Stonehenge, Wiltshire

If there is ever a place on this website that needs no introduction, then Stonehenge has to be it. There has been a monument there for five thousand years. The current configuration (allowing for modern restoration and reconstruction) dates back to 1930-1600 BCE. The World Heritage site gets over a million visitors a year, but the standard visit does not allow you close enough to the stones to see any graffiti. However, a Stone Circle Access Visit, which will take place either before or after normal opening hours, lets you get in among the stones to appreciate them and the carvings on them.

The carvings date back to a long time ago. Dagger and axe head graffiti dating back to 1800BCE are on several stones. However they are only visible to the naked eye on one.

A laser scan of the stones revealed that there are 115 axe head carvings.

The stones themselves are otherwise remarkably free of carved symbols. There is the ghost of a cross high on one of the trilithons and the horizontal stone 156 has an enigmatic carving that seems to combine initials and a strange sickle carving. I must admit that the graffiti looked more phallic than agricultural, but perhaps it has been altered since original rubbings were taken.

The other main graffiti of note is one I or J WREN. This has been attributed to the great Christopher Wren, who grew up in Wiltshire. The difference from his usual signature of Chr Wren, is explained by the crossed I representing the ‘Christ’ of ‘Christopher‘. 

The rest of the graffiti is made up of names and initials of various degrees of ornamentation.

Report and pictures by Anthea Hawdon and Linda Wilson.

Near Amesbury


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