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  • 24

    The Secret of Durrington Walls
    History; Posted on: 2008-02-07 19:29:40 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    New finds lead to theory about use of monument

    by Norma Jackson

    Stonehenge, the majestic prehistoric monument in what is now southwest England, has long puzzled scholars about its intended role in the lives of the civilization that built it. A new discovery by archeologists may help shed light on this fascinating puzzle as well as on the lives and beliefs of our ancient ancestors.

    A dig sponsored by Wessex Archaeology and the National Geographic Society located vestiges of a village of up to 25 dwellings believed to have housed either workers on the monument or people attending functions there.

    The site, which is called Durrington Walls, lies two miles from Stonehenge. It also boasts the remains of a Woodhenge, a less permanent wooden version of Stonehenge. Durrington Walls was carbon dated to 2600 B.C., which means it existed when the permanent Stonehenge was being built, contemporary with the Great Pyramid of Egypt. The project began as early as 3100 B.C., with Stonehenge as we know it taking shape 500 years later on, proving the site had great significance for our people. "Clearly, this is a place that was of enormous importance," Julian Thomas of Manchester University said.

    The Durrington Walls finds also confirm speculations and reveal clues about a Stone Age civilization that spanned the length and breadth of the British Isles. The Durrington Walls homes are identical to those from the same period found in the distant Orkney Islands off the Scottish coast. The existence of a sophisticated social, religious and political network was already known from other evidence. Stonehenge is largely built of huge bluestones which originate over 150 miles to the west, in what is now Wales, and which historians say were associated with "holy wells," springs revered as centers of healing and still a part of European folk religion. The transportation of the bluestones would have entailed a feat of engineering, religious commitment and social cohesion that most people do not associate with visions of the Stone Age.

    The use of Durrington Walls for religious celebration also seems clear from the evidence of young swine remains, which would date an important feast to Midwinter, an early form of Christmas.

    One thing that is clear is that Stonehenge served different purposes at different periods. Stonehenge itself may have served originally as a burial site, in light of the evidence of at least 250 cremations found, and the fact that people never lived there. Without question Stonehenge originally had some astronomical (more properly astrological) importance, as it is oriented towards the Midsummer sunrise. The Woodhenge of Durrington Walls orients oppositely, towards the Midsummer sunset and Midwinter dawn. Esoteric symbology may indicate that if Stonehenge was a burial site, its placement was an enormous statement of faith in the idea of resurrection.

    The vast bulk of people native to the British Isles are of Stone Age descent, according to DNA research, making the distinctions of Celts, Saxons and Normans, Welsh, Irish, English and Scots genetically next to meaningless. Nonetheless, successive "waves" of invading culture bearing groups, usually consisting of small armies already closely linked genetically to the base population and marrying into it, made their mark in areas like language, culture, social organization and religion. Stonehenge was used by Celts, Romans and heathen Saxons for religious purposes that had little to do with the original intent. In a similar fashion, most if not all Christian holidays have pagan roots. But this process of religious syncretism is vital to understanding the development of our people. Through absorption and transmutation the spiritual vision innate to our race shines through, lives on and prevails.
    News Source: Norma Jackson

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