Stonehenge: Neolithic Ritual Art in Astrological Alignment Time, Nature & Being - Research Paper Example

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Stonehenge is a model of ritual art that combines religious practice with architecture to create a structural artwork as community symbol that also functions as a both temple and burial mound. …
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Stonehenge: Neolithic Ritual Art in Astrological Alignment Time, Nature & Being
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Download file to see previous pages Originally, the creators of Stonehenge buried the ashes of their leaders, forefathers, and priests in a circular pattern on the location, placing the cremation ashes in holes at the base of a ring of vertical stone columns, known as Aubrey Holes, and arranging these columns in concentric circular patterns. These burials expanded over time and generations with the growing complexity of religious practice on the site, which some have theorized as representing the operation of a regional temple complex with a residential committee of priests performing ritual services to the community and engaging in the advanced study of astrology. (Ray, 1987) Local construction continued over thousands of years at Stonehenge, adding elaboration to the monuments until the site eventually took a form and structure similar to the one recognized today. Stonehenge acts as a monument that bridges the macrocosm, represented through the duality of heaven/cosmos and the underworld/afterlife, with the microcosm, as represented by the body and minds of the people who worshipped there traditionally on earth.
The Mystery of Stonehenge
It is evident that the culture that constructed Stonehenge had complex religious and cultural views, even if the identity of the people and their religion remains a mystery to researchers to this day. Thus, in the context of art history one can view the Stonehenge monuments as one of the earliest records of cultural expression, and from there begin to decipher the symbols of its authors. Stonehenge is a symbolic artwork whose pre-historic creators are unknown to modern science. What modern individuals see in Stonehenge will be a reflection or projection of the individual’s own mind and sense of self onto the monument, of the individual’s own views of pre-history and spirituality. Thus it is a reverse expressionism where one comes to know one’s self and ideas through the de-constructing of a legacy artwork and cultural heritage. In building conclusions from archaeology, there is a greater ability to understand the religious significance of Stonehenge through the documented evidence of use as deciphered by years of research and excavations on the site in the UK. Historical Reconstruction of Stonehenge The history of Stonehenge dates back to the early Neolithic period, nearly 12,000 years ago when the first pre-historic people began to construct monuments of stone on the site. It is not known if there was even earlier cultural expression taking place there, and archeologists have not discovered much of anything about the language, customs, dress, or identity of the people who lived in England at that time. Yet, archeologists have developed a theory through excavations on site that posits that Stonehenge was a type of early cemetery, with burial mounds and monuments created in the manner Christianity creates tombstones today. Whereas current customs may include the engraving of the names of the dead with quotes on stone as the dead are lain to rest, the people who created Stonehenge built monuments that synchronized with the patterns of the stars, the movement of the celestial bodies, the round of the sun through the seasons – the people knew the solstice and equinox in a way that modernity has forgotten - existentially. What this model of Being suggests to modernity is one of interconnectedness and expansion, where mind is integrally related ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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