UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Stonehenge and its people : thoughts from medicine Perks, Anthony M.


This paper considers the nature of Stonehenge and other Neolithic sites from an unusual perspective, that of medicine. At Stonehenge, the finish and pattern of the stones suggest that the trilithons represent the parents of the past, while the overall layout symbolizes Earth Mother, the Mother Goddess. Concern for this deity probably reflects the enormous infant mortality of the time; she represented birth, and the continuance of life. For this reason the circle came to represent her, since, unlike rows of stones, a circle goes on forever; there is circumstantial evidence to support this view. Therefore, the other widespread circles may also symbolize this goddess, while different sites may show her in different roles. The plan of Stonehenge suggests her in the role of Goddess of Conception and Birth, that of A vebury as Goddess of Motherhood and Nurture, and the "T -plan" of West Kennett shows her ready to give rebirth to her people. The underlying principle may be that the circle represents the goddess, the female, and hope for the continuance of life. As so much at Stonehenge, these suggestions cannot be proven; however, they are based on direct observations on the stones, as seen today, and are worth consideration. [ Published article available via the Journal of the Royal Society, of Medicine, 2003 February; 96(2): 94–98. URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC539405/ ]

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