Stonehenge and its people: thoughts from medicine


Jan van der Crabben
by Anthony M. Perks
published on 04 June 2012

This paper considers the nature of Stonehenge and other Neolithic sites from an unusual perspective, that of medicine. At Stonehenge, the finish and pattern of the stones suggest that the trilithons represent the parents of the past, while the overall layout symbolizes Earth Mother, the Mother Goddess. Concern for this deity probably reflects the enormous infant mortality of the time; she represented birth, and the continuance of life. For this reason the circle came to represent her, since, unlike rows of stones, a circle goes on forever; there is circumstantial evidence to support this view. Therefore, the other widespread circles may also symbolize this goddess, while different sites may show her in different roles. The plan of Stonehenge suggests her in the role of Goddess of Conception and Birth, that of A vebury as Goddess of Motherhood and Nurture, and the “T -plan” of West Kennett shows her ready to give rebirth to her people. The underlying principle may be that the circle represents the goddess, the female, and hope for the continuance of life. As so much at Stonehenge, these suggestions cannot be proven; however, they are based on direct observations on the stones, as seen today, and are worth consideration.

Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Vol.96:2 (2003)

Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.

Written by Anthony M. Perks, linked by Jan van der Crabben, published 04 June 2012. Source URL:

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APA Style

Perks, A. M. (2012, June 04). Stonehenge and its people: thoughts from medicine. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Perks, Anthony M. "Stonehenge and its people: thoughts from medicine." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified June 04, 2012.

MLA Style

Perks, Anthony M. "Stonehenge and its people: thoughts from medicine." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 04 Jun 2012. Web. 16 Feb 2019.

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