Google+

BBC Culture

The Culture Show

The mystery of Stonehenge

The unique, strange monument has attracted revellers – and struggle – for centuries. But we still don’t know what it is. Alastair Sooke takes a closer look.

Stonehenge is a unique prehistoric monument aligned with the movements of the sun.

Set in a part of England that is an ancient, spiritual landscape, the temple has been a place of pilgrimage across the millennia – and still is – with over a million visitors each year. But away from the hordes of stampeding tourists, there is another side to Stonehenge.

In this clip, Alastair Sooke attends the pagan celebrations for the Autumn Equinox. As dawn breaks, he witnesses a diverse group of worshippers who transform the set of mystical stones into a ‘living monument’ once more.

Sooke participates in the spiritual rituals and meets with Rollo Maughfling – the Arch Druid of Glastonbury and Stonehenge  – who leads the proceedings. Maughfling explains that the stones’ movement in time with drumbeats inspired its folklore name: “Giant’s Dance”.

If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.