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One of the greatest mysteries the world has ever known.
One of the greatest monuments of our ancestors.
A calendar?
A temple?
                              Or both? 

On the Salisbury Plain in southern England, a ring of gargantuan stones rises out of the flat earth, stark and impressive.  Some of the stones rise over seven meters into the air, standing like grim sentries keeping watch over the center of the circle.  Rings and horseshoes of smaller stones encircle the sacred clearing in the center, where the Altar Stone sits.  The grass moves quietly in the wind, waving against the ancient stones.  The stones stand quietly, enduring.

Thousands of years ago, before the invention of the wheel, people dragged enormous stones to southern England and erected them, slowly building the stone monument we call Stonehenge.

"Here oft, when Evening sheds her twilight ray,
And gilds with fainter beam departing day,
With breathless gaze, and cheek with terror pale,
The lingering shepherd startles at the tale,
How, at deep midnight, by the moon's chill glance,
Unearthly forms prolong the viewless dance;
While on each whisp'ring breeze that murmurs by,
His busied fancy hears the hollow sigh."

                                                        from "Stonehenge" by Thomas Stokes Salmon, 1823


Stonehenge has fascinated people for time immemorial.  It has eluded explanation throughout its long lifetime, and to this day many things remain misunderstood and unexplained about it.
However, some progress has been made towards understanding it . . .
Here, then, are two original essays which examine the nature of this grand construction:

Essay 1  /\  Essay 2

Also, if you're interested in Stonehenge, try these other awesome sites:

Stonehenge Overviews:
Canadian Discovery Channel
Stonehenge: Gateway to the Realms
English Heritage

Stonehenge & Other Megalithic Sites:
Beyond Stonehenge
Mysterious Places -- Stonehenge
The Stone Circle Webring

Hey, you can even build your own (slightly smaller) Stonehenge:
Family Education Projects
NOVA Builds a Trilithon


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The Inca

Ancient cities sit high in the rugged Andes, fitted together like jigsaw puzzles.  The massive stone blocks fit together perfectly, so that a razor blade cannot pass between them.  Immense buildings perch atop the peaks of mist-shrouded mountains, immune to such petty happenings as earthquakes and weather.  The massive blocks sit still, unmoved by the cold wind, as the crystal-clear heavens rotate above them.

In the Andes of South America, a mighty empire once ruled.  Before the conquistadors came, a network of roads bound together a nation the size of the Roman Empire.  Through painstaking labor, the Inca constructed some of the most impressive architecture in the world.  Even more impressive, it was all constructed along the tops of vast mountains.


The Inca were some of the most impressive builders in the world, of both empires and cities.
They built complex series of lines into the ground around their homes, keeping track of the heavenly motions and following them.
However, looking at the sublime mastery of their constructions, it is difficult to see what daily life would have been like among the cloud-covered mountain tops, looking through the clear air at untold thousands of stars.  Their very permanence and timelessness make it hard to see the people who constructed them.

Here, then, is an original short story that captures something of the essence of the Incan people, as well as the fascination that the ancient Inca had with the heavens:

Story of the Inca

Also, if you're interested in the Inca and their culture, try looking at these sites:

The Incas

Ice Mummies:
NOVA: Ice Mummies of the Inca

NOVA Tries Inca Stonework

Essay on Incan Cosmology (by James Q. Jacobs):
Incan Cosmology

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