Researchers recently discovered the source of the largest stones (called sarsens) that make up Stonehenge.
The sarsens originated approximately 15 miles away, from a place called West Woods. The discovery came after an analysis of stone from the inside core of one of the sarsens and a comparison to stone in the surrounding area.
The source of the sarsens has long been a mystery. The origin of the smaller stones was solved a while back, but until now, the origin of the largest stones was unknown.
I visited Stonehenge not too long ago. It’s out in a large empty field, and there’s a bit of a walk to get to it. There are cows in the area, and small rolling hills. Off in the distance, trees. And then, there it is, just sitting there, patiently waiting, as it has for centuries. Waiting for…people? Time? Sunrises and sunsets, clouds and rain and wind? Yes, perhaps all of those things.
Having seen pictures of it, I wasn’t completely unprepared for what to expect. What did surprise me was the size and scale. It’s difficult to get a sense of it from photographs. Standing next to it, you realize what a true effort it had to have been to build it, especially in a time when there were no machines to assist.
I was also struck by the sound. Many people were visiting on the day I was there, there was picture-taking and pointing and amazement, but everyone seemed to speak in hushed tones. There was a lot of silence. There were occasional small gusts of wind, and they sounded whispery and hushed, as well. It was as though we were in a museum, a solemn place, a place of memories.
I’ll be thinking about that visit today. Like many others, I marvel at the fact that people long ago designed and built Stonehenge with little more than their imaginations, their commitment, and their strength.
We human beings can do sometimes do wondrous things. I’m grateful to have experienced one of the most wondrous.