trilithon


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trilithon

Two upright monoliths spanned by a third, as at Stonehenge.
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How many trilithons are standing at Stonehenge in Wiltshire?
The single surviving upright stone of the Great Trilithon, for example, was displaced some half a metre south-west when straightened in 1901, a fact confirmed by the engineer William Gowland's own excavation drawing but overlooked for generations.
Now television attempts an answer by recreating the Great Trilithon at Stonehenge using only the tools of the time.
Five stone trilithon archways are set in a V-shape, and inside sits a horseshoe pattern of 19 bluestones, dragged all the way from Wales.
Picture: Peter Bolter As a child, I would picnic with my parents on a fallen bluestone at Stonehenge: in those days the henge was not cordoned off and anyone could wander round the great trilithons.
Though many readers may be unaware that modest or midsized dolmens sharing this shape and dating from the Neolithic Period still dot the British and French countrysides, the reference to pi readily conjures an image of the monumental trilithons of Stonehenge, the best-known Stone-Age Celtic site of the world.
The albumen print (above) titled Trilithons B and C from the south-west, Stonehenge was taken by a nameless Ordnance Survey photographer, c.
The Stonehenge in his picture is a jumble of fallen and collapsing stones with few of the trilithons - two uprights and a lintel - still intact.
These cultures, which erected the huge trilithons that marked the lunar and the solar standstill positions at the horizon, must have been highly stratified, with specialized groups each assigned their own role in the project.
Recent radiocarbon dates from Stonehenge, though, show that the sequence of its three megalithic phases was: (1) on or before 2700 BCE, the first bluestone setting was erected; (2) the bluestones were removed from the Q and R Holes and the imposing sarsen lintelled circle and trilithons were constructed around 2500 BCE; (3) finally, about 2250 BCE, the bluestones were restored as a circle and horseshoe inside the sarsens.
The word is actually derived from an early English word meaning 'hanging' in the sense 'suspended', as with 'hanging gardens', 'hangers' -- copses on the steep sides of Wiltshire's downs -- and the 'hanging' lintels across the uprights forming the trilithons so uniquely characteristic of Stonehenge.