The Beaker People, partially credited with the building with the second stage of Stonehenge, are late Stone Age people who are thought to have emerged around 2200 BC. They were so named by archaeologists because of the brightly colored, geometrically patterned earthenware drinking vessels often found in their graves. It is thought they made these vessels for over five centuries.
They might have been immigrants who crossed the North Sea, or local people who had developed new ideas and ways of doing things.
It is speculated that these people were farmers, living in huts grouped in small villages.
The Beaker People radically changed Stonehenge by constructing two concentric but incomplete circles at its center. The blue stones which composed these circles were once thought to have been transported from the Preseli mountains in southern Wales, over 200 miles away. But upon the discovery of a similar stone in a nearby earthen barrow the theory emerged that the huge stones might have been deposited by glaciers in the area.
The changes which the Beaker People made at Stonehenge suggest that they were sun worshippers. It appears they made the monument into a temple of the sun, rather than the moon. In their burial mounds, or barrows, were found thin gold discs incised with simple sun-like motifs.
Another suggestion that the Beaker People worshipped the sun is that they changed the main axis of the henge by throwing 25 feet of the bank back into the ditch. This widened the northeast entrance to the right. This caused an adjustment in the axis from 46 degrees to 50 degrees from the north/south line. Then the middle of the wider entrance was now in alignment with the sunrise of the summer solstice.
The Beaker People also included a rectangle around the original standing Four Stations, which are thought to have been erected during the building of the first stage of Stonehenge, with the stones marking its corners. Lines drawn through the short sides of the rectangle seem to indicate the midsummer sunrise, while lines through the long side point to the most northerly position of the setting of the moon.
A diagonal running from east-southeast to west-northwest pointed to the sunset on May Day, the Celtic festival of Beltine, the “Shining One.” (See Druidism.)
The Beaker People are thought to have also built Avebury. A.G.H.