PDA

View Full Version : Stonehenge Precursor Site - An AC: Syndicate Theory



RinoTheBouncer
06-21-2015, 09:07 PM
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, England. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is the remains of a ring of standing stones set within earthworks. It is in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.


Archaeologists believe it was built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Radiocarbon dating in 2008 suggested that the first stones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC, whilst another theory suggests that bluestones may have been raised at the site as early as 3000 BC.


Archaeological evidence found by the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2008 indicates that Stonehenge could have been a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. The dating of cremated remains found on the site indicate that deposits contain human bone from as early as 3000 BC, when the ditch and bank were first dug. Such deposits continued at Stonehenge for at least another 500 years.


Stonehenge evolved in several construction phases spanning at least 1,500 years. There is evidence of large-scale construction on and around the monument that perhaps extends the landscape's time frame to 6,500 years. Dating and understanding the various phases of activity is complicated by disturbance of the natural chalk by periglacial effects and animal burrowing, poor quality early excavation records, and a lack of accurate, scientifically verified dates. The modern phasing most generally agreed to by archaeologists is detailed below. Features mentioned in the text are numbered and shown on the plan, right.


Before the monument (8000 BC forward)


Archaeologists have found four, or possibly five, large Mesolithic postholes (one may have been a natural tree throw), which date to around 8000 BC, beneath the nearby modern tourist car-park. These held pine posts around 0.75 metres (2 ft 6 in) in diameter which were erected and eventually rotted in situ. Three of the posts (and possibly four) were in an east-west alignment which may have had ritual significance; no parallels are known from Britain at the time but similar sites have been found in Scandinavia.


Salisbury Plain was then still wooded but 4,000 years later, during the earlier Neolithic, people built a causewayed enclosure at Robin Hood's Ball and long barrow tombs in the surrounding landscape. In approximately 3500 BC, a Stonehenge Cursus was built 700 metres (2,300 ft) north of the site as the first farmers began to clear the trees and develop the area. A number of other adjacent stone and wooden structures and burial mounds, previously overlooked, may date as far back as 4,000 BC. Charcoal from the ‘Blick Mead’ camp 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi) from Stonehenge has been dated to 4000BC. The University of Buckingham's Humanities Research Institute believes that the community who built Stonehenge lived here -over a period of several millennia -making it potentially ‘one of the pivotal places in the history of the Stonehenge landscape.


Stonehenge 1 (ca. 3100 BC)


The first monument consisted of a circular bank and ditch enclosure made of Late Cretaceous (Santonian Age) Seaford Chalk, (7 and 8), measuring about 110 metres (360 ft) in diameter, with a large entrance to the north east and a smaller one to the south (14). It stood in open grassland on a slightly sloping spot.[17] The builders placed the bones of deer and oxen in the bottom of the ditch, as well as some worked flint tools. The bones were considerably older than the antler picks used to dig the ditch, and the people who buried them had looked after them for some time prior to burial. The ditch was continuous but had been dug in sections, like the ditches of the earlier causewayed enclosures in the area. The chalk dug from the ditch was piled up to form the bank. This first stage is dated to around 3100 BC, after which the ditch began to silt up naturally. Within the outer edge of the enclosed area is a circle of 56 pits (13), each about a metre (3 ft 3 in) in diameter, known as the Aubrey holes after John Aubrey, the seventeenth-century antiquarian who was thought to have first identified them. The pits may have contained standing timbers creating a timber circle, although there is no excavated evidence of them. A recent excavation has suggested that the Aubrey Holes may have originally been used to erect a bluestone circle.[18] If this were the case, it would advance the earliest known stone structure at the monument by some 500 years. A small outer bank beyond the ditch could also date to this period.


In 2013 a team of archaeologists, led by Mike Parker Pearson, excavated more than 50,000 cremated bones of 63 individuals buried at Stonehenge.

These remains had originally been buried individually in the Aubrey holes, exhumed during a previous excavation conducted by William Hawley in 1920, been considered unimportant by him, and subsequently re-interred together in one hole, Aubrey Hole 7, in 1935. Physical and chemical analysis of the remains has shown that the cremated were almost equally men and women, and included some children. As there was evidence of the underlying chalk beneath the graves being crushed by substantial weight, the team concluded that the first bluestones brought from Wales were probably used as grave markers. Radiocarbon dating of the remains has put the date of the site 500 years earlier than previously estimated, to around 3,000 BCE.


Analysis of animal teeth found at nearby Durrington Walls, thought to be the 'builders camp', suggests that as many as 4,000 people gathered at the site for the mid-winter and mid-summer festivals; the evidence showed that the animals had been slaughtered around 9 months or 15 months after their spring birth. Strontium isotope analysis of the animal teeth showed that some had travelled from as far afield as the Scottish Highlands for the celebrations.


Stonehenge 2 (ca. 3000 BC)


Evidence of the second phase is no longer visible. The number of postholes dating to the early 3rd millennium BC suggest that some form of timber structure was built within the enclosure during this period. Further standing timbers were placed at the northeast entrance, and a parallel alignment of posts ran inwards from the southern entrance. The postholes are smaller than the Aubrey Holes, being only around 0.4 metres (16 in) in diameter, and are much less regularly spaced. The bank was purposely reduced in height and the ditch continued to silt up. At least twenty-five of the Aubrey Holes are known to have contained later, intrusive, cremation burials dating to the two centuries after the monument's inception. It seems that whatever the holes' initial function, it changed to become a funerary one during Phase 2. Thirty further cremations were placed in the enclosure's ditch and at other points within the monument, mostly in the eastern half. Stonehenge is therefore interpreted as functioning as an enclosed cremation cemetery at this time, the earliest known cremation cemetery in the British Isles. Fragments of unburnt human bone have also been found in the ditch-fill. Dating evidence is provided by the late Neolithic grooved ware pottery that has been found in connection with the features from this phase.


Stonehenge 3 I (ca. 2600 BC)


Archaeological excavation has indicated that around 2600 BC, the builders abandoned timber in favour of stone and dug two concentric arrays of holes (the Q and R Holes) in the centre of the site. These stone sockets are only partly known (hence on present evidence are sometimes described as forming ‘crescents’); however, they could be the remains of a double ring. Again, there is little firm dating evidence for this phase. The holes held up to 80 standing stones (shown blue on the plan), only 43 of which can be traced today. The bluestones (some of which are made of dolerite, an igneous rock), were thought for much of the twentieth century to have been transported by humans from the Preseli Hills, 150 miles (240 km) away in modern-day Pembrokeshire in Wales. Another theory that has recently gained support is that they were brought much nearer to the site as glacial erratics by the Irish Sea Glacier. Other standing stones may well have been small sarsens (limestones), used later as lintels. The stones, which weighed about four tons, consisted mostly of spotted Ordovician dolerite but included examples of rhyolite, tuff and volcanic and calcareous ash; in total around 20 different rock types are represented. Each monolith measures around 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height, between 1 m and 1.5 m (3.3–4.9 ft) wide and around 0.8 metres (2.6 ft) thick. What was to become known as the Altar Stone (1), is almost certainly derived from either Carmarthenshire or the Brecon Beacons and may have stood as a single large monolith.


The north-eastern entrance was widened at this time, with the result that it precisely matched the direction of the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset of the period. This phase of the monument was abandoned unfinished, however; the small standing stones were apparently removed and the Q and R holes purposefully backfilled. Even so, the monument appears to have eclipsed the site at Avebury in importance towards the end of this phase.


The Heelstone (5), a Tertiary sandstone, may also have been erected outside the north-eastern entrance during this period. It cannot be accurately dated and may have been installed at any time during phase 3. At first it was accompanied by a second stone, which is no longer visible. Two, or possibly three, large portal stones were set up just inside the north-eastern entrance, of which only one, the fallen Slaughter Stone (4), 4.9 metres (16 ft) long, now remains. Other features, loosely dated to phase 3, include the four Station Stones (6), two of which stood atop mounds (2 and 3). The mounds are known as "barrows" although they do not contain burials. Stonehenge Avenue, (10), a parallel pair of ditches and banks leading 2 miles (3 km) to the River Avon, was also added. Two ditches similar to Heelstone Ditch circling the Heelstone (which was by then reduced to a single monolith) were later dug around the Station Stones.


Stonehenge 3 II (2600 BC to 2400 BC)


During the next major phase of activity, 30 enormous Oligocene-Miocene sarsen stones (shown grey on the plan) were brought to the site. They may have come from a quarry, around 25 miles (40 km) north of Stonehenge on the Marlborough Downs, or they may have been collected from a "litter" of sarsens on the chalk downs, closer to hand. The stones were dressed and fashioned with mortise and tenon joints before 30 were erected as a 33 metres (108 ft) diameter circle of standing stones, with a ring of 30 lintel stones resting on top. The lintels were fitted to one another using another woodworking method, the tongue and groove joint. Each standing stone was around 4.1 metres (13 ft) high, 2.1 metres (6 ft 11 in) wide and weighed around 25 tons. Each had clearly been worked with the final visual effect in mind; the orthostats widen slightly towards the top in order that their perspective remains constant when viewed from the ground, while the lintel stones curve slightly to continue the circular appearance of the earlier monument. The inward-facing surfaces of the stones are smoother and more finely worked than the outer surfaces. The average thickness of the stones is 1.1 metres (3 ft 7 in) and the average distance between them is 1 metre (3 ft 3 in). A total of 75 stones would have been needed to complete the circle (60 stones) and the trilithon horseshoe (15 stones). It was thought the ring might have been left incomplete, but an exceptionally dry summer in 2013 revealed patches of parched grass which may correspond to the location of removed sarsens.[21] The lintel stones are each around 3.2 metres (10 ft), 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) wide and 0.8 metres (2 ft 7 in) thick. The tops of the lintels are 4.9 metres (16 ft) above the ground.


Within this circle stood five trilithons of dressed sarsen stone arranged in a horseshoe shape 13.7 metres (45 ft) across with its open end facing north east. These huge stones, ten uprights and five lintels, weigh up to 50 tons each. They were linked using complex jointing. They are arranged symmetrically. The smallest pair of trilithons were around 6 metres (20 ft) tall, the next pair a little higher and the largest, single trilithon in the south west corner would have been 7.3 metres (24 ft) tall. Only one upright from the Great Trilithon still stands, of which 6.7 metres (22 ft) is visible and a further 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in) is below ground.


The images of a 'dagger' and 14 'axeheads' have been carved on one of the sarsens, known as stone 53; further carvings of axeheads have been seen on the outer faces of stones 3, 4, and 5. The carvings are difficult to date, but are morphologically similar to late Bronze Age weapons; recent laser scanning work on the carvings supports this interpretation. The pair of trilithons in the north east are smallest, measuring around 6 metres (20 ft) in height; the largest, which is in the south west of the horseshoe, is almost 7.5 metres (25 ft) tall.


This ambitious phase has been radiocarbon dated to between 2600 and 2400 BC, slightly earlier than the Stonehenge Archer, discovered in the outer ditch of the monument in 1978, and the two sets of burials, known as the Amesbury Archer and the Boscombe Bowmen, discovered 3 miles (5 km) to the west. At about the same time, a large timber circle and a second avenue were constructed 2 miles (3 km) away at Durrington Walls overlooking the River Avon. The timber circle was oriented towards the rising sun on the midwinter solstice, opposing the solar alignments at Stonehenge, whilst the avenue was aligned with the setting sun on the summer solstice and led from the river to the timber circle. Evidence of huge fires on the banks of the Avon between the two avenues also suggests that both circles were linked, and they were perhaps used as a procession route on the longest and shortest days of the year. Parker Pearson speculates that the wooden circle at Durrington Walls was the centre of a 'land of the living', whilst the stone circle represented a 'land of the dead', with the Avon serving as a journey between the two.


Stonehenge 3 III (2400 BC to 2280 BC)


Later in the Bronze Age, although the exact details of activities during this period are still unclear, the bluestones appear to have been re-erected. They were placed within the outer sarsen circle and may have been trimmed in some way. Like the sarsens, a few have timber-working style cuts in them suggesting that, during this phase, they may have been linked with lintels and were part of a larger structure.
Stonehenge 3 IV (2280 BC to 1930 BC)


This phase saw further rearrangement of the bluestones. They were arranged in a circle between the two rings of sarsens and in an oval at the centre of the inner ring. Some archaeologists argue that some of these bluestones were from a second group brought from Wales. All the stones formed well-spaced uprights without any of the linking lintels inferred in Stonehenge 3 III. The Altar Stone may have been moved within the oval at this time and re-erected vertically. Although this would seem the most impressive phase of work, Stonehenge 3 IV was rather shabbily built compared to its immediate predecessors, as the newly re-installed bluestones were not well-founded and began to fall over. However, only minor changes were made after this phase.


Stonehenge 3 V (1930 BC to 1600 BC)


Soon afterwards, the north eastern section of the Phase 3 IV bluestone circle was removed, creating a horseshoe-shaped setting (the Bluestone Horseshoe) which mirrored the shape of the central sarsen Trilithons. This phase is contemporary with the Seahenge site in Norfolk.

After the monument (1600 BC on)


The Y and Z Holes are the last known construction at Stonehenge, built about 1600 BC, and the last usage of it was probably during the Iron Age. Roman coins and medieval artefacts have all been found in or around the monument but it is unknown if the monument was in continuous use throughout British prehistory and beyond, or exactly how it would have been used. Notable is the massive Iron Age hillfort Vespasian's Camp built alongside the Avenue near the Avon. A decapitated seventh century Saxon man was excavated from Stonehenge in 1923. The site was known to scholars during the Middle Ages and since then it has been studied and adopted by numerous groups.

Mysteries


Wicker Baskets


In November 2010, the engineer and former BBC presenter Garry Lavin unveiled a new hypothesis, suggesting that the builders used basket-like wicker cages to transport Stonehenge’s massive bluestones. To demonstrate his concept, he created a prototypical cradle made from willow and alder saplings. Lavin believes that groups of four or five men used similar contraptions to roll the stones over long distances, perhaps with the help of oxen. When they reached rivers, the giant baskets became flotation devices that the movers could guide downstream.

Lavin’s theory is supported by archaeological evidence that people were already weaving baskets and other structures back when Stonehenge was created. So far, though, he’s only managed to test his prototype on a 1-ton slab—a fraction of the bluestones’ size. Further experiments with supersized baskets and 5-ton rocks may show how much water the basket hypothesis really holds.


Ball Bearings


Shortly before Lavin’s basket theory made headlines, researchers from the University of Exeter proposed their own innovative solution to the mystery of Stonehenge. After studying puzzling stone balls found near ancient stone circles in Scotland that resemble Stonehenge, they concluded that Neolithic workers may have used wooden or stone balls and long grooved planks to slide the heavy slabs all the way from Wales. With a team of oxen, the researchers estimate, Stonehenge’s creators could have transported the massive rocks some 10 miles a day, taking roughly two weeks to make the trek from the Preseli Hills quarry to the construction site in England.


The researchers tested their theory by enlisting student volunteers and constructing a model out of wooden balls, planks and concrete slabs. While they have yet to reproduce the experiment with more authentic materials and oxen, initial attempts suggest that their hypothesis is entirely feasible—and that Leonardo da Vinci may not have been the inventor of ball bearings after all.


Stone Age Technology


In 2003, Wally Wallington, a retired construction worker from Michigan who built a Stonehenge replica in his yard, demonstrated a low-tech way to move large objects by placing walnut-sized rocks underneath them and spinning them. According to his estimates, one man could transport a 1-ton concrete block 300 feet per hour with this technique, and a team of movers could convey much bigger objects at faster rates. Wallington has single-handedly moved an entire barn and many other hefty structures using his simple method.


Wallington also explored how Stonehenge’s builders might have raised the enormous stones, using weights and leverage to slowly rock heavy pillars into standing positions. His approach resembles that of Edward Leedskalnin, the Latvian-born eccentric who built the extraordinary monument known as Coral Castle in Florida between 1923 and 1951. Constructed by one man without the help of modern technology, Leedskalnin’s masterpiece consists of numerous megalithic stones that weigh up to 30 tons each.


Sledges, Rollers and Boats


According to one longstanding theory, Stonehenge’s builders fashioned sledges and rollers out of tree trunks to haul the bluestones from the Preseli Hills. In this scenario, they transferred the boulders onto rafts once they reached the sea and floated them first along the Welsh coast and then up the River Avon toward Salisbury Plain; alternatively, they may have towed each stone with a fleet of vessels.
In 2000, a group of volunteers attempted to reenact this journey by dragging a 3-ton boulder over land and water from Wales to Stonehenge. Their ambitious endeavor came to a screeching halt when the stone, suspended between two boats in the Bristol channel, broke through its sling and plunged into the sea.


Glaciers


As early as the 1970s, geologists have been adding their voices to the debate over how Stonehenge came into being. Challenging the classic image of industrious Neolithic builders pushing, carting, rolling or hauling the craggy bluestones from faraway Wales, some scientists have suggested that glaciers, not humans, did most of the heavy lifting. The globe is dotted with giant rocks known as glacial erratics that were carried over long distances by moving ice floes. Perhaps Stonehenge’s mammoth slabs were snatched from the Preseli Hills by glaciers during one of the Ice Ages and deposited a stone’s throw away—at least comparatively—from Salisbury Plain.


Most archaeologists have remained cool toward the glacial theory, wondering how the forces of nature could possibly have delivered the exact number of stones needed to complete the circle. It is also unclear whether ice sheets ever made it far enough south to cover land in Stonehenge’s vicinity.


Magic


According to the 12th-century writer Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose tale of King Arthur and mythical account of English history were considered factual well into the Middle Ages, Stonehenge is the handiwork of the wizard Merlin. In the mid-fifth century, the story goes, hundreds of British nobles were slaughtered by the Saxons and buried on Salisbury Plain. Hoping to erect a memorial to his fallen subjects, King Aureoles Ambrosias sent an army to Ireland to retrieve a stone circle known as the Giants’ Ring, which ancient giants had built from magical African bluestones. The soldiers successfully defeated the Irish but failed to move the stones, so Merlin used his sorcery to spirit them across the sea and arrange them above the mass grave. Legend has it that Ambrosias and his brother Uther, King Arthur’s father, are buried there as well.


The suspension of disbelief requirement aside, modern science has shown that Stonehenge’s construction predates Merlin—or, at least, the real-life figures who are said to have inspired him—by several thousand years.


Ancient Aliens


In a modern take on the Merlin hypothesis, proponents of ancient alien theory—also known as the ancient astronaut theory—believe that extraterrestrials with superior knowledge of science and engineering landed on Earth thousands of years ago, sharing their expertise with early civilizations and helping them build architectural wonders such as Stonehenge. They also credit alien visitors for the construction of the Egyptian pyramids, Easter Island’s mysterious statues and a variety of other monuments.


The author Erich von Däniken, who is often considered the father of ancient alien theory, has suggested that Stonehenge is a model of our solar system. A number of other explanations have been offered for aliens’ alleged hand in Stonehenge’s creation, including that the stone circle served as a landing pad for spaceships or as an observatory for extraterrestrial activity in the skies.


Theory


Based on the information above, I cannot help but find ties to the First Civilization mythology of Assassin’s Creed. Not to mention how it’s mentioned that it was home for one of the Pieces of Eden.


Since Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is set in Victorian England and Stonehenge is about two hours from London, which is the primary city of Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, as far as we know, I think it makes sense that we get to visit Stonehenge at some point. Perhaps in the form of an Animus glitch like Jacques De Molay’s short sequence in Assassin’s Creed: Unity, or perhaps as a final destination to find a Piece of Eden there.


There are strong theories about the Koh-i-Noor being the Pieces of Eden that we’ll be after in Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, as well as past information about Stonehenge being a home for one of the Apples of Eden, so I believe that including such an important location historically and also in terms of game mythology and lore would enrich the story and further expand on the lore as well as the historical tourism aspect.

https://scontent-mxp1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xat1/t31.0-8/11412175_1607885482796226_3855048613559211156_o.jp g

king-hailz
06-21-2015, 10:22 PM
It'll be disappointing if they don't use this. It's so obvious! I've actually thought this many times in the past and I really think it will be an important site.

NondairyGold
06-21-2015, 11:04 PM
I'd like to see Stonehenge in Syndicate, but to include it would be far too obvious, but you never know!

On a side note, if you're going to lift an entire wall of text from somewhere it would be far easier to post a link to it, then write your theory under it, if not then at least put a source on the text you've used.

D.I.D.
06-22-2015, 11:31 AM
I think they should avoid it.

1) There is nothing else there. It's a really pointless place to model for a game. They'd have to put a ring of invisible wall around the circle to stop the player wandering too far away and getting too bored on the way back.

2) For anybody in search of the paranormal, Stonehenge must be almost depressingly human. It's a wonderful construction for anyone who values the history of human ingenuity and problem-solving. As a TWCB site, even as the entrance to a TWCB site, it would be completely out of step with the architecture we've seen so far.

3) It's one of the most carefully surveyed archaeological sites in the world. Of course, we've seen other places given TWCB roots but they did it in ways that made some kind of sense: sites in the frozen Arctic, sites in the jungle, sites in the forest wilderness, and they made sense of the Rome ones too. It was believable that nobody had been permitted to go poking around underneath the Vatican and the Colosseum site was only revealed via another archaeological dig, one that went deep into a particular corner of the area.

That doesn't work for Stonehenge, which has been scanned repeatedly for geophysical data. You could invent some kind of idea about the First Civ technology tricking the researchers into seeing nothing peculiar in their surveys, but I think the players would find this a bridge too far.

Sorrosyss
06-22-2015, 12:54 PM
Hey Rino, great read as ever. Unfortunately I can't see this one happening. I get the impression they want to stick with London completely. If that is the case, there are several parts of the Underground that were dug and never used. If they wanted to have a First Civilisation site, it's the obvious hiding place for it in my view.

Hans684
06-22-2015, 03:36 PM
I think they should avoid it.

1) There is nothing else there. It's a really pointless place to model for a game. They'd have to put a ring of invisible wall around the circle to stop the player wandering too far away and getting too bored on the way back.

2) For anybody in search of the paranormal, Stonehenge must be almost depressingly human. It's a wonderful construction for anyone who values the history of human ingenuity and problem-solving. As a TWCB site, even as the entrance to a TWCB site, it would be completely out of step with the architecture we've seen so far.

3) It's one of the most carefully surveyed archaeological sites in the world. Of course, we've seen other places given TWCB roots but they did it in ways that made some kind of sense: sites in the frozen Arctic, sites in the jungle, sites in the forest wilderness, and they made sense of the Rome ones too. It was believable that nobody had been permitted to go poking around underneath the Vatican and the Colosseum site was only revealed via another archaeological dig, one that went deep into a particular corner of the area.

That doesn't work for Stonehenge, which has been scanned repeatedly for geophysical data. You could invent some kind of idea about the First Civ technology tricking the researchers into seeing nothing peculiar in their surveys, but I think the players would find this a bridge too far.

Regardless of what it is we know there is something First Civ related there.

D.I.D.
06-22-2015, 10:16 PM
Regardless of what it is we know there is something First Civ related there.

Or it was it only temporarily so? I can't remember exactly what the lore's said so far, but if I remember rightly there was an artefact stashed there at some time. That works - it makes sense why an item would either remain buried there or would be placed there by someone who wanted it to be found later. But I think Rino is thinking of something much more dramatic, where perhaps the ground opens up and we follow steps down to some ancient First Civ temple that's been unseen for thousands of years. This would be great to see again, but I don't think Stonehenge is the right kind of place for it.

Did I forget something else about the site in the fiction?