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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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A Sacred Landscape
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It is believed Stonehenge had to have a religious and spiritual significance. We know little of the beliefs of the Stonehenge peoples; archaeologists have suggested for all we know they could have been born dead. We have their burial mounds, their grave goods and their stone circles. As farmers, the yearly cycle would have been vital to their survival and we think that the earth was seen as a living entity represented by a Goddess figure. A carving on one of the great trilithons, said to be the mother goddess, has been found. Carved four thousand years ago, before the sarsen stone was erected, this could be an indication of the religious purpose of the circle. Other carvings, of axe heads and the Mycenian type dagger, have also been found; these possibly date to the final stage which was completed by 1550 BC.

It is suggested by archaeologist Brian Davidson that when the monument was completed a head high bank could have been intact so that it act as a screen, protecting the sacred rituals inside the circle from the eyes of those not initiated in the mysteries. The priests and the chieftains were those who could have been participants in the ceremonies; the builders probably were excluded from the temple once it was completed.

A Sacred Landscape

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