BBC documentary film entitled “Secret of Stonehenge” discusses the building of Stonehenge – a symbol of a stone-age era. Built around 3000 BC, Stonehenge consists of huge bluestones, surrounded by a circular ring of stones. The bluestones weigh from 3 to 45 tons each and are carved like woodwork (Balmond, 2015). The project is revolutionary for that age period and is surrounded by many legends. The central questions the film sets out to answer are who built Stonehenge, how it was built and why.
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To answer these questions, a Stonehenge riverside project, which includes about two hundred people – scientists, students, and specialists in astronomy – initiated excavation in the area. The excavations revealed that Stonehenge was built in stages: first, the dig was dug, and then, about 500 years later, the colossal stones were installed. Later, a two-line avenue was made from Stonehenge to the River Avon when Stonehenge was finished.
Stonehenge may have been built by pulling stones over tree trunks to transport the rocks; tipping them into a giant hole, ancient people may have made stones stand erect. Later, the stones may have been pulled up the ramps and levered into place. These theories are plausible, but there is no evidence that they were used. A new theory was developed within a Stonehenge riverside project: the stones may have been transported on the platform erected over rail tracks filled with granite balls. This theory was put to the test; it turned out it was possible to transport stones that way.
The examination of bones initially buried within Stonehenge walls revealed that burial at Stonehenge was reserved for a selected group of males, which speaks about the aristocratic, male-based society of those times. It is highly possible that the building of Stonehenge was requested by a royal family of those times. The entrance to Stonehenge faces the rising sun on the longest day, and by 1960, Stonehenge was generally believed to be an observatory. When the sun shines through the entrance, the light axis runs right through the Stonehenge circle and points to the sunset. The alignment of stones suggests the connection in people’s minds between the sun and the seasonal cycle. The new theory developed within a Stonehenge riverside project suggests that Stonehenge was a meeting place to connect with the ancestors. The stones were associated with the dead; Stonehenge marked the realm of the dead as opposed to the realm of the living.
Less than two miles north of Stonehenge, holes of timber circle were discovered. This timber circle was identical in size to the circle of Stonehenge. This timber circle is believed to portray the world of living since wooden buildings are usually associated with alive ones. The connection between the two realms was the river Avon since the water was an essential part of the journey from living to the world of the dead. There were discovered remains of ancient houses around the timber circle, but people did not live there year-round. They came there for special occasions, which took place on the summer and winter solstices. On those days, the two monuments were linked by an arrow of sunlight; the first monument was framed with sunrise, and the other was aligned with sunset.
Another circular monument called Bluestone henge was built by the river around 3000 BC. It is believed that stones from Bluestone henge were moved to Stonehenge around 2500 and arranged within the Stonehenge circle. A link with ancestors is traced here too. The film casts light on believes of ancient people, their life and traditions. Discussing new theories about how Stonehenge was built, by whom, and why leaves room for reflection to anyone interested in ancient monuments and English history. Moreover, theories discussed in the film can be beneficial for further researches in the field.
Balmond, C. (2015). Secret of Stonehenge [Film]. BBC.