chapter  9
26 Pages

STONEHENGE IN DECLINE

After a time of uncertainties, we come to a firmly dated phase, when ragged rings of pits known as Y and Z holes were added round the outside of the sarsen monument as an afterthought. This phase, Stonehenge IIId, is dated to around 1500 BC.1 Two hundred years before the golden age of Mycenae, yet Stonehenge was already in decline. It stood now in an open, cleared landscape with apparently unfenced pasture immediately round it: further off were clusters of small fenced fields marking the locations of farmsteads and villages. Here and there, long winding ditches stretched across the plain to mark the ranch boundaries; one of these approaching from the west curved slightly to avoid Stonehenge: it also avoided crossing the initial, straight stretch of the Avenue. Stonehenge, then, was still respected.