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Stanton Drew

1 INTRODuCTION Stone circles are found throughout Great Britain and Europe, but only Avebury and Stonehenge top the magnificence of the triple stone circles of Stanton Drew in Somerset. Although little is known of this third great temple of southern England, it is true to say that modern techniques are at last beginning to unravel its ancient secrets. A 1997 English Heritage geophysical survey revealed that the stone circles are the remains of a far more elaborate site than was previously believed, with similar features to Woodhenge, and the Sanctuary near Avebury. As with other Neolithic sites, the accurate astroarchaeological alignments of the sun and moon cycles suggest that the savages who built these magnificent monuments were smarter than current preconceptions allow. At the same time, they remind us how the circles would have played an integral part in ancient social and religious life. Questions surrounding these issues, and others such as quite how such mighty stones were quarried, transported, positioned and erected, still baffle the modern engineer and remain some of the most elusive mysteries surrounding our ancient cousins. What we do know is that the construction of stone monuments began around 3,500 BC and continued for over 2,000 years, marking a period when our forebears began more and more to settle, and thus to begin to erect more permanent structures. The virtually untouched megaliths of Stanton Drew might thus be viewed as a gateway to the lost knowledge of our West Country ancestors. A fanciful geometrical interpretation of Stanton Drew from the Gentlemans Magazine of 1785
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