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Stone handaxe
THIS small handaxe is one of the most beautiful in the British Museum. It is made from quartz with attractive amethyst banding, a difficult material from which to make tools because it is extremely hard. The toolmaker would have had to hit with considerable force and accuracy to remove flakes. Such a high degree of difficulty makes the thin, symmetrical shape of this piece a masterpiece of the toolmakers’ art.
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Alignments
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The most famous alignment at Stonehenge is the sunrise at the summer solstice, but it would appear to the worshippers that the important alignment was the midwinter sunset. The Avenue consists of two parallel banks, it was the Processional or Ceremonial Way, arcing through the gap in the trees to the north-east and into the monument beside the present Heel Stone, through the ceremonial gateway, with the sunrise alignment at the back of the worshippers. They would be facing the greatest Trilithon in the centre, which would frame the midwinter sunset through a portal made of stone. To a people who were attuned to the earth the days that followed the winter solstice would bring the sun back from its death throes to rebirth and renewal.


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