Let’s Visit Stonehenge, the Mysterious Stone Circle
You are attending a language school in Britain and you are planning a class trip. Your teacher wants to go to the National Gallery in London, but you think it is boring. Persuade your teacher to visit Stonehenge.
I’m sure it’s very educational to see masterpieces by famous painters in the London National Gallery but why don’t we go to Stonehenge, the mysterious stone circle, built over 4,000 years ago. I’d like to share some interesting facts about Stonehenge with you.
The great stone monument of Stonehenge is the best known and most remarkable of prehistoric remains in Britain. It has stood on Salisbury Plain for about 4,000 years. No written records exist of its origin, and it has always been surrounded by mystery. There have been many different theories, but still nobody knows why it was built.
One theory is that it was a place from where stars and planets could be observed. It was discovered that the position of some stones was related to the movement of the sun and moon, so that the stones could be used as a calendar to predict such things as eclipses.
At one time people thought that Stonehenge was a Druid temple. The Druids were a Celtic religious group before the Norman Conquest. Some people believe that the Druids were a group of priests who practiced human sacrifice and cannibalism.
Who Were the Druids?
The druids were responsible for all religious rituals, because the only person who could talk to a god was a druid.
The druids were the soothsayers, the seers, the teachers, the doctors, the philosophers, and the lawyers in Celtic society. To become a druid, you had to study with the druids for at least twenty years. The druids had their own universities. There was a lot to learn.
The Celtic people went to the druids for everything. If a child was sick, you went to your druid, who might cure the child with medicine they made from a plant. If two fines were having a fight over a boundary, a druid would decide who was right and who was mistaken. If a raven flew over a homestead, the fine might want to know what it meant. To find out, you asked the druids.
Druids were members of a clan like everyone else. They were highly respected, and powerful. Druids decided who could get married, who inherited, and established the honor price for each individual in their clan.
Another theory is that the great stone circle was used to store terrestrial energy which was then generated across the country through the so-called ley lines, which are invisible channels for a special kind of power.
Besides the theories of scientists, there are local legends. One of them tells that Stonehenge was built by the devil in a single night. He flew forwards and backwards between Ireland and Salisbury Plain carrying huge stones one by one and setting them in place. As he worked, he laughed to himself. “That will make people think. They will never know how the stones came here!” But a friar was hiding in a ditch nearby. The devil saw the friar and threw a stone at him which hit the friar on the heel.
The stone which the devil threw is known as the heel stone, and people will show it to you lying by the side of the road.
- Which is the best known prehistoric monument in Britain?
- What theories exist about the origin of Stonehenge?
- What do you know about the Druids?
- What does the legend say about the building of Stonehenge?