"The Sarsen Circle was never finished...." Oh yes it was!

It is often said that Stonehenge was never completed because stone 11 would have been 'too small' to have supported a lintel. This is clearly not what the prehistoric builders thought. Both stones on either side of stone 11 had pairs of  tenons so that a lintel could be passed across to the broken smaller stone. Importantly the upper bearing surface of 11 would have been no less than that provided by some of the more substantial  tapering stones of the Sarsen Circle.  Note how the laser image below also clearly shows a ridge running transversely across the top of stone 10 - at the interface of the former lintel seats.

         laser image of stonehenge

Above:  Laser images of stones 10, 11, & 12 ( s-w isometric view )

Right:   The remarkable method of jointing used to lock the  lintels

Below: note how small a lintel bearing surface is presented by Stone 21, it offers a total width of c.70cm (some 30 cm narrower than stone 11).  Even allowing for a taper on the now broken stone 11 it could still have provided a similar bearing surface as that offered by the top of stone 21

Why haven't  these kind of facts been pointed out  before?

There are many such important details that been overlooked, both above and below the ground, but why do they escape notice? The answer is simple -  most books about Stonehenge are not  written by archaeologists. For example did you also know that the surviving upright of the massive  Great Trilithon (sarsen 56) is no longer in the same place as it was when Stonehenge was constructed? That might be important too.....                         

We are so 'familiar' with Stonehenge that people often forget that the visible structure forms only part of  a  complex archaeological  site. It is also set within a landscape that  retains  a diverse and only partly known palimpsest of prehistoric monuments and buried features. Many people, even academics, often make the mistake of thinking 'Stonehenge? surely it's been thrashed to death?'. Nothing could be further from the truth, we have only just begun to explore the evidence, it is  time for centuries of  'fact by repetition' and groundless speculation to be swept away, 'Solving Stonehenge' is beginning of this process. As one reviewer observed:

'This is not a book however for people who don't want to think about the subject, if you just want another Stonehenge theory -  it's not for you'.

     stonehenge lintels
                            graphics and text © A.E.Johnson 

Stone 21 (left) broke during the construction of the Circle. The tenon sockets had however already been cut on the underside of the lintel, and the one on the end offered to the stone had to be re-cut (clear evidence that the lintel ring had been prefabricated).

It would clearly have been impossible to cut the curves and match the lintels on top of the supporting uprights. The ring had to have been precut, joints made, and the whole then trial-fitted on the ground. Further evidence, if any were needed that it was a prehistoric architectural masterpiece - carefully designed, not to accommodate distant alignments, but to a premeditated and symmetrical geometric plan. In other words its form had to reflect an exact structural concept based on a conceptual model. 

Details such as the gaps between the stones were all incidental, what mattered to the builders was to get the massive uprights centred against their surveyed marks - so that the pre-cut tenons would exactly match. Likewise the central 'horseshoe' of trilithons conform geometrically to each other, there are no distant alignments which determined their position, the only thing the stones aligned on were themselves!

.... now we are getting closer to the mindset behind Stonehenge.

                   Stonehenge midwinter

                   Stonehenge Midwinter          © James Mitchell