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The megalithic ruin known as Stonehenge stands on the open downland of Salisbury Plain two miles (three kilometres) west of the town of Amesbury, Wiltshire, in Southern England. It is not a single structure but consists of a series of earth, timber, and stone structures that were revised and re-modelled over a period of more than 1400 years. In the 1940s and 1950s, Richard Atkinson proposed that construction occurred in three phases, which he labelled Stonehenge I, II, IIIa, IIIb, and IIIc. This sequence has recently been revised in Archaeological Report (10) published by English Heritage. The earliest portion of the complex dates to approximately 2950-2900 BCE (Middle Neolithic). It is comprised a circular bank, ditch, and counterscarp bank of about 330 feet (100 metres) in diameter. Just inside the earth bank is a circle of the 56 Aubrey holes that held wooden posts.
After 2900 BCE and for approximately the next 500 years (until 2400 BCE), post holes indicate timber settings in the centre of the monument and at the north-eastern entrance. The Aubrey Holes no longer held posts but were partially filled, some with cremation deposits added to the fill. The numerous post holes indicate timber structures but no clear patterns or configurations are discernible that would suggest their shape, form, or function.
Between 2550-1600 BCE the monument underwent a complicated sequence of settings of large stones. The first stone setting comprised a series of Bluestones placed in what are known as the Q and R Holes (sub-phase 3i). These were subsequently dismantled and a circle of Sarsens and a horseshoe-shaped arrangement of Trilithons erected (sub-phase 3ii). The Sarsen Circle, about 108 feet (33 metres) in diameter, was originally comprised of 30 neatly trimmed upright sandstone blocks of which only 17 are now standing. The stones are evenly spaced approximately 1. 0 to 1. 4 metres apart, and stand on average 13 feet (4 metres) above the ground. They are about 6. 5 feet (2 metres) wide and 3 feet (1 metre) thick and taper towards the top. They originally supported sarsen lintels forming a continuous circle around the top. Each lintel block has been shaped to the curve of the circle. The average length of the rectangular lintels is 3. 2 metres (10 6). The lintels were fitted end-to end using tongue-and-groove joints, and fitted on top of the standing sarsen with mortice and tenon joints. The Sarsen Circle with its lintels is perhaps the most remarkable feature of Stonehenge in terms of design, precision stonework, and engineering. Sarsen stones are hard-grained sandstone with a silaceous cement. They were probably brought to the site from the Marlborough Downs, about 30 kilometres to the north of Stonehenge.
The Trilithons are ten upright stones arranged as five freestanding pairs each with a single horizontal lintel. They were erected within the Sarsen Circle in the form of a horseshoe with the open side facing north-east towards the main ...

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Lacy, Norris J, ed., The Arthurian Encyclopedia, New York, Peter Bedrick Books, 1986

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