Monday, November 22, 2010

Stonehenge: shrinking with age

Ah, the wonder of everybody's favourite henge, Stone (known to many as 'Stonehenge'), usually only hitting the news during your various solstices surrounded by a multitude of slobbering hippies, all stoned out of their gourds on medicinal hemp and wondering where the nearest bag of candied corn is. Of course when Stonehenge was originally built some 1600 years ago, hippies and hemp were the last things on the builders minds, although it is true that even then candied corn was hard to find. Theories abound as to the how-do's and the why-for's of Stonehenge: why was it built, who built it, how did they build it, what the heck is a henge? All worthy questions yet one question rarely if ever asked is; where the heck did the missing bits get to?

Back in the long ago when Stonehenge was all shiny and new your average Brit was spending his says in the fields, burrowing in the mud hunting for worms. Not the builders of Stonehenge though (and don't be fooled, it was not giants from some fanciful British past nor dinosaurs from some Flintstone past that built Stonehenge). With that crowd every morning at the crack of dawn they were up and out for some bracing calisthenics before a burly breakfast of blood-pudding and chiggers. Then it was off to the work-site for a solid day of telling other people what to do. Labour relations were not as enlightened back then as they are today and while nostril crimps and buttock clamps were rarely used, willow whips and wild dogs were very popular to encourage the workers to work a little more enthusiastically.

As interesting as all this trivia may be, the cold hard facts are that once finished, Stonehenge was made up of about eighty large sandstone blocks weighing about four tons apiece, lovingly placed without the use of mortar, dowels or dinosaurs (not counting all the little blocks placed higgledy-piggledy). A quick look at the above photograph from 1877 shows that even back then a lot of blocks, about half, are missing. Gone. Lost to the ages. So, where the heck are they?

One has to remember that the builders of Stonehenge were a focused bunch and as such they were not about to allow their new construction to be ripped apart by all the usual suspects. Over the following sixteen hundred years though, the blocks slowly began to disappear. The question is, where did they go? There are no suspicious large buildings anywhere near and somehow it just seems unlikely that some wacky kids would swipe one of the stones and bury it somewhere as a prank or a jape.

So what are the theories? There are none. My own personal theory that covers all the facts is that the blocks were stolen by space aliens. Why would space aliens steal sandstone blocks from Stonehenge? Well obviously any space alien motivations for stealing would be impossible for we humans to understand, they are, after all, aliens. But one little known fact is that the particular sandstone the blocks are made from is called sarsen, which is a sandstone harder than granite. Now here on Earth sarsen is not exactly rare, but let's postulate that it is very rare on the home planet of these space aliens. I am viewing this as an economic crime, much like what happened on Wall Street in 2008. Outright theft. Space alien bastards. Except for the Vulcans. I like Vulcans.

Anyway... Humouroceros

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