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The Most Interesting Article You Will Ever Read About Granite

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A type of rock forged from magma, granite has been used in construction for over 4,000 years. The ancient Egyptians used granite in their pyramids, and the Easter Island Moai head statues and many Hindu temples in India were built with granite also, mostly because of its resistance to erosion and durable structure. It’s no surprise that some of these pyramids and temples have survived to this day. What is surprising is that these structures were built in the first place, considering how heavy some of the pieces are. Below are a few of these constructions that have made it through the years and continue to confound researchers.

Stonehenge

 

Though it’s a subject of debate among archeologists, it is believed by many that Stonehenge, a mysterious structure consisting of giant rock slabs arranged in a circular pattern, was erected as early as 3000 BC. In Arthurian legend, the wizard Merlin erected the monument in honor of 3,000 nobles who were slain in battle with the Saxons. Other theories include Druids and aliens from outer space. There is no consensus on the origins of Stonehenge, but the discovery of cremated remains at the site suggests that it might have been a burial ground, according to researchers with the Stonehenge Riverside Project.

Some interesting facts about Stonehenge:

  • It’s estimated that over 30 million hours of work went into building Stonehenge
  • In the 1900s Stonehenge became a religious destination for neo-pagans and neo-druids who were widely ridiculed for dressing up in white robes and fake beards.
  • There are almost 1,000 stone rings like Stonehenge in Britain, but Stonehenge is by far the most recognized one.

 

Georgia Guidestones


 

Sometimes called the American Stonehenge, the Georgia Guidestones also have mysterious origins in that no one knows for sure who commissioned the lengthy and costly project – except for one man. Wyatt Martin, president of the Granite City Bank, is purportedly the only living person to have met R.C. Christian, the alias of the man who commissioned this massive structure and asked to remain anonymous forever. After paying for the project and the land, Christian reportedly told Martin, “You’ll never see me again,” and walked out without even a handshake. One theory is that this man was Ted Turner.

The Georgia Guidestones comprise five enormous slabs of granite that have instructions such as “guide reproduction wisely” and “improving fitness and diversity” engraved in several languages, instructions that suggest the guidestones are intended to guide survivors of some kind of apocalypse. To give you an idea of the scope of this project, consider that each slab of granite weights 20 tons, and the slabs are held together by a 12-ton stone on top. By contrast, granite countertops weigh between 145 and 165 lbs.

  • According to a nearby explanatory tablet, a time capsule may have been buried underneath, but the dates for when the time capsule would have been buried and should be retrieved are missing on the tablet, so we’re not sure if it was even buried in the first place.
  • There is a slot cut in the middle of one of the stones that aligns with the positions of the sun at the solstices and equinox to indicate when noon is and what day it is.
  • Three years ago the Georgia Guidestones were defaced with graffiti slogans such as “Death to the new world order,” leading the county to install surveillance cameras.

Amazonian Stonehenge


 

Believed to be up 2,000 years old, this arrangement of granite rocks can be found in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on a grassy knoll. The fascinating thing about this Stonehenge is that one of the blocks is aligned with the winter solstice, and this changes anthropologists’ ideas of how sophisticated the indigenous Indian populations there were.

  • Anthropologists believe that the Amazonians used the moon calendar to measure crop cycles and guide farming.
  • Many of the stones weigh several tons, and they are arranged upright and evenly spaced.
  • The way the stones are laid out (in the shape of a crown) suggests that this edifice could have been a temple, in addition to or instead of an astronomical observatory.

It’s amazing that these granite structures have lasted so long, but what they represent is even more incredible. We may never know for sure what the real purposes of all these Stonehenges were, but we can deduce from their existence that the civilizations that built the ancient ones were more resourceful and sophisticated than once believed. From the physical and mechanical requirements of arranging these structures to the mental acumen to understand how to use them to study the sky, these superstructures are truly a window, albeit a foggy window, into past civilizations.

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  • Alexandra Edwards

    Very interesting article. I love reading about such things, so thank you. Just a small correction though, the moai statues of Easter Island are made of volcanic tuff, a stone much “softer” and porous than granite and they were carved with basalt tools.

  • colin shearing

    In fact there is no granite at Stonehenge
    the largest stones are called Sarsens and are a form of Sandstone and the smaller Bluestones are dolerite,( basalt) ryolite and volcanic tuff.
    Oops!
    However most Egyptian temples are made from granite!

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    I think the most interesting thing I’ve read about granite is that is created when organic compounds are mixed with magma and is therefore a crucial building block in the evolution of life on earth.

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/the-most-interesting-article-you-will/page-2/ Karen Furlow

    The most interesting article about granite to me is the unbelievably huge monolith of granite that is in Stone Mountain (because of the granite mountain), Georgia. Fascinating story of the history and the carving started by the same fellow that carved Mount Rushmore years later. Fun to visit and fun to learn about!!

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/the-most-interesting-article-you-will/page-2/ Karen Furlow

    Volcanic tuff floats, too, Alexandra. So so heavy, but floats!