Stonehenge and Winchester
June 12, 2016
Stonehenge is a World Heritage Site and perhaps the most recognized prehistoric monument in the world.
Stonehenge's famous standing stones are part of a greater ceremonial landscape that includes ditches, wooden posts, and burial mounds.
Around 3000 B.C. a circular ditch surrounding a ring of wooden posts and 56 pits known as Aubrey holes was built. The purpose of the site is unknown but cremated remains have been found, perhaps used in ceremonies. It had two entrances: a main north-east facing causeway that aligned with the midsummer sunrise and a smaller southern entrance.
The second phase of construction was circa 2500 B.C. when bluestones from southwest Wales were transported and set up to form a double crescent inside the circle. During this time a pair of heel stones were placed near the north-east entrance.
In about 2200 B.C. the sarsen stone circle was erected. These massive stones comprise the circle we are most familiar with, a series of upright stones with lintels. In the center, five huge trilithons (each an upright pair with lintel) were placed in a horseshoe shape.
I enjoyed Stonehenge. It is amazing that such an ancient and enigmatic monument still stands. It is a testament to its power that so many people come to visit it yearly. The marking of the summer solstice and the mysteries of what it may have been used for, spark one's imagination and curiosity.
We spent the afternoon in Winchester. Once the capital of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex, Winchester holds many historic buildings and points of interest.
We walked around the charming city of Winchester on our way to the Cathedral.
Then we cut through a beautiful city garden.
This beautiful cathedral was started in 1079 on the site of a previous cathedral. Here the West Saxon kings were laid to rest.
Jane Austen was buried here and a beautiful memorial window commissioned for her.