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hippodrom, which I discover'd, August 6, 1723."1 Macrobius to the effect that "upon holy days dedicated to the gods, there are sacrifices, feasts, games and festivals. For a sacred solemnity is, when sacrifices are offer'd to the gods, or holy feastings celebrated, or games perform'd to their honour, or when holy days, are observ'd." "This great work" (the cursus), he continues, "is included between two ditches running east and west in a parallel, which are 350 foot asunder. The cursus, which is two miles long, has two entrances (as it were): gaps being left in the two little ditches. And these gaps, which are opposite to each other, in the two ditches, are opposite to the straight part of Stonehenge avenue. The east end of the cursus is compos'd of a huge body of earth, a bank or long barrow thrown up nearly the whole breadth of the cursus. This seems to be the plain of session, for the judges of the prizes and chief of the spectators. The west end of the cursus is curv'd into an arch, like the end of the Roman circus's, and there probably the chariots ran round, in order to turn again. And there is an obscure barrow or two, round which they return'd, as it were a meta. The cursus is directly north from Stonehenge; so exactly, that the meridian line of Stonehenge passes precisely through the middle of it." To return from the cursus to the avenue, we must not neglect Stukeley's description of the latter: "This avenue extends itself, somewhat more than 1700 feet, in a straight line, down to the bottom of the valley, with a delicate descent. I observe the earth of the ditches is thrown inward, and seemingly some turf on both sides, thrown upon the avenue, to raise it a little above the level of the downs. The two ditches continue perfectly parallel to the bottom, 40 cubits asunder. About midway, there is a pretty depressure, natural, which diversifies it agreeably When I began my inquiries into this noble work, I thought it terminated here, and Mr. Roger Gale and myself measur'd it so far with a chain. Another year I found it extended itself much farther. For at the
1 Page 41, ed. 1740.
2 This was examined by Dr. Thurnam unsuccessfully as regards primary, but successfully as regarded secondary, interments.
bottom of the valley, it divides into two branches. The eastern branch goes a long way hence, directly east, pointing to an ancient ford of the river Avon. The western branch from this termination at the bottom of the hill 1000 cubits from the work at Stonehenge, goes off with a similar sweep at first, but then it does not throw itself into a strait line immediately, as the former, but continues curving along the bottom of the hill, till it meets, what I call, the cursus."
This interesting portion of the Stonehenge system deserves to have the additional light thrown upon it which comes from the careful survey of the Wiltshire baronet, and Mr. Crocker: "The avenue is a narrow strip of land, bounded on each side by a slight agger of earth. On referring to the map of the environs of Stonehenge, where its situation and form will be best seen, you will perceive that it issues from the N.E. entrance of the temple1; then crossing the turnpike road, proceeds in a straight line towards a valley, where it divides into two branches, the one leading in a gentle curve towards the circus; the other directing its course in a direct line up the hill between the two rows of barrows, planted with fir trees. The most northern group has been called by Stukeley, the old King Barrows; the opposite group, the New King Barrows, and under these titles I have distinguished them in my map. The former are lower and flatter in their construction than the latter, which increase in height with the ground towards the south. In the eye of the antiquary, they are much disfigured by the clumps of Scotch firs planted upon them, though at the same time secured from the researches of his spade. More than an usual regularity is preserved in the disposal of these tumuli; and I must here call attention to the map, where
The writer's valued friend and pastor, the Rev. Prebendary Scarth, in an address made by him to the members of the British Association for the advancement of Science, when they visited Stonehenge, from Bath, in 1864, said that "an avenue of stones had led up to these circles," but there are certainly no indications, as far as the writer can judge, of any stones having flanked the present avenue. Aubrey, referring to the pricked lines on his plan from a to @, says that they "signifie the Imaginarie Walk of stones which was there heretofore" (p. 33).
they will be seen ranged in a semi-circular line, and a passage decidedly left for the avenue, of which traces are still evident as far as this spot; but it has afterwards been obliterated by tillage in its passage through Amesbury Park.
"Here again we have another proof of Stonehenge and its avenue having been formed prior to the surrounding barrows, and we see a rude attempt at symmetry in the seven barrows arranged in two separate lines, which flank the avenue (like wings) on its ascending the summit of the hill. . The length of the avenue from the ditch round Stonehenge to the spot where it branches off is 594 yards; and from thence it is visible about 814 yards up the hill. The northern branch appears undoubtedly to lead towards the cursus, though its traces become very faint soon after it has quitted the eastern line up the hill: it seems to have pursued a bending course towards the cursus, but I could not perceive that it pointed to any decided opening in that work.
"The cursus, according to Mr. Crocker's measurement, is in length 1 mile, 5 furlongs, and 176 yards: its breadth 110 yards. At the distance of 55 yards from the eastern end, which is terminated (as described by Stukeley), you perceive the termination of the course rounded off, as if the horses or chariots made a turn at this spot. At the distance of 638 yards from this end, are two entrances into the area of the cursus, opposite to each other; and 825 yards further on, the vallum has been much broken down by the continual track of waggons; and to this spot Dr. Stukeley supposes the northern branch of the avenue from Stonehenge pointed." Sir R. Hoare considered that the slight bank running across the cursus at the west end formed a part of the general plan of these places of amusement, as he found a similar one in the smaller adjoining circus. The barrows he did not think had been "metæ," as Stukeley supposed, but that they had stood on that ground long before the formation of this course, and that, being between the bank and the end, they could not have impeded the races. From the similarity of the plan both of the large and small circus to that of a Roman circus, Sir R. Hoare felt inclined to think that they were not of British origin, but that they had been formed after the settlement of the Romans in our island.
NOTE.-Mr. Cunnington has, since the note at page 67 was printed, examined the specimen found by Dr. Thurnam in barrow No. 170, and which is in the British Museum. He thus describes it:-"It is of fine micaceous sandstone, it is true, and so far resembles the 'altar' stone at Stonehenge; but it is of lighter colour, and so does not 'precisely agree' with the altar stone. It is an implement, probably a whetstone, and is moreover entered by Dr. Thurnam as having been found in a secondary interment in the barrow. No date, even comparative, can be given to it, and for the purpose of our Stonehenge argument, it is useless,"
By whom were these Stones set up?
N all countries, in the earliest times, the stone or earthen circle appears to have been the mode of expressing the intention to set apart a particular spot as a "locus consecratus," either for worship, or sepulture. The circle was the form of the sun and moon in their completeness, and it was suggestive of infinity. The impressiveness of the stone circle would of course depend upon the size of the stones which the district produced, but where these were large, they would naturally be made use of in preference to smaller ones. It is not necessary to suppose that the constructors of Abury, Stanton Drew, Rollrich, and the numerous stone circles of Devonshire, and Cornwall, required to be taught this art by foreigners. Just as their daily wants would impel them, in common with all other early races, to shape flints into weapons and instruments, so would their religious instincts suggest to them, as to others, the particular form in which they might best give expression to them. We may safely assume that the indigena of all countries would spontaneously set up the rude stone circle, without any suggestion from external sources.
In the case of Stonehenge, however, there is a considerable artistic advance, which is suggestive to many of a later period of construction, and of foreign influence; and accordingly its erection has been ascribed to the Phoenicians, to the Belgæ, to the Romans, to the Romano-British, to the Saxons, and to the Danes. 1
Jacob Bryant in the 3rd vol. of his "Analysis of Antient Mythology," p. 532—3 (1776), claims for Stonehenge a very high antiquity: "We have many instances of this nature [poised stones] in our own country, and they are to be found in other parts of the world; and wherever they occur we may esteem them of the highest antiquity. All such works we generally refer to the Celts,