Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Britain's Scattered Heritage": Lost Monolith

Stonehenge is one of the iconic prehistoric monuments for British prehistory, and attracted interest even in the Middle Ages. It became well known on the continent through the writings of antiquaries such as Camden, Inigo Jones and Jonathan Oldbuck and also attracted trophy hunters who over the years picked over the monument for pieces that could be taken away as trophies under the pretext that they would be accessible to the masses that were unable to visit the remote wastelands of Salisbury Plain themselves. In the period when Britain was ruled by foreign kings, William III (and to a lesser extent under the Hanoverians) many British antiquities were sent as gifts to foreign cabinets of curiosities. Here is one of the bluestones re-erected in the courtyard of the Dresden Zwinger, a gift from William III to Augustus III the Strong, Elector of Saxony in 1698. The blustones at Stonehenge were much smaller than the sarsens and very few of them now remain on the site.

Photo: Visit the UK

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