History, Mystery, And The Superhenge

History fascinates me. Always has, and I guess it always will.

Science empowers and has the ability to take humankind to new heights. If only we let it and embrace it without fear.

History, I believe, has similar power, but it exerts itself in a different way. When science can be arrogant, history is humbling. When science rushes ahead at a breakneck speed, history often urges us to handle everything with care.

There’s a saying, “History repeats itself.” That’s because human nature remains the same, no matter how much time separates us from those dark middle ages. Sure, we have invented lunar landers, but our primitive instincts remain. Kept buried deep inside, but still there. Dystopian fiction, always a popular, is nothing but revisiting those instincts when the facade of modern age breaks down.

If we could understand our pasts well enough then, we would probably be better at predicting the choices we make in our futures. Maybe some mistakes could be prevented? Better choices made? Dystopias avoided?

There’s so much in our pasts that if we took the time to learn from it, we would be at a better place. I’m not just talking about collective human history, but even about our individual ones. If only we stopped and looked and listened.

But enough about the power of history. Let’s get to the mystery.

Reading about the mysteries of history has been a staple pastime of mine. It’s a favorite, a close second to science fiction. As a kid, I devoured compilations like “Unsolved mysteries of the 19th century,” or “Ancient history and its mysteries,” etc. from Nat Geo or Readers’ Digest. Not much has changed to this day.

So imagine my excitement when the discovery of a “Superhenge” was announced the other day. Some are also calling it “Stonehenge on steroids” and rightly so.

Researchers from the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project, an international consortium, discovered an even older and bigger arrangement of bluestone monoliths about 2 miles from the Stonehenge site. This huge monument, about five times bigger than Stonehenge and is made of about 90 stones and lies buried beneath the embankments of a Neolithic settlement known as Durrington Walls.

Historians believe the newly discovered, roughly 320-foot-long, C-shaped site, which was used as a “ritual arena” for religious ceremonies. It directly faces the river Avon and is perfectly aligned with the sunrise on the winter solstice. Thanks to ground-penetrating radar, about 30 intact stones have been estimated to be intact at the site. Some of these measure nearly 15-feet-tall, buried 3 feet deep. As for the other 60 stones, fragments or foundation pits have been detected.

Historians think everything they had written about Stonehenge now needs to be rewritten. Speculations still abound about the exact purpose of Stonehenge–an astronomical calendar, a ritual or ceremonial ground, a burial site–and now Superhenge gives it a whole new spin.

A curious tale grows even more curious.

S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books. Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering shows up time and again in her books.

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Posted in interesting stuffs, trivia

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