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STONEHENGE REVEALED, SORT OF

Archaeologists are scratching around in the dirt at Stonehenge, that inexplicable ring of stone monoliths in England. Erected in the middle of nowhere, it was started around 5,000 years ago and took another thousand years or so to complete. Doesn't seem like anybody was in such a huge hurry to finish the thing, especially since they sort of left it to rot shortly afterwards and for us to wonder just what the heck it was for. The original builders had no written language and subsequent contributors did not see fit to add any explanatory wording on the stones, so it's anybody's guess what the place was for, and archaeologists so love to guess, and then argue with other archaeologists with different guesses and call each other idiots. It must be a fun profession, with a lot of drinking and fantasizing and the like, with the usual insults and fist fights over nothing that such activities entail.

Some say it was a Druid place of worship, although it's initial construction pre-dates the Druids. They may have adopted it in later years as a neat place to worship the sun or whatever it is Druids worship, but it wasn't their idea to build it. Some scientists say it was a giant calendar, sort of a cumbersome one at that. And of course the usual suspects insist that like Egyptian and Mayan pyramids, it was built by planet-hopping aliens. That's always a convenient explanation for stuff you can't easily figure out, which is probably why a lot of scientists think Donald Trump is an alien. So now archaeologists have discovered the presence of "blue stones," and so have declared that Stonehenge must have been a place of healing.

Blue stones? Does anything say healing like slabs of blue stone? How obvious! And here we are in the 21st century fiddling around with anti-biotics and chemotherapy when we could be rubbing ourselves on these magic blue stones to get healthy. And Stonehenge being located in England with their socialized medicine, visits to the healing blue stones of Stonehenge were probably free, which probably explains the large earthen circle surrounding the inner circle of stone monoliths. That was the waiting room! No doubt the admissions desk where the lady asked bleeding people their mother's maiden name has long since rotted away. At any rate, the place seems plenty big enough to accommodate many seekers of healing, hundreds of them.

Then somewhere in the Dark Ages people stopped going to get healed at Stonehenge when the advanced science of the barber-surgeons arose. They'd go to these guys who, presumably between haircuts, would bleed them, perform frequent amputations with filthy hacksaws and rid them of ill humors by applying boiling tar to their chests, figuring if you can somehow survive these cures you're good to go. Apparently these people weren't all that effective judging by the very short life spans of the time, the high infant mortality rate and the advent of the Black Plague which killed a third of humanity in Europe. Which is why I suppose we don't ask today's barbers to perform operations riskier than a shave and a haircut.

So Stonehenge was either a temple, an astrological calendar, an alien space port or a hospital. So they're narrowing it own. Maybe they're on the right track, maybe they're not. That's the beauty of archaeology, you can sort of make it up as you go along. And who can say you're wrong? All these things happened so long ago nobody remembers so one guess is as good as the next. The only ones who care enough to argue are other archaeologists, and no one takes them seriously but each other and their petty squabbles are quite amusing to the rest of us. So if proclaiming that Stonehenge was a healing place or that the pyramids were built by an alien race make them happy, well, who are we to take their fun away?

And just maybe I'd like to be an archaeologist for a moment and put forth a whacky theory or two. Stonehenge was a corral for Wooly Mammoths, the pyramids were built by Haliburton and the Great Wall of China was meant to be an elevated highway and they never got around to installing entrance and exit ramps when they realized that cars hadn't been invented yet. Anybody have any solid proof that I'm wrong? Bingo! No, they don't. This archaeology business is fun. Here's some more of my learned conclusions: Dinosaurs committed mass suicide when it finally dawned on them that after 200 million years of evolution their brains were never going to get any bigger than walnuts. The Easter Island faces were carved by a deranged castaway so he'd have somebody to talk to. And finally, Atlantis was sunk when an archaeologist dug too deep of a hole and the place sprang a leak.

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