Astronomical Monuments

Standing stones are found all over the world, and most were erected in the Stone Age between 5000 and 2000 BC, although in Western Europe their major development occurred in the third millennium BC.  The monuments are set in stone so that they specifically to line up with the movements of the Sun and Moon, although scientists and historians continue to debate their purpose, construction, and meaning.  A lith is an indicating stone or rock like a megalith that is used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones.  A menhir is a tall, vertically placed standing stone, whilst a dolmen is a table-like structure comprising a large slab laid horizontally on two smaller stone supports called orthostats, which are large thin slabs.  A cromlech is about the same thing as a dolmen and they were the first stone structures to be built in Wales and they even pre-date the pyramids in Egypt!  How were these enormously large structures built with those extremely heavy stones long before the creation of the wheel, let alone any other modern technology?

Sticks and stones may break my bones, and words may conflate to form a different meaning.  Aristotle and Galileo both observed swinging stones, and where Aristotle saw progress toward a state of rest was achieved, feeling that the sideways perturbations were accidental, while Galileo saw the swinging to be essential and the eventual cessation was accidental, caused by the phenomenon of friction, which was only first studied by Leonardo Da Vinci.  Some stone structures are thought to delineate a sacred space, perhaps leading people toward an area of worship, while a popular legend says that the wizard Merlin turned rows of people into stone.

Working with stone is regarded as a primitive skill and nobody really knows or understands the reasons why these complex structures were built.  It certainly took a lot of skill, and workmanship to accurately place and position these formations.  It is hard to resist thinking about how these great big stones were transported to the site where they were finally erected.  These ancient gregarious people certainly were full of zest, enthusiasm and energy and this must have been personal for them and they probably felt like a star is born, when they were completed.

Ancient people may have been just as smart as we are today and the Polynesians who built the stone statues on Easter Island were probably able to focus better than us, because they weren’t affected by the distractions that we have today.  The monuments will last for a long time, but they will eventually become spoilt by erosion.  In the photograph above, the stones appear to be dark and although their presence dominates the landscape, the absence of color exists in most of these structures.  I find them to be scrumptious, and I developed an appreciation for stone after I helped my father construct a stone barbecue pit for the backyard of our summer home up in the Poconos.  It incorporated a hand turned spit, which could easily accommodate a whole pig, but I would have to split a lot of wood to cook something that big.  A stone reading desk is very rare, but they do exist in some very old churches that were built in the thirteenth century.  Legend has it that a headless horseman rides by one of these churches at midnight and there is a pot of gold lying at the bottom of a dark pool guarded by an evil presence at another church, but you can’t believe everything that you read on the internet.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Conflate, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Desk, for the Daily Spur prompt – Resist, for FOWC with Fandango – Zest, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – A star is born, for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan prompt – Scrumptious, for January Writing Prompts – The absence of color, for Ragtag Community – Gregarious, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Spit Split Spoilt, for Sue Vincent’s January 9, 2020 Thursday photo prompt – Presence where the image shows an old photograph of a pathway lined with standing stones leading through a flower-filled meadow and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Personal.

24 thoughts on “Astronomical Monuments

      1. I’ve lived here 20 years and only visited twice 🙂 , each time when we had guests. But there’s a lot of prehistory around here – Stonehenge is expensive to visit because it is so well-known, but other sites are less crowded and free. Have a look at Avebury onGoogle if you have a moment.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I took a lot of stones out of our property in the Poconos because my dad wanted to have grass surrounding the house and a lot of these stones had snakes crawling under them, so I am fed up with stones, but I still appreciate them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Did you use those stones to build the grill? You know it makes perfect sense that snakes would live under rocks as rocks probably heat up and cool down just like snakes. How they are able to get under the rocks is a mystery! Maybe rocks give birth to snakes?

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Stones have many meanings. Small rocks are left by the grave sites of loved ones so that they know we were there and as a sign of respect. Conversely, they were also left to prevent the dead from rising up to torment others.

    It’s all in how you look at it.

    Liked by 1 person

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