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Dressing The Stones
Raising The Foreign Stones
Salisbury Plain
Stonehenge
Stonehenge Summarised Useful Facts For The Attention Of Visitors
Tenons And Mortices
The Barrows Of Salisbury Plain
The Building Of Stonehenge
The Druid Question
The Earthwork
The Foreign Stones
The Hele Stone Or Friar's Heel
The Legend Of The Friar's Heel
The Lithology Of Stonehenge
The Men Of The Barrows
The Process Of Erection
The Round Barrows
The Slaughtering Stone
The Stones Without The Circle
The Story Of The Sarsens
Valedictory
What Was Stonehenge?
When Was Stonehenge Erected?



The Slaughtering Stone








In all matters of archæology it is constantly found that certain
questions are better left in abeyance, or bequeathed to a coming
generation for solution. The Slaughtering Stone appears to be an
admirable example of this class. Just within the area enclosed by the
earthwork circle, lies a prostrate Sarsen Stone, to which this name
has been given. The idea of its having been used as a place of
slaughter for the victim intended for sacrifice in the Temple of
Stonehenge, seems to rest upon a very bare foundation. It is probably
a picturesque piece of nomenclature devised by certain bygone
antiquaries to whom Stonehenge was a Druidical monument, and who,
therefore, having the idea of human sacrifice, and wicker figures
prominently before them, naturally jumped at the idea of providing a
slaughtering stone for the numberless human victims whom they imagined
had been slain there. Nevertheless, the stone is curious because of
the row of holes which have been worked across one corner, which
certainly is unshapely, and which would square up the stone very
nicely if it were removed along the line of these holes. The
indentations are somewhat oval, suggesting that they were made by
pecking with a sharp instrument, rather than drilled by a rotating
one, which would make a circular incision. Having recorded this,
however, there is little to add, except that Mr. Gowland, who minutely
examined the stone in 1901, is of opinion that the oval indentations
referred to are more recent than the building of Stonehenge. Had they
been contemporaneous with the erection of the Trilithons, he is
convinced that the action of the water in the holes, combined with
frost, would have caused a very much greater amount of disintegration
than exists to-day. Yet another difficulty arises. At the meeting of
the British Archæological Association at Devizes in 1880, a visit was
paid to Stonehenge, and there were, as usual at such gatherings,
papers and discussions dealing with it. Mr. William Cunnington,
F.S.A., specially put on record the fact that his grandfather, Mr. H.
Cunnington, and Sir R.C. Hoare, remembered this stone as standing
erect. Here at all events are three conflicting statements. Under
these circumstances it is well to leave the Slaughtering Stone as a
problem for posterity.





Next: The Earthwork

Previous: The Legend Of The Friar's Heel



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