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The purpose of Stanton Drew Stone Circles

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Stanton Drew Stone Circles The site I am studying is the Stanton Drew stone circles. These are located North East of the village see figures one and two. Stanton Drew is in the South West of Britain around 6 miles south of Bristol. The stones survived from a Neolithic period carbon dated to around 4,000 years ago. The site consists of three stone circles: The Grand Circle, The North East Circle and The South East Circle which is inaccessible as it is in a private garden. There are other features including The Cove and Hautville's Quoit see figure 2. The Great circle consists of 28 stones though it looks like there could have been at least 30 originally. These stones don't have a pattern to where they are placed as shown in diagram 3. The Diameter from North to South is around 115m and slightly less from East to west. The average distance between the stones (along a straight line) was 7.4m and the average height of the stones (the four remaining standing) was 2.47m. The Stones themselves seem to be from Dundry, 3 miles north as the same stone is found there, oolite or from local sources and made of Conglomerate. The stones are believed to represent male and female genitilier although as you can see from the photos they can hardly be recognised as 2 different types and it is doubtful the stones themselves were meant to represent this, however the site as a whole may represent fertility due to the nearness of the river and there being a connection with death, due to the bones found in the site there is a strong possibility that birth and life have a connection with the site. An Avenue extends from the Grand Circle heading downwards towards the River Chew, the avenue consists of 8 visible stones four in the north row and four in the south row. ...read more.


The stone itself is far to large for any human to throw making this theory unlikely. Source 4 The St Michael ley from St Michaels mount to Bury St Edmunds. The north-south ley through Arbor Low and Stonehenge and the isosceles triangle with Arbor Low at its apex. The lines are accurate to a few hundred yards but the significance of Mersea Island is not clear and the side of the triangle which should be equal are not quite so. Also there are quite a few stone circle sites in Britain and the ones that didn't line up could be disregarded in order to show that the ones that did were more prominent. Also the monuments are built of different periods and may not be associated with each other. Source 5 "According to the science of Feng Shui, which is based on a subtle conception of the order of nature far from our own today, there are currents - perhaps magnetic, Eitel hazards - within the earth's surface. Like electricity, these have positive and negative aspects, male and female, which the Chinese symbolized as the azure dragon and the white tiger. These dragon and tiger lines flow through the landscape and, in the angle close to where they cross and temporarily combine, 'there may be a luck bringing site,' if in the same place there is also 'a tranquil harmony of all the heavenly and terrestrial elements,' including the direction of water courses. Now, the happy site is almost always sheltered by hills, slightly elevated within them and connected to them by land through which the geodic currents flow." Feng Shui is not a science but a belief. It is believed by some that where the stones are placed has a spiritual significance but there is no proof. This source is valid but it is commenting on a belief rather than an actual theory as to their purpose. ...read more.


These ley lines also don't seem to serve a significant purpose unlike the alignments in the stone circles themselves apart from the belief of power given off where the lines converge at such places as Avebury. This evidence is mainly belief and is neither complex nor reliable. What is certain surrounding the stones is that they would have taken many man-hours to construct and so must have been something incredibly important to the people at the time. This leads us to believe that the stone circles had more than one use because that way their importance would have increased. The Geological physical survey (figure 5a and b) shows us that there are circles inside one another descending in circumference accordingly. Theses circles are believed to be made of wood and could have meant that the further you were allowed towards the centre the more important you could be and closer to there God so to speak as in other religions. Also the Geo physical survey shows us that there previously was a henge running around the great circle. This would make the site stand slightly above the surrounding area and make it look grander. On balance the evidence suggests that the sight was not built purely for religious reasons. The evidence suggests that the Stone Circles have multiple uses. Theses include evidence of sacrifices and rituals. The stone circles also seem to have practical uses from information on farming about when to harvest and other times of farming significance to fertility and information on when to try and have children in order to increase the likelihood of survival. Other unjustified uses of the stones would be to impress neighbouring tribes and general socialisation is quite likely. Overall it seems that the site was built partly for religious and partly for other reasons and so based on the evidence the answer is most likely no the site was not built for purely religious reasons but for many different varied reasons. ...read more.

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