Walking along Stonehenge is like doing it along an extinct world that is forgotten by the unwillingness to remember of the past. However, today it reappears harder than ever and powerfully influences everybody who stares at it.

26.02.2009 Text and pictures: JOSEP Mª ROSELLÓ

Stonehenge is located in the county of Wiltshire, southern England, about 100 kilometres west of London. It is the typical English Cretaceous landscape with green grass over white chalky rocks. The road brings us gradually closer to the megalithic circle of Stonehenge among the smooth undulations of the English countryside. If we look at it from a longer distance, it seems to be compact, heterogeneous and neglected. We maybe imagined it huger but once we are in front of it, the closest possible, the perception changes. Everything we expected to be large and majestic, turns into a strange feeling like it happens with many other megaliths.

The meaning of this lithic circle was forgotten centuries ago. It took 1,000 years to be built and the people who did it did not leave any message that we can decode. Therefore, we still do not know for sure why Stonehenge exists neither which use had. Those who built Stonehenge and other megaliths perhaps did it to defy the passing of time and to a certain extent they achieved it.

The name comes from the ancient English, a Germanic language that fell into disuse centuries ago. The usual images of Stonehenge present it as bucolically framed against the dawn or the weakness of the dusk. However, the current reality of this circle made of stones is different. Stonehenge is a human work and therefore it is like it was part of us. It is surrounded by hundreds of people during the whole year. They are also Stonehenge, no matter who they are or where they come from, and are identified with what they see such as they had taken part in the work. In fact, this happens because the people who built Stonehenge were humans like us, that is to say humans who had interests, feelings, happiness or fear. Undoubtedly, the tourists who stare at it ask themselves which were the reasons why our ancestors built such a strange, mysterious monument.

Therefore, if we dissociate the stones from the people or remove them from the photographic frame to remember the trip, we deny today the authentic reality of this monument. Stonehenge strongly calls the million of visits that has every year, which long to stare at this work built by our ancestors. It is not in vain one of the most well-known tourist icons of Great Britain. However, it is much more than this. In fact, it is an appeal for our own memory, which we have already forgotten and shows us once again that the human being is able to achieve their purposes. Staring at it is like travelling to the depths of our subconscious in search of answers to our behaviour as society in the past. We may have the hope that it subtly reflects our current behaviour, but we are asking those old, worn stones for so much.

It is probable that any other monument did not stimulate the imagination of the English people so much as this one. Therefore, any other monument has not been so profusely excavated, studied and admired in this country. In fact, we know very little about it, which it almost means that we recognize we still know very little about ourselves.

The reason for building the monument is uncertain. This is why we are still intrigued by the cause it is unfinished and why the people who put so much effort into this and other megalithic buildings ended by leaving them. In this way they maybe turned the page on their beliefs and perhaps their lives.

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