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COLUMN: History and its mystery

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History and its mystery

David Christy

History is not necessarily a static thing, where we know everything about a certain event, a certain person, a certain battle ad infinitum.

Every now and then we discover a tidbit here or there that helps us understand an event that no longer has a living eyewitness.

I can’t tell you exactly how Abraham Lincoln or Robert E. Lee viewed the American Civil War, why they did what they did or the way things were during those four bloody years.

But, I got to thinking, what if we have gotten parts of history all wrong? I mean, much of our earliest history comes from simple observation, of writings or hand-me-down tales of events like the Great Flood, or the building of the pyramids at Giza, or the reason for the great statue, the Colossus of Rhodes.

We weren’t there.

One of the great mysteries of history is Stonehenge, which is in the news because a piece of it will be returned from here in the U.S. to England.

An American took part in repairing of Stonehenge in 1958 to raise one of massive trilithons, the three-piece standing stones that had fallen to the ground at the nearly 5,000-year-old site on Salisbury Plain.

The work included drilling ring-shaped holes into the stone, producing rock cores.

It’s hoped the cores will help reveal the exact place the original stones came from, and thus, tell us more about their mysterious origins.

So, it struck me a bit funny as I write this piece, what if they find the stones are not of this Earth, and came from the far-and-away planet of Munimula?

That, if you watched the Jetsons in your youth, was the planet named by spelling aluminum backwards.

And, let me tell you, it ain’t easy spelling something backwards. Try it.

As you may have guessed, I’m not being extraordinarily serious today.

But then again, I am.

So, let’s take this a few speculation-steps further. What if historians and researchers find that the core sample from one of the great megalithic stones can give us a glimpse into just why Stonehenge was constructed those millennia ago?

We think we kind of know why Stonehenge was built.

The iconic site consists of a ring of standing stones, each about 13 feet high, seven feet wide weighing about 25 tons each.

Yes, each.

Archaeologists think it was constructed somewhere between 3000 BC and 2000 BC.

There are at least seven legitimate theories answering the question “why, what was it used for?”

It had to have taken many years to build and was not done on a whim by our ancient ancestors.

Some think it was an ancient hunting and feasting site, or a unity monument, to celebrate peace after war or fighting between Bronze Age peoples of the day.

Others feel it was an astronomical calendar that celebrated the winter and summer solstice.

Others think it was an elite cemetery in its day. Other theories say it was used for auditory soundings, or to enhance music.

Many human skeletons and bones unearthed at the site bear marks of illness or injury, giving rise to the theory it was a site used for healing.

My own speculation as to the historical use for Stonehenge is fairly mundane.

Today we build great structures as monuments to ingenuity or design or as memorials, like the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Washington Monument in D.C., the Lincoln Memorial or the Marine Corps’ Iwo Jima monument.

We built skyscrapers like the Empire State Building or the Sears Tower for function, but as much as function, iconic design. All these are greatly admired and much visited.

Here in our humble state of Oklahoma, we have added our own modern-day equivalent to Stonehenge, in Oklahoma City at the Murrah Bombing Memorial.

It has both function, as a remembrance to lives lost, and as a unique design — its sobering reflecting pool, gates of time and empty chairs.

Perhaps we are overthinking the real use of Stonehenge, what the Druids and our far-away ancestors — long, long before Christianity came to the British Isles — had in mind.

These were a superstitious people, who simply reacted to their surroundings, to what happened in their daily lives as far as crops and food, life and death, the stars and seasons we today take for granted.

So, with my tongue firmly cheek-planted, I offer this theory for the monolithic site.

What if the core sample from one of those ancient stones find it is saturated with dog urine?

What if Stonehenge simply was an ancient-but-really-fancy dog park, where early Celts walked their canine friends?

Of course it wasn’t, but then again as with much of pre-history, we will never know.

We only have our speculation — historically speaking.

Christy is news editor at the Enid News & Eagle. Visit his column blog at www.tinyurl.com/Column-Blog.

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