Archaeologists know nothing, and what they do know is lied about. So don't expect Stonehenge to get solved anytime soon!
After waiting patiently for the mid-June sun to rise at Stonehenge, the builders and their visitors spent the rest of the day at Durrington Walls to watch the sun go down.
And if you heard it any other way, you heard wrong!
This picture is based on a photograph taken by Mark Bettles in 2002 while standing in the middle of Stonehenge’s solstice doorway between pillars 1 and 30. The picture demonstrates how the moon regularly exceeds the sun by travelling some 10-degrees further north.
The most northerly position of the moon is called the Major Standstill. So; the sun goes nowhere where the moon hasn’t already been.
The front face of the Heel Stone, seen in the left foreground, points 10 or 11-degrees more northerly than Stonehenge's two axis and therefore at the Major Standstill of the moon. The proof, which no one seems to have noticed, can be gleaned from John Wood’s 1740 survey of Stonehenge.
The last time the moon visited her northernmost position was way back in 2005/2006. The next Major Standstill will therefore take place around the middle of 2024. The good news is that, when the time comes, she will stick around for a year or more and, weather permitting, should put in a showing or two.
Hopefully, photographers will be allowed to enter Stonehenge during the many unsociable hours needed to get those pictures of the northernmost moon. But I doubt it. if not, photographers should get themselves off to some other monument instead - there are plenty more good targets mentioned in these pages.
In a search to find the answer to Stonehenge we should be looking for ways in which Stonehenge brought the sun and moon, and the stars together. That goes for the other monuments, as well.
Stonehenge’s Heel Stone.
Note how the Heel Stone axis crosses Stonehenge's primary axis. What better way could there be of bringing the sun and moon together? We find the same principle in operation at Durrington Walls where the incoming solstice crosses the axes of some eggs that make up the timber-built Southern Circle.
Before English Heritage got around to placing its vastly over-exaggerated and false information boards alongside Woodhenge and Durrington Walls, visitors to the more obvious Woodhenge site would often ask, “Where is the massive henge known as Durrington Walls?” Both monuments are shown in the above picture.
With modern concrete posts representing what were once massive tree trunks several feet tall, Woodhenge can be seen entering the picture from the right, whereas the snow-covered horizon marks Durrington Walls’ far bank. More of Durrington Walls' bank can be seen on the left but it’s not snow-covered. Durrington Walls' 4-degree downhill slope is obvious in this photo.
The snow was left behind by the ‘Beast-from-the-East’ - a cold snap that came across from Siberia in 2018.
Durrington Walls’ near bank, or what is left of it thanks to many years under the plough, is just beyond the line of parked cars. This too is marked with snow. Note the red vehicle on the extreme right of this picture, because the next photo was taken from alongside it.
Beyond the trees to the right of the picture can be seen another section of Durrington Walls' bank. This too, is highlighted with snow. Cutting through those trees is the Countess Road, built in 1965. This new highway is elevated several feet above the pan-shaped valley, or combe, which early folk had cordoned off to build Britain’s largest henge. Note the blue farm vehicle parked beneath the embankment of the new road, because that vehicle very nearly marks the centre of the timber monument known as the “Southern Circle.”
Unfortunately, two-thirds of the Southern Circle is buried beneath the embankment and became lost to us when the new road was built.
The old road, little more than a track, is seen passing over Durrington’s denuded bank before taking a dip through the centre of the valley.
Most of Durrington Walls has been completely flattened due to ploughing. This was fortunate in some ways because loose chalk and hill-wash protected the monuments lower down - especially the Southern Circle of timber. Prehistoric remains at the top of the combe, who lost their cover, were not so lucky.
Imagine for a moment what the above photograph looked like when Durrington Walls was new. Built using gleaming white chalk taken from a 5-metre deep internal ditch, made a bank so high that it blanked out the sky in the above picture.
Now note the narrow footpath in the right foreground, because a little further along, is where the next photograph was taken from.
The river Avon, to which the Southern Circle was connected via an avenue of hard-packed chalk with flints, can be seen behind the van and through the trees. This view of the Avenue (superimposed onto the photograph) almost gives one the idea that perhaps the Southern Circle was meant to slide down and into the river.
The Stonehenge Riverside Project 2003, found that five houses alongside this avenue had been covered over and buried beneath Durrington Walls' bank. These houses were small square affairs measuring 6 by 6 megalithic yards. Their positions are marked in the picture with small splodges of snow.
Hoping to solve the age-old mystery of when folk had gathered to celebrate at Durrington Walls - i.e., was it summertime or winter - Britain’s top archaeoastronomer Professor Clive Ruggles of Leicester University was invited to find out exactly what the Avenue points at.
Clive proved the Avenue's axis to aim at where the sun sets in June beneath Durrington’s north-western bank. This also agrees with the alignment found by the astronomer Professor John North, sometime previous to 1996.
So, the Stonehenger’s celebrated the setting summer solstice at Durrington Walls, not the winter. Pigs borne in October were brought from all around the country to be slaughtered at Durrington when 9-months old. Those pigs, or piglets, whose short lives represented the human gestation period, were obvious offerings to the sun and moon.
If you want a job doing right, do it yourself. So, on solstice day 21st June 2018, you might have seen me standing close to the blue tractor which marks the position of the Southern Circle while I waited for the summer sun to go down.
It came as a bit of a shock to find that the sunset can no longer be seen from the Southern Circle because of bushes growing alongside the old road. So, a hurried leaping of a few fences were made to get to a better position.
I did manage to get a beautifully clear picture of the sun going down beneath Durrington’s north-western bank, but this alone was not enough to help determine the azimuth of the Avenue. The final determination was achieved by superimposing the sun's position onto both Professor Wainwright's original plans and also satellite images from online Bing.
The sunset at Durrington Walls is a spectacle that must be seen. Especially so for the feeling you get when climbing out of the henge to find its still daytime!
The so-called ‘Sex-Pit’ found in the middle of the Avenue held a female pelvis of natural flint, together with four male phalli and several pairs of flint balls. As far as I am aware, an in-situ picture showing these male and female artefacts together, has never been published. And for obvious reasons!
Furthermore, it could be argued by many, me included, that the avenue leading to the river has long been expected to exist. Professor John North for another, when in 1996 he wrote - The distance between the centre of the Southern Circle and the river is 200 megalithic yards.
We have already shown that the sun rises approximately 50-degrees clockwise and sets 50-degrees anticlockwise from north at Stonehenge, but that's because Stonehenge overlooks a relatively level horizon. i.e. - zero elevation.
However, the summer sun sets much earlier at Durrington Walls for having to look uphill at it by some 4-degrees. Seen from the 'Avenue', the sun sets 60-Degrees anticlockwise from north, and the moon sets at 50. It's almost as if the sun and moon have swopped places.
A vital discovery is the finding of a clear break in the outer circuit to the north-east. That break is at the very point where a midden, complete with beaker and other pottery sherds, plus numerous animal bones, axes and flints, were found together in a mass of burnt ashes and charcoal a third of a metre thick.
This midden, like others of its type, was packed with stone age ingredients and appears like an eye dropper that patiently waits to dispense its fertile contents into the circle at the time of the setting moon!
Archaeologists accept that the Southern Circle is connected to Stonehenge; first by the avenue that goes down to the river Avon, then along the river until it reached a circle of stones situated on the north bank of the river and near to the town of Amesbury.
This circle of stones, known as Bluestonehenge, was the original Stonehenge. Stonehenge MK1
I do not wish to bore you with too much geometry, so every now and again I will drop something different in, like here...
One day in Ireland, many years ago, a man or woman sat down and drew the moon on a sheet of pure gold. He or she started by hard-boiling an egg, believe it or not, which they carefully cut through its middle using a sharp piece of flint.
Laying one half of that egg down, they proceeded to cast arcs from around the shell to obtain the moon-shape which they hoped to produce.
They did indeed produce a thing of great beauty - but they still weren't satisfied - they wanted more.
For their artistic eye told them to throw a further six arcs, not just from around the shell, but from around the yoke as well.
In so doing, not only did that person perfect the shape of their Lunula of gold, but expressed a sincere wish to tap into life itself.
Durrington Walls, Southern Circle of Timber, Outer Ring A.
Durrington Walls' Southern Circle consists of at least three eggs, all pointing different ways. But let's leave Durrington for a while and return to Stonehenge. Please press the Continued Button at top of this page.