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Stonehenge

1 IntroductIon Stonehenge is Britains national temple. Attracting almost one million visitors a year, the monument has become the countrys most visited tourist attraction, now a World Heritage Site. Yet despite its popularity, this prehistoric monument remains shrouded in mystery and still provokes many questions in both layman and specialist alike who built it, when, and for what purposes Why were all those huge stones moved such unfeasibly long distances to then become placed so precisely These questions remained largely unanswered until fairly recently, and this book charts the emergence of Stonehenge into the collective modern psyche, from naive medieval speculations to modern scientific methodology and New Age revelations. When accurate techniques of radiocarbon dating became available in the late 1960s, the dating for the original monument was pushed back over 1000 years, to before 3000 BC. This cleft an embarrassing split in the archaeological record, the construction of Stonehenge being initiated before the Great Pyramid and almost every other megalithic building in the ancient world megalith is Greek for large stone. The previously held idea that civilisation and culture had gradually diffused from the Middle East became untenable. An apparently safe archaeological paradigm, diffusionism, collapsed. Interestingly, at precisely this same time, the astronomy, metrology and geometry of Stonehenge and many other stone
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