Stonehenge with Julian Richards at MAYA YAC
In October 2017, members of our MAYA YAC in Somerset were revisited by Julian Richards from TV’s “Meet the Ancestors”. Club leader Liz Caldwell explained what they got up to...
Julian ran our Indoor Dig session last year where we excavated and built a Bronze Age roundhouse, indoors! This time we built... Stonehenge! Julian is one of the country’s leading experts on Stonehenge and so it was a real treat to have him run this session.
Julian started with a PowerPoint presentation about Stonehenge and encouraged the MAYANS to think about how the monument was built and how the stones were moved over such long distances, especially the bluestones which came from the Preseli Mountains in Wales.
After this we split up into two groups, one task was to try and move a very heavy stone slab which Julian had brought from his garden. The other group was to build a model of Stonehenge, with the help of Julian’s Stonehenge Pop-Up book!
The stone-movers first tried to drag the stone with a rope Julian had tied around it… which was really hard work! We then used levers to move the stone onto a wooden sledge which made the stone much easier to pull. Finally, we experimented with putting wooden rollers under the sledge. This meant that even the smallest of our MAYANS could drag it along easily!
Building Stonehenge (but on a slightly smaller scale...)
Building Stonehenge was quite tricky to start with! Julian had brought along lots of specially cut pieces of wood to represent all the different stones. Once we’d figured out which bits of wood represented which stones and sorted them all out into different sizes, we could start building the monument. The trickiest part was making sure all the lintels on the outer circle of sarsens linked together in one continuous circle.
After a break for squash and biscuits, the groups swapped over so everyone could have a go at both activities. At the end of the session Julian gathered us around the model of Stonehenge to think about the reasons why it might have been built. A megalithic-sized "Thank You" to Julian for running such a fantastic session for us!
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