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The Intriguing Heritage of Britain’s Neolithic Megaliths: Stonehenge, Avebury, and Associated Sites, Part 2 of 2

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Thirty kilometers to the north, an ancient henge bank of limestone measuring almost half a kilometer in diameter runs through Avebury Village. The henge encloses an out-ring of 27 Sarsen stones, some of which weigh up to 50 tons. Inside are the remains of two, and possibly three, smaller circles of stones, including a centrally located U-shaped stone and the remnants of a “ring stone.” A ring stone is speculated to have been integral in making geometrical and astrological alignments.

Similar to the Avenue at Stonehenge, a 15-meter-wide pathway, now known as Kennet Avenue, leads to the central rings and was once lined with pairs of adjacent stones. Only a few of these remain. This ancient avenue connects to another site around 1.5 kilometers away known as the Sanctuary, which, according to archaeologists, was a wooden structure.

William Blake’s close friend, 18th-century physician, clergyman, and archaeologist William Stukeley, suggested the structures held a deep spiritual significance. He specifically nominated the Druids as the ancient guardians of Stonehenge and other sites, proclaiming himself an Arch Druid practitioner of “ancient and true religion.” Sicilian Greek historian Diodorus Siculus is said to have referred to Stonehenge as a “sacred precinct” for the Olympian god Apollo in one of his “Bibliotheca Historica” books between 60 and 30 BC.

Scientists working on the site using sophisticated techniques to see under the Stonehenge region have found an exquisite complex of historic structures, monuments, and ancient burial mounds which have lain hidden for thousands of years. Stonehenge is mentioned in “Historia Regum Britanniae,” or “The History of the Kings of Britain,” a Latin compendium of Old English, Welsh, and other Celtic folklore.

While similar standing stone structures can be found all over Britain, Ireland, as well as in parts of mainland Europe, none are as grand in scale as those of Stonehenge and Avebury. May these ancient monuments continue to fill us with wonderment and appreciation, as they remind us of the immense powers and blessings that can be attained only through God’s Grace.
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