Where would you be without your diary to check your appointments for the week, or your calendar to work out dates?
We are all ruled by hours, days, weeks and months – from getting up in the morning, to working out schedules, to planning holidays and important functions. In addition to this, most of us have heard of the mysterious, starkly beautiful monument, Stonehenge, and have wondered as to its construction. Be this as it may, how often have we given any thought as to how (and why) this Heritage Site was originated? Are we at all aware of the key role it has played in the concept of ‘time’ and in our New Year celebrations?
Once you have an understanding of the four ancient calendars, revealed and explained in this fascinating window to the past, you will realise that Stonehenge was a site of enormous importance and significance to the ancients. The monument was in fact a device or tool, for revealing the exact date of the year.
More importantly, we are given a glimpse of how the ancients discovered and designed their calendars with little more than sticks and stones to work with. Discover too, the accuracy of their calendars, which were accurate to within a day. Their solar calendar consisted of 365 days had 52 weeks, with 3 seasons of 91 days and 1 season of 92 days. Discover how 12, 30 day months were introduced around 3600 years ago with 5 tagged on days at the end of the year. This last calendar is known to have been used by both the Babylonians and Egyptians.
About the BookThe key points in any solar calendar are alignments with both midsummer and midwinter. Very early on, an important discovery made at Stonehenge was that certain of the megaliths would have aligned perfectly with the midsummer and midwinter solstices approximately 5000 years ago, when the monument was built.
Stonehenge, as it is seen today, is impressive and has fostered many theories as to its original function and purpose. However, this megalithic monument, impressive as it is, is not the full story. Archaeologists have discovered that before the Megaliths (Sarsen stones) were erected, there were earlier structures dating back to as far as 5000 years ago. The area at Stonehenge was in use long before the Sarsen megaliths were erected.
The author of Stonehenge: Times Square BC, Faith Booysen, realized that although some theories held for certain of the structures, taken as a whole, most theories did not explain the older structures.
Working on the assumption that these structures were calendars, her calculations proved that this was, indeed, so.
Her book, Stonehenge: Times Square BC sets out in detail the remarkable calculations and details of four calendars at Stonehenge. The brilliance of the ancient designers and builders are reflected in these calendars. With little more than primitive tools, they designed and built calendars that lasted for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The calendars formed the basis of the calendar we use to this day. Discover how the calendars evolved over a period of 1650 years from a circle of 56 wooden posts to the massive monument we see today.
Extract from the BookWe might never truly know whether the designers were local or foreign to Britain. What we do know is that designing and building calendars with primitive tools, required genius. Civilisation, it can be said, is built upon such genius, dedication and persistence.
These stone structures were built to last and because of this, crucial knowledge was passed down to future generations. Everything from a simple coffee in the morning to space exploration, testifies to this. Sadly, with the advent of written language, these structures fell into disuse and disrepair. Even so, after 5000 years and with little more than holes in the ground, scattered stones and a few remaining megaliths, we are able to reconstruct and understand their calendars.” Extract from Stonehenge: Times Square BC
About the AuthorThe author, Faith Booysen, has always had an overwhelming interest in the stone structures of the ancient world. Stonehenge in particular, held a strong fascination and in 2006, while watching a TV program on “Foamhenge” (a precise model of Stonehenge in polystyrene), she realized that the monument was only part of an equation and that the ancients would have used either loose stones or logs to mark their calendars daily.
It soon became obvious that the ruin of the Stonehenge monument seen today was preceded by other calendars. Stonehenge: Times Square BC is the result. Once the author had resolved the oldest calendar (the Aubrey Posts), she studied the remaining structures at Stonehenge and Woodhenge and these were revealed to be precise solar calendars. Mount Pleasant, a Neolithic henge in Dorset that supported wooden posts, proved to be a precise solar calendar as well.
Merlins CommentIt is obvious that the author knows and loves her subject and she has done some meticulous research to compile this fascinating account of the origins of our modern-day calendars and traditions behind our New Year celebrations.
Even those who are not ruled by the clock, or who are science buffs, will find that this absorbing account of the early designers who built one of the most fascinating monuments known to man and who made time and motion as we know it today all possible, makes you forget all about the time.
Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website