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If you like Stonehenge you’ll love this, BBC footage from 1954 with Professors Atkinson and Piggott.

In some ways it’s obvious how we’ve moved on since that time – for instance, opinions on when the monument was built have changed radically. Also, watch out about 8.5 minutes in for an archaeologist smashing a fallen sarsen with a huge maul. Definitely imprisonable now. Other things haven’t changed though. The much maligned Professor Atkinson’s working model of how the sarsens were set upright (around 11 minutes in) is still simple and elegant and very convincing nearly 60 years later. Equally, the stone-moving experiment which led him to think that just 40 men could transport even the largest bluestone over land easily has certainly not been bettered since.

Professor Piggott’s statement that it is “inescapable fact” that Stonehenge was intended to greet the midsummer sunrise rather grates nowadays since it is no longer considered either inescapable or fact – although thirty thousand revellers are about to act as if it is both. Maybe someone should tell them it’s no longer 1954 and as such it’s highly debatable whether the country should continue to pay out £200,000 every year to support their erroneous understanding of both the time and the place….

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