| 7 July 2003
Stonehenge: an ancient sex simbol?
Stonehenge's purpose has always remained a mystery, but now a University of British Columbia researcher has announced he has uncovered its true meaning: it is a giant fertility symbol, constructed in the shape of the female sexual organ.
"There was a concept in Neolithic times of a great goddess or Earth Mother," says Anthony Perks, a gynaecologist who decided to investigate the idea that the circles could have symbolic anatomical links. "Stonehenge could represent the opening by which the Earth Mother gave birth to the plants and animals on which ancient people so depended."
According to Perks's analysis, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine , the critical events in the lives of the builders of Stonehenge were births and deaths in their families and community. But there is no evidence of any burials near Stonehenge, Perks adds. "There is little sign of death; there are no tombs, because Stonehenge was a place of life and birth, not death".
Evidence that the monument was dominated by ideas about creation and regeneration has been overlooked until now, says Perks. He claimed there is a strong similarity between Stonehenge seen from above and the anatomy of the female sexual organ. The most important concern is the central empty area: "This area is empty because it represents the opening to the world, the birth canal," says Perks. Stonehenge was therefore constructed to honour the Earth Mother for "giving both life and livelihood". Stonehenge's alignment with various astronomical events could fit with notions of an Earth Mother partnered with a Sun Father, says Perks.
It is intriguing theory, though it has failed to impress experts. David Miles, chief archaeologist for English Heritage, said Perks's theory, although interesting, was essentially untestable. "You can come up with just about any idea to explain a structure like Stonehenge if you stare at it for long enough. And if Stonehenge was built so that it looked like a female sexual organ when viewed from above, how were people supposed to see that? As far as we have been able to tell, they didn't have hot-air balloons in prehistoric times".
"The archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes once said that every age gets the Stonehenge it deserves," added Miles. "For example, in the 1960s, at the dawn of the computing era, researchers argued that you could use Stonehenge as a giant calculating machine. Later, in the more mystical New Age, it was argued that the monument was really a spaceport for aliens, while, in the Middle Ages, it was said Stonehenge was built by giants. By those standards, this latest idea seems to say something quite odd about the twentyfirst century."
Source: The Observer (6 July 2003)
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