Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Mystery of Stonehenge solved following discovery of 5000-year-old planning application
A clear out at Salisbury District Council’s Planning Office has uncovered a long lost Neolithic document, which experts say, ‘finally explains the purpose of Stonehenge’. After weeks of careful study by a team of Oxford University archaeologists – where the fragile deer hide document had be taken for radio carbon dating and translation – it was revealed today that the document is in fact a 5000-year-old failed planning application for the Stonehenge site.
Contrary to the widely accepted theory that Stonehenge was a place of pagan worship, which had been designed and built to act as some sort of giant celestial calendar – instead, the document details the henge’s intended use – that of a vast covered market place. Dr Amy Bogaard, lecturer in Neolithic and Bronze Age Archaeology at Oxford, explained, ‘Stonehenge was to be a place where local merchants and tradesmen could gather, in order to peddle their wares and services to the thousands of Bronze Age tribes people who occupied Salisbury Plain at the time’. The document includes a plan, which shows that originally 600 stalls were to be constructed over a 200 acre site that would have also boasted ample grazing for 3500 Oxen and cart. ‘Stonehenge was essentially going to be the world’s first out of town shopping centre,’ said Dr. Bogaard.
‘This is an amazing find that not only answers all of the questions we had regarding what Stonehenge was for and why it was built, but also gives us a fantastic insight into the day-to-day life of Bronze Age Britons, their beliefs, their values and their culture,’ Dr. Bogaard continued. ‘For example, we now know that Druidism is not a pagan religion at all. ‘Druids’ was actually the brand name of a chain of prehistoric pharmacists, the forerunner of their modern day counterpart ‘Boots’,’ she concluded.
The document also reveals that the developers of Stonehenge never actually completed construction of the market, as their planning application was turned down by the ‘Local Council of Elders’. The application was refused on the grounds that the planners had, ‘serious concerns over increased Oxen traffic’, ‘did not think that the developers use of imported Welsh stone was sympathetic to, or in keeping with, local architecture’ and felt that, ‘the construction of such a high rise building would detract from the natural beauty and innate flatness of the surrounding plain.’
Commenting on his department’s historically important discovery, the Chief Planning Officer for Salisbury District Council, Mr. Ken Dawson, said: ‘I’m just so thrilled that, although in a small way, my office has helped to solve the age old mystery of Stonehenge. In fact, I’m so proud that it almost feels a shame to have to bulldoze the site. UNESCO World Heritage Site or not, it’s still in breach of the planning laws.’