Stonehenge was rebuilt in XX century

800px-Summer_Solstice_Sunrise_over_Stonehenge_2005

For decades the official Stonehenge guidebooks have been full of fascinating facts and figures and theories surrounding the world’s greatest prehistoric monument. What the glossy brochures do not mention, however, is the systematic rebuilding of the 4,000 year old stone circle throughout the 20th Century.

From 1901 to 1964, the majority of the stone circle was restored in a series of makeovers which have left it, in the words of one archaeologist, as ‘a product of the 20th century heritage industry’. But the information is markedly absent from the guidebooks and info-phones used by tourists at the site. Coming in the wake of the news that the nearby Avebury stone circle was almost totally rebuilt in the 1920s, the revelation about Stonehenge has caused embarrassment among archaeologists. English Heritage, the guardian of the monument, is to rewrite the official guide, which dismisses the Henge’s recent history in a few words. Dave Batchelor, English Heritage’s senior archaeologist said he would personally rewrite the official guide: “The detail was dropped in the sixties”, he admitted. “But times have changed and we now believe this is an important piece of the Stonehenge story and must be told”.

Cambridge University archeological archivist and leading Stonehenge author Christopher Chippindale admitted: “Not much of what we see at Stonehenge hasn’t been touched in some way”. And historical research student Brian Edwards, who recently revealed that the nearby Avebury Monument had been totally rebuilt, has found rare pictures of Stonehenge being restored. He said: “It has been as if Stonehenge had been historically cleansed”.

A million visitors a year are awe-struck as they look back in time into another age and marvel at the primitive technology and muscle-power which must have been employed transporting the huge monoliths and raising them on Salisbury Plain. They gasp as they are told about this strangely spiritual site…

75882957_e8a133bada_oBut now, as if to head off a potential great archaeological controversy – and following interest displayed by historical researcher Brian Edwards and a local newspaper, the brochures will be re-written, to include the forgotten years. The years when teams of navvies sat aboard the greatest cranes in the British Empire to hoist stones upright, replace fallen lintels which once sat atop the huge sarsens. As Mr Edwards – the erstwhile enfant terrible of British archaeology following revelations that nearby Avebury was a total 20s and 30s rebuild by marmalade millionaire Alexander Keiller – says: “What we have been looking at is a 20th Century landscape, which is reminiscent of what Stonehenge might have been like thousands of years ago. It has been created by the heritage industry and is not the creation of prehistoric people.”

In 1901, as the builders went to work, The Times letters column was full of bucolic missives of complaint. But the first stage of ‘restoration’ thundered ahead regardless and the style guru of the day, John Ruskin, released the maxim which was to outlive him…. “Restoration is a lie,” he stormed. “Nevertheless the Stonehenge makeover was to gather momentum and more work was carried out in 1919, 1920, 1958, 1959 and 1964. Christopher Chippindale, curator at the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and Anthropology, and author of Stonehenge Complete, admits: ‘Nearly all the stones have been moved in some way and are standing in concrete.”

A stone was straightened and set in concrete in 1901, six further stones in 1919 and 1920, three more in 1959 and four in 1964. There was also the excavation of the Altar stone and re-erection of the Trilithon in 1958.

The guide book ‘Stonehenge and Neighbouring Monuments’ , and the audio tour of the Henge omit any comprehensive mention of the rebuilding in the 20th Century. Only on page 18 is there a slight reference: “A number of the leaning and fallen stones have been straightened and re-erected.”

Source

 

Taliban destroyed ancient Buddha statues

large-Bamiyan-BuddhaTwo ancient Buddha statues were destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols. International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas, which was viewed as an example of the intolerance of the Taliban. Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues. Continue reading “Taliban destroyed ancient Buddha statues”