Store Banner Desktop

Store Banner Mobile


Elevated Origins: Radical new theory suggests Stonehenge was base of an above-ground celestial altar

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The iconic profile of the world renowned prehistoric monument Stonehenge, found in Wiltshire, England, is unmistakable. The hewed standing stones rise up out of the earth in a testimony to ancient ideals, technology, and spirituality. One man believes that with our modern view we’re missing the point of Stonehenge, and to fully understand the purpose and use of it, we must think as our ancient ancestors did.

Art critic, historian and former curator Julian Spalding is proposing that the Stonehenge we know today may have been merely the support for a series of elevated wooden platforms. These platforms could have been used for spiritual ceremonies, elevating religious leaders off the ground - bringing humans closer to the heavens and the gods.

Spalding explains to The Guardian, “In early times, no spiritual ceremonies would have been performed on the ground. The Pharaoh of Egypt and the Emperor of China were always carried – as the Pope used to be. The feet of holy people were not allowed to touch the ground. We’ve been looking at Stonehenge from a modern, earth-bound perspective.”

No physical evidence has been found to back up the historian’s claim.

The exact purpose of Stonehenge is not known, but some researchers believe it was built as an ancient calendar to mark seasons and the movements of the sun and moon. Others say it was a place of healing, or dying, or perhaps a place of worship.


Spalding’s new theory suggesting that Stonehenge, built between 3000 and 2000 B.C., could have been an “ancient Mecca on stilts,” is tantalizing. It draws links between other sky-reaching ancient monuments around the globe, such as pyramids found in Egypt and Central America, and the three-tiered circular altar Temple of Heaven in China.

Majestic pyramids reach to great heights in Egypt.

Majestic pyramids reach to great heights in Egypt. Anthony Doudt/Flickr

Temple of Heaven. The three-tiered monument rises into the sky, symbolizing a relationship between heaven and earth.

Temple of Heaven. The three-tiered monument rises into the sky, symbolizing a relationship between heaven and earth. John Coppi, CSIRO / Wikimedia Commons

Spalding believes the Stonehenge site might have sported a “raised altar reached via ramps or stairs where thousands of prehistoric people might have worshiped in a more elevated style,” reports The Washington Post.

Computer rendering of the overall site of Stonehenge and surrounds.

Computer rendering of the overall site of Stonehenge and surrounds. Public Domain

There is some skepticism over the new theory. Oxford University archaeology emeritus professor Sir Barry Cunliffe tells The Guardian, “He could be right, but I know of no evidence to support it.”

Still others feel the idea might be plausible.

Aubrey Burl, an archaeologist and authority of prehistoric stone circles, says "There could be something in it. There is a possibility, of course. Anything new and worthwhile about Stonehenge is well worth looking into, but with care and consideration.”

The past years have brought many new discoveries at Stonehenge and Salisbury Plain, quickly changing the way researchers understand the site and the ancient people who lived there.

In 2014 archaeologists revealed the results of a four-year-long project to map the hidden landscape beneath the surface of the Stonehenge environs, and what they found is nothing short of amazing. Through their high-tech devices they found a landscape teeming with burial mounds, chapels, shrines, pits, and other structures, which had never been seen before, including another massive megalithic monument composed of 60 giant stones stretched out along a 330-meter long c-shaped enclosure.

According to The Independent, the discovery dramatically altered the prevailing view of Stonehenge as the primary site in the landscape. Instead it presented the Salisbury Plain as an active religious center with more than 60 key locations where ancient peoples could carry out sacred rituals and fulfil their religious obligations.

Some of the newly-discovered monuments found by high-tech radars in the Stonehenge landscape.

Some of the newly-discovered monuments found by high-tech radars in the Stonehenge landscape. Credit: University of Birmingham

Spalding’s theories can be found in his new book “Realisation” which “explores our ancestors’ understanding of the world, offering new explanations of iconic works of art and monuments,” writes The Guardian.

As further investigations are done across Salisbury Plain and at the famous Stonehenge itself, perhaps more information will come to light that supports Spalding’s theory. In the meantime, the public will flock to Stonehenge to enjoy the beauty of the ancient site and the mystery that remains thousands of years after it was created.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Spalding concludes, “I think they welcome the idea that there’s a very fresh way of looking at this remarkable place.”

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England. 2014.

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England. 2014. Diego Delso, Wikimedia Commons, License CC-BY-SA 3.0

Featured Image:  Mysterious Stonehenge. Was it part of a more elaborate elevated altar? Howard Ignatius/Flickr

By Liz Leafloor 



Barry Sears's picture

The interpretation of the zodiac of Denderah is perhaps a little lost. It is obvious when reading the Celestial zodiac that the picture of Nut refers to the Celestial zodiac, but most importantly the circular zodiac is a record of the World zones and animal observations. This zodiac rotates in the opposite direction to the Celestial zodiac of Nut as it is a record of the twelve zones of the Earth and observations of the animals and there anatomical connection. One major factor with this circular World zodiac is the noted position of Cancer. This is the connection of Stonehenge and it is positioned more Northern to the other equatorial points. 

To see the twelve connections between the Celestial zodiac and the twelve Earth zodiac points and to see how the design of Stonehenge matches the design of Cancer please visit the following site;-     (download from here)

Our ancient teachers told us, to interpret the order of the Celestial configuration you must study life on Earth, the manifestation of these Celestial energies.


In the book, Seed of Knowledge, Stone of Plenty, the author argues that Stonehenge and similar "mound" sites that emit (?) a particular electromagnetism could be used to express latent genes in seeds providing for hardier, more abundant and larger crops. People would visit the sites in order to treat their seeds. I have yet to read the book, but I heard an interview with the author, John Burke, on the podcast The Cosmic Influence.

Barry Sears's picture

The zodiac was based on observations of the World and also the correlation to the human body. Each sign represents the anatomy connection. Divide the World around the equator into the twelve parts and you will discover our ancient ones communicated globally and plotted the twelve body parts depicting the World as a body which connected to our bodies and the Celestial body. 

Start at the lungs of Leo this is Egypt and the Sphinx, beside this the region recently announced and confirmed as Virgo by the Virgin Mary and Mr Christ, the next region is the mid point denoted as the scales and connects to the region of the World where the Buddha resides. In the other direction next to Leo is the Cancer sign which is exactly as recorded by Stonehenge.

Discover the World body as our ancient ones recorded. This is indicated on the gallery pictures of the zodiac.

Pretty sure that Stonehenge, like the other earth formations in the area, was a land-based training ground for ocean navigation. The raised ditches had water in them, functioning as a water level so that the soil piled up on both sides could be made very level and flat. Then anyone standing eye height to the top of that soil would have an artificial horizon from which to properly gauge celestial azimuth. There are similar earth formations that are quite long, two parallel ditch/mounds on both sides of a flat "raceway" and a ship could be simulated traveling some distance along it in order to practice calculating bearing / heading, position, speed, etc. This article explains it better than I can:

that could be used to pile up soul on both

Fantastic !!! Well I think it was a giant jelly mould No jelly has ever been made without a mould. I am a software engineer who supports Liverpool football (soccer) club and am a former Cub Scout So I'm as qualified to guess as Julian Spalding Amazingly there's no physical evidence to back up my preposterous claim so we are neck and neck


Liz Leafloor is former Art Director for Ancient Origins Magazine. She has a background as an Editor, Writer, and Graphic Designer. Having worked in news and online media for years, Liz covers exciting and interesting topics like ancient myth, history,... Read More

Next article