News from England: the blue stones of Stonehenge, which were placed 150 years before the larger, more recognizable stones, were transported 250 miles from Wales most likely because reputedly healing spring waters flowed in the area of their origin. This is fascinating. This theory lends credence to what I've always thought: Stonehenge wasn't (just) a memorial to the dead, it was an active and dynamic site for the living. According to the LA Times article:
Tim Darvill, a professor at the University of Bournemouth, and Geoff Wainwright, president of the Society of Antiquaries of London, have spent the last six years researching Stonehenge and the rocky outcrop Carn Menyn, thought to be the site in the Preseli Hills from which the bluestones were taken.
Darvill and Wainwright, the co-directors of the dig, found the Welsh site to be a center for ceremony and burials, where the springs that flowed below the rocks were regarded by ancients as having medicinal powers.
They hope that by finding evidence to tie the stones from the Preseli Hills to those at Stonehenge, they will have an answer to the age-old question of the site's purpose.
The two men hope to establish a more precise timeline, to within 10 years, for the construction of Stonehenge by using radiocarbon dating to compare samples from the excavation with those taken from the site in Wales.
I find this fascinating! There's even evidence, according to the article, that brain surgery took place there! I can't wait until the results of the radio carbon dating come in. I've always thought of Stonehenge as a center of worship, a ritual circle where the various holydays were celebrated, deities invoked and nature honored. But now it seems it could also have been a center for healing where green witches and shamans of the herbal and midwifery persuasion would perhaps gather and practice their art.