they were used
for excavating chalk in order to win flint for implement making. Other
picks have been found at Cissbury, near Worthing, where similar chalk
workings existed. This resemblance between the finds at Stonehenge,
Cissbury, and Grimes Graves, does not, however, end with the picks; it
is repeated in the similarity of the Implements of Stone, those at
Stonehenge being in some cases the counterpart of those found in the
other localities.

The Cissbury Implements have been assigned "to the Stone Age, or at
any rate to the Age of Flint manufacture" by General Pitt Rivers, who
discovered and reported upon them. Canon Greenwell describes the
Implements from Grimes Graves as belonging to "a period when both
metal and stone were in use."

It is obvious, therefore, that the similarity between the tools used
in the construction of Stonehenge, and those used in other parts of
England for similar purposes, and definitely assigned to their period
in the history of Man, demonstrates very clearly that the date of the
building of Stonehenge may fairly be placed at a time when the use of
stone was continuous with a partial use of bronze; and that if
Stonehenge is not a Neolithic structure, it must certainly belong to
the Early Bronze period. It might be urged that the roughness of the
Tools, coupled with the marked absence of bronze, indicates an even
earlier period than that already stated, but it must be remembered
that the form of the implement is not always a criterion of its age.
Moreover, bronze tools were not necessary for the dressing of the
Stones, though had they been plentiful, it is more than probable that
some might have been either lost or dropped during the work, and would
have come to light during the excavations.

Yet another sidelight upon the date of Stonehenge is to be found in
the presence of chippings of foreign stone found inside some of the
neighbouring Bronze Age barrows, which prove conclusively that the
barrows must have been built at a date later than the erection of

To many people, the mention of a period of culture, such as the Early
Bronze Age, may not convey very much. To give a date in years, on the
other hand, is not always easy. The march of culture in those days was
slow, and the gradation from the use of one material to another very
prolonged, often reaching into centuries. Consequently any date must
only be approximate and given under great reserve. The late Sir John
Evans has suggested that the Bronze Age in this country might be set
at 1400 B.C. Continental authorities set the age for countries in
Europe somewhat earlier, at about 2000 B.C. This is a perfectly
natural conclusion, for it is an ascertained fact that the flow of
civilisation was from East to West, as has always been the case, and
that, therefore, it is only to be expected that the Bronze Age of the
Continent would ante-date that of England by some centuries.

But, it is obvious from our present knowledge of Stonehenge that the
Bronze Age was hardly established in the sense as used by Sir John
Evans. Probably at the time of the building of Stonehenge bronze was
only known as a rare substance, whose very scarcity would make it
valuable as material for ornaments. It would not, therefore, be
inconsistent with existing evidence to set the date of Stonehenge
roughly at from 1700-1800 years B.C.


The Megalithic Stone structures, which exist not only in this country
but also throughout the Continent of Europe, are a special feature of
that period known as the Neolithic Age. As has already been shown,
Stonehenge represents a very late type, erected at a time when the
bronze culture had begun to overlap that of polished stone

These stone structures can be roughly divided into three classes.

1. Single upright stones, or _menhirs_ (Celtic = "high stone"), which
may be commemorative of some great event or personage.

2. _Dolmens_ (Celtic = "table stone"), in which a stone slab is set
table-wise on three or four uprights.

3. _Cromlechs_ (Celtic = "stone circle"). Circles enclosing barrows or

Stonehenge is a highly specialised example of this last class. Round
these cromlechs popular myth and superstition have crystallised
themselves into tales of the devil and his works (as in the case of
Stonehenge), ogres, giants, dwarfs, Sabbath breakers, and infidels,
turned to stone. In nearly every case there is some story of the
supernatural, which cannot be accidental, but which must have its root
in past religious observance.

It is a recognised fact that the worship of stones is more widely
distributed than any other primitive cult. Its almost universal
distribution can be referred to the tendency of the half savage mind
to confuse persons and things, and from seeming likeness of the
inanimate to the animate, to endue the lifeless object with the virtue
and power of the living object. This mental outlook is better
understood in practice than in theory. A Melanesian native may come
across a large stone, lying upon the top of a number of smaller
stones. It suggests to him a sow with her litter of pigs, and he at
once makes an offering to it, in the hope that he will secure pigs. In
determining the function of Stonehenge, therefore, it will be useful
to compare it with similar existing stone circles. The largest of
these in this country is Avebury, not many miles distant from
Stonehenge. Unluckily, to-day it is so ruined that its former
greatness is hardly to be distinguished by the unskilled observer.
Formerly comprising some hundreds of unhewn Sarsen stones, barely a
score remain in position at the present day. In Avebury, as it was,
can be found the early typic model of which Stonehenge is the final
product. The use of the circle as a basic form is common to both. In
Avebury the Sarsen is a rough unhewn monolith; in Stonehenge it is
squared, dressed, and crowned with its lintel. All evidences of a slow
evolution from Neolithic to Bronze culture. But whereas the circle
alone is used at Avebury, Stonehenge has in addition the horseshoe
series of Trilithons and foreign uprights, and in this particular
differs from all other Cromlechs in this country. It is the climax of
the Megalithic monument, and its use very certainly must have been
connected with the religion of the race which set it up. It was, in
short, a religious structure, probably used for the observation of the
sun, and possibly connected with "nature worship."

The fact that the sun rises over the Hele Stone on the Summer
Solstice, and that it can be observed in direct alignment with the
centre of the Great Trilithon, can hardly be due to accident. Chance
might bring two stones into such a position on the Solstice, but, in
this case, the entire monument is so arranged as to place the rising
sun in a due line with its axis on this particular day.

It will be well to consider the facts which must have been within the
knowledge of the builders of Stonehenge, and to trace as far as may be
their reasoning in the building of it.

To begin with, it is almost certain that at the time of building,
there existed some primitive form of priesthood, or body of "wise
men." This is quite compatible with the culture of the period. The
existence of the Neolithic Long Barrows is sufficient evidence that
man had, by this time, arrived at that particular culture which grasps
the existence of a "spirit."

Death only terminated the existence of the body, and not that of the
spirit. It was even able to return and enter another body, say that of
a new-born infant, an animal, or tree. And being after the manner of
human beings, spirits could understand human language and become
accessible to human petitions. Thus a spirit might even prove a
powerful friend or enemy. And the dwellings of these spirits would be
those great powers which meant so much to a primitive people; the sun,
moon, stars, rivers, forests, and clouds; from which arose the two
great classes of spirit, the "ancestral" and the "spirit of nature."
From this general body was developed a regular hierarchy of good and
evil spirits, gradually ascending to the conception of one great
creative spirit, or superior deity.

  [Illustration: Stonehenge. Looking N.E. from the altar stone
  towards the hele stone.]

To these early men, therefore, there was always the problem of
maintaining diplomatic relations with the unseen forces about them,
and for this purpose a primitive priesthood became necessary. The
chieftain would manage the temporal affairs of the tribe, those
spiritual would be relegated to a special body of wise men, or
intermediaries. These men would certainly, from the nature of their
calling, be not so much men of action as men of learning, the
recorders of history and tradition, students of the natural phenomena,
and of all those signs and portents which concerned the good of the
community. One of the earliest facts which impressed itself upon them
must have been the horizon. It was above that horizon that the sun
rose in the morning, and below that horizon that it sank to rest at
night; further, when the sun had set the moon and stars peeped up from
that line, and sank below it, all in due course. These were facts
easily apprehended. The common people even had grasped them, but the
wise men learned more. As the link between man and the spirits of the
stars, sun, and moon, they came to recognise that the sun did not rise
over the same spot on the horizon every day. In the summer it rose
roughly in the north-east and set in the north-west. In the winter, on
the other hand, it rose in the south-east and set in the south-west.
Moreover, these variations would be found to be regular and recurring.
The sun would appear to move every day after the Solstice towards the
east, and from the east towards the south, back again towards the
east, and once more northwards. A staff set in the ground would
determine the range of the sun's apparent journey and its extreme
limits or turning points. This would fix the Summer Solstice in the
north-east, and the winter Solstice in the south-east. Even such
simple learning as this was probably beyond the capacity of the
tribesman, whose daily duties took him afield early and late. But it
was to his interest that all such observations should be entrusted to
individuals who could keep definite count, and know exactly at what
part of the horizon the sun might be expected to appear. In this way
the solar year might be mapped out and divided into Solstices and
Equinoxes. Nor was this a mere arbitrary arrangement. The good of the
community depended upon it. The agriculturalist depended upon the sun
for his crops. It was essential that he should know the correct time
to plough, to sow, and to reap. Without the aid of the "wise men" he
had no means of knowing what day it was, or how much longer he could
count upon the sun for his primitive agriculture. The "wise man," on
his side, realised the importance of his knowledge, and doubtless used
it to his own advantage, thus winning support and respect from his
simple followers.

Temples, or stone circles corresponding to temples, might face either
to the north-east or south-east, for the Summer or Winter Solstice,
marking the end of the sun's journey, or they might be directed
towards the east, when the sun would appear in the appointed spot
twice in the year; once in his journey southward, and once on his
return; in other words, at the two Equinoxes. Stonehenge is so
arranged as to mark the sun at its Summer Solstice.

But, interesting as these speculations of the Sun Temple theory may
be, the facts recorded by Sir Norman Lockyer in 1901 are even more so,
as by independent calculations he has arrived at the same date for
Stonehenge as the archæologist. Briefly his task was to calculate the
extent of the change in the obliquity of the ecliptic since the
building of Stonehenge. The whole process involves a certain knowledge
of astronomical operations and calculations, and the reader is
referred to Sir Norman Lockyer's book for the actual steps taken to
arrive at his conclusion. But on astronomical grounds pure and simple
he was able to fix the date of Stonehenge as "lying between 1900-1500

It is at all events interesting that his results should tally with
those of Mr. Gowland who, working on entirely different lines, came to
practically the same conclusion.

Having proceeded thus far it is well, however, not to insist too
strongly on the "Sun Temple" theory, on the lines already sketched
out. It should be always remembered that the "Hele Stone" is an
unworked stone, which stands without the circle, and does not form a
symmetrical integer in the structure. Being unwrought it may have been
erected at an earlier date, and might belong to an earlier culture.
It is possible that Stonehenge may have been a later addition to the
Hele Stone. Many of the arguments relating to the "wise men" and the
observation of sunrise are matters of analogy rather than direct
proof, and though coincidences are ever suggestive and fascinating,
they cannot always be entirely accepted as proof. While it is quite
possible that the Hele Stone was erected to mark the Solstice and to
afford a definite means of determining the year, this may not justify
the theory that the entire structure was an astronomical observatory
and dedicated entirely to sun worship, with elaborate ramifications,
and "observation" mounds for celestial phenomena. Weighing, therefore,
the archæologist's and astronomer's evidence, it is fairly safe to
conclude that Stonehenge can be dated at about B.C. 1700, and that its
use was religious; probably a temple, in which the sun may have been
adored in some way. As yet, however, the actual nature of that worship
is a matter for speculation. It is of the utmost importance in dealing
with a question like this, to observe the greatest caution and to
maintain a strictly detached position. The astronomer, archæologist,
geologist, and anthropologist have each their share in the solution of
the problem, but each also has the bias due to his own special
science. The mineralogist solves the problem of the Foreign Stones by
suggesting a "glacial drift" without reference to the geologist, who
will tell him that the local gravels contain no pebbles which belong
to those classes of stones known as Foreign Stones. The astronomer, in
his quest for alignments, will convert barrows into observation
mounds, without reference to their uses and contents, and without
allowing for the ignorance of the period, while the anthropologist
often allows his imagination to carry him beyond the limits of actual
fact. Time, and constant careful investigation, will pierce some of
the mists which must always shroud the origin of Stonehenge, but the
true solution will be for the field archæologist, rather than to the
weaver of theories or the student in his library.

The circular form, the horseshoe form, the unhewn Hele Stone, all
bespeak religious origin. These are actual, visual facts, as is the
sunrise on the Solstice. Around these arises a clamour of conflicting
claims, each possibly containing much of real importance, each
probably expressing some clue to guide the future worker on his way,
but none containing that element of finality which is once and for all
time to quell the storm of controversy which has ever raged about this
ancient monument of the plain.


Perhaps one of the most persistent traditions which has been passed on
from generation to generation is that which connects Stonehenge with
the Druids. There is, indeed, a vast literature on the subject of
Druidism, but the actual knowledge of the subject is limited, and the
entire question is very obscure. Much of the information existing is
derived from a time when Christianity had long been established. The
early Celtic religion has in fact been overlaid and embellished by so
many later theories as to be particularly confusing to the modern
student. Benedictine historians have discovered in Druidism traces of
revealed religion by the simple process of confusing similarity with
identity. The Gaul adored the oak tree, therefore this must have been
a far-off remembrance of the plains of Mamre.

Another class of writers have invented for the Druids the mission of
preserving in the West the learning of Phoenicia and Egypt. The cults
of Baal and Moloch have been grafted upon them, and so forth, until
the very Druid himself is lost in a mass of crystallisations from
without. The insular Druids, to which our national traditions refer,
were far more likely to be mere "wise men," or "witch doctors," with
perhaps a spice of the conjuror. This, at all events, seems to be the
case at the time when we first acquire any positive information
concerning them. Theirs it would be to summon the rain clouds and to
terrify the people by their charms. The Chief Druid of Tara, decked
out in golden ear-clasps and his torque of heavy gold, is shown us as
a "leaping juggler" as he tosses swords and balls in the air, "and
like the buzzing of bees on a beautiful day is the motion of each
passing the other."

Amazing as is the bulk which has been written about the Druids, their
beliefs, knowledge, and ethics, it seems even more remarkable that so
much should have been said to connect them with the building of the
stone circles which they are credited with having constructed as
astronomical observatories and temples. As has already been indicated,
Stonehenge belongs to an epoch far earlier than any Druidism of which
record remains. This fact rests upon the evidence of both the
archæologist and the astronomer. It is, therefore, not a little
puzzling that Sir Norman Lockyer, after fixing the date of Stonehenge
at about 1700 B.C., should cite the Druids and their late Celtic cult
in dealing with a monument which, on his own showing, was built in
early Bronze times. There must exist a very wide gap of anything from
seven hundred to a thousand years between the "May Year" Druids of
whom he writes, and the builders of Stonehenge, and an interval
possibly as great or even greater between Stonehenge and Avebury and
those other north-east and south-east temples to which he attributes a
Druidic form of worship. It is even a matter of grave question if the
race who built the Stone Circles was not entirely different to the
late Celtic inhabitants of the plain. Avebury has been classed as a
Neolithic monument, built by the "long-headed" race whose remains are
usually found in the Long Barrows; Stonehenge belongs to a bronze
period, but at a very early date in that culture; its builders would
probably belong to the round-headed type of man whose barrows are
studded very closely round about it.


It is impossible to approach Stonehenge without passing numbers of
burial mounds or Barrows. North, south, east, or west they meet the
eye, some singly, some in groups. In the immediate neighbourhood of
Stonehenge there are two Long Barrows and three hundred Round ones,
or, in other words, one-fourth of the Barrows in Wiltshire are to be
found within a short distance of the Altar Stone of Stonehenge. This
cannot altogether be accidental. The suggestion at once rises to the
mind that these burial places clustering about the circle of
Stonehenge are strongly reminiscent of the graveyard about the village
church of to-day. The Rev. William Gilpin, writing in 1798, when as
yet the Plain was unbroken by the plough and cultivation, recognised
this fact at once. "All the Plain, at least that part of it near
Stonehenge, is one vast cemetery.... From many places we counted above
a hundred of them at once; sometimes as if huddled together, without
any design, in other places rising in a kind of order. Most of them
are placed on the more elevated parts of the Plain, and generally in
sight of the great Temple." At one time it was considered that these
Barrows were the monuments erected to the memory of warriors who had
fallen in battle. Though this popular conception is still current, it
seems hardly likely that a victorious army would tarry after the day
was won to erect these laborious monuments, all of which are designed
and laid out with no little skill. A far more reasonable hypothesis,
and one more in accordance with fact, is that they represent the
graves of exalted personages, and that their erection extended over a
considerable period.

The Barrows may be roughly divided into two classes: (i) the Long
Barrow; (ii) the Round Barrow, with its three variants, the Bowl, the
Bell, and Disc Barrow.

The Long Barrow is the older form, and may usually be referred to the
Neolithic Age. Wiltshire is specially rich in Long Barrows. There are
no fewer than seventy-two within its limits, and fourteen others have
been destroyed within the past century. They are usually found
standing alone, and very seldom is it possible to find two of them
within sight. They are also, as a rule, found upon rising ground.
Their construction is somewhat curious. They vary from two to four
hundred feet in length, thirty to fifty feet in breadth, and from
three to twelve feet in height. The earth of which they are composed
was dug out from a trench on either side of the mound. This trench
did not, however, continue round the two ends of the barrow. They lie
usually, but not always, east and west, and the eastern end is higher
than that at the west. Within the higher end is the sepulchral

  [Illustration: A Map of Stonehenge Down]

Two such Long Barrows are within a short distance of Stonehenge. No
metal objects have been found in these Long Barrows, though
leaf-shaped flint arrow-heads, most delicately chipped, are almost
invariably met with, and occasionally rough, hand-made, undecorated
pottery. Most Long Barrows have been used for "secondary interments,"
_i.e._ other bodies at a later date have been buried in them. These
secondary interments are sometimes associated with bronze or even
iron. Interesting as the Long Barrows are, however, they are only
mentioned as being, so far as present information goes, the earliest
form of regular sepulture in this country. It is highly improbable
that they have any connection with Stonehenge, which must have been
erected at an age when the Long Barrow with its inhumed body was
passing away, and the plain was being peopled with a new race, the
"round-headed" people, whose method of burial was considerably


The visitor to Stonehenge has only to turn his back to the "Friar's
Heel," as he stands on the Altar Stone, and he will see a typical
"group" of Round Barrows, seven in number. Let him remember, then,
that Wiltshire boasts of two thousand similar sepulchral mounds; and
that he can, within an easy distance of Stonehenge, find three hundred
of them, while in the same radius he will only encounter two Long

The proportion, therefore, of round to long is considerable, viz.
1:150. The figures of round and long for the entire county are
eighty-six Long to two thousand Round Barrows, or 1:24. In other words
there are five times more Round Barrows in the Stonehenge District,
than there are anywhere else in Wiltshire, taking Long and Round
Barrows together. This disproportion in distribution cannot altogether
be the result of accident; it must bespeak a special attraction for
the spot by the builders of the Barrows, and from the very fact that
Stonehenge was erected at a time when these people were first arriving
on Salisbury Plain, it does not seem extravagant to claim that they
had some reason for wishing their remains finally to rest within easy
distance of what must have been to them a sacred spot.

As already noted, these Round Barrows can be divided into three
classes: 1. The simple Bowl-shaped Barrow, that most frequently
encountered, having a diameter of from twenty to sixty feet, and a
height of from three to five feet. 2. The Bell-shaped Barrow which
reaches its highest development on the plain round Stonehenge, and is
more common and more beautiful in Wiltshire than in any other part of

  [Illustration: Plans and Sections of Bowl Bell & Disc barrows.]

Indeed, the Stonehenge Bell Barrows are the very crown of the
Sepulchral Mound on Salisbury Plain. Unlike the Long Barrow, they are
entirely surrounded by a circular ditch, from which material for the
Mound has been excavated; within the ditch is a circular area level
with the turf, from which the mound rises from five to fifteen feet in
a graceful conical form. The diameter will be upwards of one hundred
feet, so that the entire structure is considerably larger and more
impressive than the Bowl Barrow.

3. "The Disc Barrow," so named by Dr. Thurnam, the great Barrow
expert, from its resemblance to a flat dish surrounded by a deep rim.
It consists of a circular area, level with surrounding turf, having a
diameter of about one hundred feet. This circular area is enclosed by
a ditch with a bank on the outside, both usually very regular and well
constructed. Within, at the centre, is a mound not more than a foot
high containing the sepulchral deposit. Occasionally there are more
than one of these minute mounds, which often escape notice by reason
of their insignificance.

It is very significant that the Disc Barrow is more plentiful around
Stonehenge than in any other part of Wiltshire. Elsewhere they are
comparatively rare.

In the "Round" Barrows it is not uncommon to find that the body has
been cremated before interment. In the Bowl and Bell types, about
three out of every four bodies have been so disposed of. In Dorset the
relative interments, by cremation or otherwise, is four out of five,
while in Cornwall cremation is almost universal.

Almost without exception, however, the Disc Barrows contain only
cremated remains. The existing impression is that these three forms of
Round Barrow were in use at one and the same time, but that the Bowl
Barrow was the earliest, followed by the Bell, and that the Disc is
the latest form of all. From construction, if for no other reason,
this hypothesis seems perfectly tenable.

The Barrows on the Plain were built of the materials most easily
accessible, mould, chalk, and flints, with occasional fragments of
Sarsen. As has already been recorded, fragments of Foreign Stone from
Stonehenge have been found in one of those forming the group which lay
immediately south-west of the circle, but now destroyed by
cultivation. The method of procedure was simple. A grave would in many
cases be dug sufficiently long to contain the body if buried by
inhumation in a crouching position. This grave would vary in depth
from a few inches to six feet. Sometimes blocks of Sarsen would be
built over the body to protect it. The crouching posture is specially
noteworthy. The knees are drawn up to the trunk and the legs bent on
the thighs, while the arms are closed towards the chest, and the hands
over the face. There has been some speculation as to the significance
of this particular attitude. Some have seen in it that of an unborn
infant, others the natural position in death, others again have
maintained it was the primæval posture of sleep. It seems quite
possible, however, that the position may be due to mere utilitarian
motives as being more compact for the purpose of burial. The lie of
the inhumed skeleton is usually with the head to the north; exceptions
show that the east, south-east, and south-west, have sometimes been
selected, but never due south. Interments with the head to the west,
as in Christian burial, are very rare.

When burial by cremation took place, it is evident that the actual
rite of burning took place elsewhere, and that the calcined remains
were brought to the plain for burial. In some cases the ashes were
conveyed to the spot wrapped in skins, or possibly in some rude form
of cloth; more frequently in Wiltshire they were deposited in cinerary
urns. The proportion of urn burial is as three to one. This method of
conducting the cremation at one spot, and the subsequent removal of
the ashes to another, generally considered sacred, is not uncommon,
even at the present day.

  [Illustration: The 'Stonehenge Urn'.]

The urns were sometimes placed upright, at others they were inverted,
the latter being the more common custom. The mouths of these urns were
frequently stopped with clay, or closely packed flints. The urns vary
in size considerably from nine inches to fifteen in height, and from
about a pint to more than a bushel in capacity. A veritable giant
rather over two feet high, the largest of its kind hitherto found in
Wiltshire, is preserved in the Salisbury and South Wilts Museum.
Another only two inches less in height was recovered from a Barrow
within a third of a mile from Stonehenge.

In most cases various objects were found associated with these
interments, such as drinking-cups, food vessels, incense-cups, weapons
and ornaments.

  [Illustration: Beaker. Normanton Dn.]

  [Illustration: 'Grape' Cup. Normanton Down.]

The fictile vessels are all of a very primitive nature, being entirely
moulded by hand, and showing no trace of the use of the potter's
wheel. The body consists of a mixture of clay mixed with fine pebbles,
or pounded flint, and sometimes ground chalk or shells. For finer work
sharp sand has been employed. The firing is most primitive and
imperfect. After drying in the sun the vessel was probably baked in
the ashes of a fire of brushwood piled over and about it. The
decoration, like the other processes, bespeaks a simple culture. It is
usually in the nature of lines, or dots, varied now and then by thumb
marks, many exhibit the impress of the thumbnail. A pointed stick
would produce lines on the soft body of the vessel, so would a twisted
cord, while a rude comb of points inserted in a stick, gave a fine
dotted line. Circles, animal forms, or arabesques do not appear at

  [Illustration: Unique variety of 'Incense cup'. Normanton Down.]

The Cinerary Urns and Incense Cups were strictly sepulchral; the Food
Vessels and Drinking Cups seem also to have been reserved for funeral
rites, as they are not found apart from the Barrows, and placed beside
the dead ceremonially, to contain provision for the Spirit in its
voyage to the distant land to which it had departed. Both Food Vessels
and Drinking Cups are rare in Wiltshire. Two were presented to the
Salisbury Museum in 1915, both of which came from Hampshire. A similar
vessel was found at Bulford in 1910, and is in the same collection.

The "finds" in the Round Barrows are not, however, confined to
pottery. Weapons, some of stone, some of bronze, and occasional
ornaments of gold and amber shed further light upon this departed race
of Salisbury Plain. Although this people has been referred to as a
"Bronze Age" people, it does not follow that their weapons were made
exclusively of that material. In all ages there is a perceptible
overlap from the former culture. In much later days the bow and arrow
lingered on long after the introduction of fire-arms; so, too, in
these early times, the stone implement was used side by side with the
more recent metal one. Axes both perforated and unperforated have been
found, but it is distinctly significant of an advancing culture, that
the perforated axes outnumber the older form. Several of these stone
hammer-axes have been found associated with bronze daggers and celts,
showing that the use of stone and bronze was contemporaneous.

Dagger blades of flint have also been found in barrows, though not
commonly. Four such blades, which might perhaps have been javelin
heads, were found in one barrow at Winterbourne Stoke. They represent
a very high standard of workmanship, and elegance of form and finish.
Three are of a delicate leaf-shape, while the fourth is
lozenge-shaped. Flint arrow-heads when found are always finely barbed.
The bronze objects, however, are in excess of those of stone, thus
showing that the new bronze was displacing the older flint implement.
Moreover, all the bronze weapons are of an early type. This is of some
considerable importance, since it would seem to indicate that the
Barrows were erected very shortly after Stonehenge, which it will be
remembered has been referred to an early period of the Bronze Age.
Certainly only a very short interval separates the completion of
Stonehenge and the building of the Barrows; or to put it in other
words, before Stonehenge was built there only existed two, or perhaps
three, Long Barrows upon the Plain; but when it was finished, Barrows
to the number of three hundred grew up around it, and all these
Barrows, from their contents, belong to a period almost identical with
that of the Stone Circle itself.

  [Illustration: Flint dagger. Stonehenge Dn.]

  [Illustration: Hammer of oolitic stone.]

  [Illustration: Flat bronze celt. Normanton Down.]

No other Barrows in Wiltshire have been so productive of bronze
daggers as those about Stonehenge. In some cases it has been possible
to recover portions of the ornamental sheaths in which they lay. Their
handles were of wood, strengthened occasionally with an oval pommel of
bone. In some cases, gold pins have been hammered into the wood to
form a zig-zag pattern.

Personal ornaments also occur among the Barrow finds; more usually
they are of amber, sometimes of gold, and occasionally of bronze.

Ornaments of amber have been found in thirty-three barrows; the
quality of the material is usually red and transparent, though
sometimes a paler variety has been employed. These ornaments are
mostly necklaces, either of beads, or of graduated plates perforated
and strung together. One found at Lake consisted of nearly two hundred
beads and plates, and when worn must have extended halfway down to the


  [Illustration: Gold plated cone.]

  [Illustration: Gold Plate. Normanton Down.]

Ornaments of gold were found in seven barrows. Many of these were
built up upon a wooden mould, the gold being hammered on, and fastened
by indentation.


It is only natural that the appearance of the men who lived at this
remote age should attract some attention. Were they tall or short,
dark or fair? What manner of man was it who went armed with the bronze
dagger and wore the ornaments above described? Of the cremated
remains, of course, nothing can be said; but the burials by inhumation
which took place concurrently with those of the Cinerary Urn, furnish
certain data from which it is possible to gather some idea as to the
physical stature of the man of that day. Taking fifty-two measurements
of bodies as a basis, the man of the Long Barrow would stand five feet
six inches, while the man of the Round Barrow would be three inches
taller. But it is in the shape of the head, even more than in the
height, that the people of the Long Barrow differ from those of the
Round. The man of the Long Barrow was long-headed (_dolicocephalic_)
while those of the Round Barrows were round-headed (_brachycephalic_).
It must not, however, be imagined that there is any special connection
between a long head and a long barrow, or a round head and a round
barrow. The point of special importance is that the Long-Headed Race
was the earlier, and that it was followed by a Round-Headed Race. Such
a state of things is after all perfectly within the range of facts as
known to-day. The early race, comparatively short, and armed only with
stone weapons, must in the struggle for existence, have given place to
a taller and more powerful people, provided with metal and possessed
of a higher culture. There is no proof that the early race was
exterminated by the bronze-using people. It is far more probable that
a similar condition existed to that which obtains to-day in America,
where the stone-using aborigines are slowly vanishing, and giving
place to an Eastern invasion which has gradually displaced them. And
whence came this powerful dominant race? It may safely be assumed that
it came from the East. In this country the wave of Conquest has always
flowed from east to westwards. Further, the man of the Long Barrow
himself came from the East and displaced the earlier Palæolithic
dweller about the close of the last Glacial Epoch, only in his turn to
give place to the succeeding wave of taller and more alert settlers
who followed him. These again melted away before the Roman, the Saxon,
the Dane, and Norman, who in due course swept westward to these Isles,
and similarly displaced one another. There is a recognised "Megalithic
Route," as it is called, marked by huge stone monuments of the nature
of Stonehenge, which, starting in India, can be traced to Persia,
Palestine, Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, Spain, Portugal, and
Brittany, finally crossing the Channel to Devon and Cornwall. It must
not be understood that these circles were all of them temples, or that
they all belong to the Bronze Age. Many of them were merely stones set
up round a Long Barrow. Aristotle states that the Iberians were in the
habit of placing as many stones round the tomb of a dead warrior as he
had slain enemies. A similar practice existed among the Australian
aborigines. At all events the practice of erecting circular stone
structures in all parts of the world seems to link together all
primitive peoples of every age into one common chain of ideas, and of
those customs which are the natural outcome of them. The chain itself
lengthens till it touches the higher and more specialised builders, in
whose highly-finished work the early ideal may yet be traced.

The early race which built the vast circle or cromlech of Avebury
finds a very fitting echo in the later race which set up Stonehenge;
just as in Brittany the rude and unhewn menhir of yesterday, set up to
commemorate a fallen chieftain, finds its elaborated and wrought
counterpart in the Nelson column of to-day.

Some light is cast upon the existence of these two peoples, the
long-headed and the round-headed, by Cæsar, who refers to the former
as an aboriginal pastoral people, while the latter are described as
colonists from Belgic Gaul, and agriculturists. This distinction
between the herdsman and the agriculturalist is quite in accordance
with the stages of culture known and recognised by the archæologist. A
pastoral race is ever more primitive and lower in the scale than one
which has solved the problem of husbandry and acquired the very
material advantages of a settled habitation, in contradistinction to
the nomadic existence of the shepherd.

Tacitus also describes these two races, and points out that while the
herdsmen were fair, the tillers of the soil were dark and that their
hair was curly. He was particularly struck, too, by the physical
resemblance between the inhabitants of Iberia and the fair-haired race
of the south and south-east of Britain, while he considered the
dark-haired race was more akin to the people of the opposite coast of

Certainly the Iberian skull inclines to length, while that of Gaul is
broad and short, and these physical peculiarities, much modified
perhaps, prevail even to-day. It would seem, therefore, that the
practice of building stone circles originated with the fair-haired
pastoral race which had passed over from Europe to the West of
England, but that Stonehenge is the work of a later dark-haired people
who arrived from Gaul, with a higher and more organised civilisation,
and that it is due to this that Stonehenge possesses those special
features of wrought stone, and the horseshoe, which are not to be
found in any of the earlier monuments of the shepherd race. Having
erected Stonehenge, and possessed themselves of the land, the
religious associations of the spot very probably impelled them to
sleep their last sleep within easy distance of it. It must not be
supposed that by so doing they regarded Stonehenge as a definite
Sepulchral Monument: rather would it have been somewhat of the same
spirit which even at the present day led to the burial of the heart of
a well-known peer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Subsequently other forms of worship, such, for example, as Druidism,
may have been practised at Stonehenge; but of these it is beyond the
question to speak. These priests, whatever they may have been, were
not the originators or builders of the circle, they merely used it for
their own purposes; and their usages will in no way affect the central
facts of the Stonehenge of Yesterday.


There is a certain sense of relief, not untinged with reluctance, on
laying down the pen after dealing seriously with so solemn a subject
as Stonehenge. The feeling of relief is akin to that of the schoolboy
whose task is done, and who is free to give vent to his animal spirits
unchecked by the hand of his master. The feeling of reluctance is that
which this same master must feel when he finally takes off his cap and
gown and becomes as other men, his brief authority gone with them. Cap
and gown are laid aside, and the present writer can now speak with his
readers freely, and offer perhaps some few words of practical advice.
The foremost question will surely be "How shall I get to Stonehenge?"

The answer largely depends upon the constitution and habits of the
querist. For the motorist, the way is clear: he will choose the best
road, or his chauffeur will do it for him; but it is possible even
with a motor to secure a little variety on the road. An excellent
route is to follow the main road from Salisbury to Amesbury, passing
Old Sarum, a very considerable earthwork of Roman if not earlier
origin. This road will give the motorist a fine idea of what the
Plain once was, with its wide expanses of undulating land. Military
requirements have broken up what the farmer had spared, but even
to-day the Plain has a character of its own, and forms a fitting
prelude to a visit to the "Stones." Passing through Amesbury, the
circle is soon within sight. Unluckily the Stones do not appear to
advantage from this approach. The best view of them is from Lake Down,
which may be obtained if the return journey is made along the Avon
Valley by Normanton and Wilsford, Woodford, and Durnford. In any case
barrows will be seen on every side, particularly in the neighbourhood
of Normanton and Wilsford.

Those who can walk, and who are able to be afoot for about ten miles,
should follow the road up the valley from Stratford-sub-Castle,
crossing the river either at Stratford or Upper Woodford, visiting
Stonehenge and then Amesbury, thence by train to Salisbury. Allowance
should be made for the fact that the railway station is some distance
from the town.

Is there anything else to see? Plenty. As already stated there is Old
Sarum, which is perhaps rather too big an undertaking to be crowded
into the same day as Stonehenge. All the churches along the valley are
interesting. Stratford has its quaint hour-glass stand in the village
pulpit. Heale House, where Charles II. lay in the "hiding-hole" some
four or five days. Great Durnford Church, with its fine Norman doors.
Amesbury, home of the adorable Kitty Bellairs, Duchess of Queensbury,
and patron of Gay, who wrote the Beggar's Opera under her roof, and
the church (early English) all make pleasant breaks in the journey.

The bulk of the objects found at Stonehenge, and in the Barrows on the
Plain, belong to the Wiltshire Archæological Society, and are
preserved in their collection at Devizes. Visitors to Salisbury will
find the journey by train somewhat lengthy, but it should not be
neglected by the antiquary.

Some very fine cinerary urns and Barrow pottery from the Plain,
together with models, and a reconstruction of Stonehenge after
Stukeley, are to be found in the Salisbury, South Wilts, and Blackmore
Collections, at Salisbury.

It is seldom that the eye of the artist, as well as that of the
archæologist is to be found in one and the same individual. Mr.
Heywood Sumner, F.S.A., to whom I am indebted for far more assistance
in this volume than his beautiful and characteristic penwork, has
seldom been so happy in his choice of illustration, for Stonehenge is
one of those subjects which belongs to him of right, by virtue of that
understanding draughtsmanship which he has applied with such valuable
results to the "Earthworks of Cranbourne Chase" and elsewhere.
Readers are specially asked to give his plans kindly attention. They
are based upon the Ordnance Survey Maps, with the sanction of the
Controller of H.M. Stationery Office. They are far more interesting,
and less fatiguing, than the usual guide book production. The
bibliography of Stonehenge is frankly too heavy a subject to attempt
even briefly. A complete bibliography arranged under authors' names
alphabetically by W. Jerome Harrison, F.G.S. (1901, Devizes), will be
found quite solid reading in itself. Readers anxious to extend their
information, would do well to study Mr. Gowland's Report in
"Archæologia," 1902, side by side with Sir Norman Lockyer's Report to
the Royal Society, of the same date. The two leading schools of
thought can thus be contrasted at first hand. The Wilts Archæological
Magazine _passim_, and particularly 1883 and 1876 should be consulted,
the latter article by Mr. W. Long has stood the test of publicity for
forty years, without appreciable damage. A curious writer to whom Mr.
Sumner is specially indebted is Mr. H. Browne of Amesbury; whose
conclusions must not be taken seriously, but who has lovingly
illustrated his work with restorations and sketches: it is all the
more pleasant therefore to render thanks to a painstaking but not
always appreciated worker. Last of all--greatest of all--Sir Richard
Colt Hoare, whose "Ancient History of South Wilts," 1812, remains
to-day a classic. These grand volumes mark the dawn of the new era of
the field archæologist. The foregoing names are few, but they are as
old and tried friends, to whom reference can be safely made, and
seldom in vain. When Hoare and Long have been digested, few authors
have much else to offer, including the writer of the present lines.

A most pleasant debt of obligation is to the new owner of Stonehenge,
Mr. C.H.E. Chubb, who has rendered great assistance in the compilation
of this little handbook. Himself a citizen of New Sarum, and a
Wiltshireman by birthright, he can well be trusted faithfully to
discharge his duty to the grand old Cromlech. A constant visitor to
Stonehenge, he has already given a foretaste of his policy in revising
the rates of admission to the military; a very gracious act, based on
a common-sense appreciation of the usual condition of the pockets of
H.M. forces. Landlords are not always as liberal.

Last of all, my sincere thanks to Dr. H.P. Blackmore, Honorary
Director of the Salisbury and Blackmore Museums, for reading and
revising my manuscript.

                    FRANK STEVENS.

      _April 1, 1916._

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