New Theory Suggests Stonehenge Might Have Been “an Ancient Mecca on Stilts”

Stonehenge. Courtesy Oxford Scientific Films.

Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument located in the fields of Wiltshire, England, keeps fascinating experts (and the public) who offer new interpretations that change the way we see and understand this mythical ruin (see Summer Heat Helps Unlock the Mysteries of Stonehenge and More Astonishing Stonehenge Revelations Emerge).

Now, a new theory suggests that the megaliths might not have been used to host rituals at ground level, but rather to support a raised circular wooden platform upon which ceremonies were held, the Guardian reports.

The theory has been proposed by the controversial British art critic and former museum director Julian Spalding (see Much Contemporary Art is a Sham Says Famous British Critic). He believes that Stonehenge might have been “an ancient Mecca on stilts.”

“It’s a totally different theory which has never been put forward before,” Spalding told the Guardian. “All the interpretations to date could be mistaken. We’ve been looking at Stonehenge the wrong way: from the earth, which is very much a 20th-century viewpoint. In early times, no spiritual ceremonies would have been performed on the ground.”

Spalding is not an archaeologist and, needless to say, his maverick theory has ruffled some feathers. Vincent Gaffney, from the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, remains skeptic about it, and so does Barry Cunliffe, emeritus professor of European archaeology at Oxford University, who said: “He could be right, but I know of no evidence to support it”.

Aubrey Burl, an archaeologist and expert on prehistoric stone circles, however, had a more positive response. “There could be something in it,” he said of Spalding’s theory. “Anything new and worthwhile about Stonehenge is well worth looking into, but with care and consideration,” he continued.

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