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Note - photographs and diagrams in this article
 are with thanks to English Heritage


The Possible Origins of the Wiltshire Stonehenge Site
From an Agricultural Viewpoint

With the First Flush of Sunrise came the First Flush of Civilization

A Rural Sunrise Calendar and a British Social Evolution
 From Neolithic Nomadic to Settled Farming Culture

D  McClellan Marshall.  (    Midsummer 2012

Agricultural  -  "The science, art, and business of cultivating soil, crops, and livestock;   farming."

The following article is intended as a continuation of the work that suggests an agricultural purpose for the original Stonehenge site.  Lockyer 1906, Grundy 1985, and a number of modern authors suggest such a purpose but do not describe in practical terms as to how it could be done.  This article describes how the Stonehenge site could possibly have been used for the agricultural purpose of a season and weather forecaster.  Note - could possibly have been used, but not necessarily was used.

Contents -

Light-hearted Introduction

(1)  The Social Evolution from a Nomadic Culture to a Settled One
(2)  The Need For Settled Farming and a Season/Weather Forecaster
(3)  An Understanding of Nomadic Life
(4)  Successful Transition from Nomadic to Farming Culture

(5)  A Possible Primary Function of the Stonehenge Site
(6)  Progression of the Sunrises
(7)  A Clock of the Seasons

(8)    ~ 8000 BC,  Pine Post Holes
(9)    ~ 3100 BC,  Aubrey Holes
(10)  ~ 2600 BC,  Q and R Holes
(11)  ~ 2400 BC,  Sarsen Stones
(12)  ~ 1600 BC,  Y and Z Holes

Further Work

(13)  Personal Thoughts
(14)  Further Investigations and Other Ancient Stone Structures

Sources  (bibliography)

Neolithic Sunrise Calenders - UK  (Evidence of Sunrise Orientation)  

Appendix A   -  Calculations for Sunrises Angles

Appendix B   -  'Stonehenge and Other British Stone Monuments Astronomically Considered'
Chapter 3,   by Norman Lockyer, 1906

Appendix C  -  Dating the Y and Z Holes

A Light Hearted Introduction

I remember in 1965 travelling from Agricultural College near Rugby, Warwickshire, back to my parent's home in Christchurch, Dorset, on my 350 cc single cylinder ohv feather bed frame Norton motor cycle - racing green it was, and a thing of beauty, even if it was old and clapped out.   As I rattled and shook my noisy and polluting way at an exciting 56 mph (full throttle) dressed in leather jacket, white tee-shirt, faded blue jeans, leather boots, and no helmet,  through open countryside on the deserted two lane main trunk road (A344) in early morning sunshine I was surprised to see these huge grey stones standing alone in an empty field.  There was a muddy track leading from the road to the stones so I turned around and bounced and rattled my protesting bike up to the mysterious blocks.

Completely mystified I parked and switched off the bike’s vibrating and spluttering oily engine and walked around the blocks.  They were in a sad state of ruin and looked very unstable.   There were no fences or anything at all - it was all open and unmarked in any way.  What could they have been for I wondered?  Then as I strolled around I suddenly noticed the sun through the blocks and realised with my farming education and experience what they could of been used for, although their sheer size made this ridiculous.  But to this day I have never seen an explanation of how this could actually be done,  although many others have suggested such a purpose.

I was completely alone in the open fields and the main trunk road had not a single vehicle on it.  It was so peaceful and pleasant with so many birds singing their little hearts out.  Having sat and relaxed in the serenity and a sense of timelessness of the place, and an intangible feeling of forces of which we have no knowledge,  I left with a deep and throaty (although uneven) roar, leaving an small oil stain on the grass to mark my visit.  How things have changed.

Development of Theories

Although some might feel that a study of such matters are perhaps best left to the academics  -  which I fully agree with  -  I used empirical (practical experience) reasoning based on;

living a rural life in early 1960s farming  (I can hand milk cows, lay a hedge, hand dig a ditch, hand scythe weeds, assist at lambings and calvings, and use the sun as a clock and as a compass),

living on a small primitive Warwickshire farm through the winter of 1963  -  The Great Freeze;  and death,

undertaking civil engineering tasks using manual labour and local resources in the 1960s Royal Engineers (such as building bridges out of the local trees, rope,  and a lot of manpower),

higher education in Applied Physics, Portsmouth University,1982, the applied part being particularly useful ! 

last employment position of senior technical author for Siemen Plessey,  hence able to present a sensible case  (?)

Thus my view point of Stonehenge is from a different perspective but depends upon and relies on the considerable work and achievements of the historians and archaeologists who have laid down the firm foundations for an understanding of Stonehenge and continues to make important and exciting discoveries about the origins of our civilization.

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