Stonehenge is a famous ancient monument found in the UK which dates back to prehistoric times and took more than 1000 years to evolve.
Many questions remain about how and why it was constructed but with more than half of the stones believed to be missing and others toppled over, finding all the information needed has proven to be a difficult task.
Located in Wilshire county of Southern England, stonehenge lies between two rivers and is approximately 2 miles away from woodhenge which is the remains of an ancient wooden circular monument built right about the same time as stonehenge.
The structure of stonehenge is approximately 100 feet in diameter and more than 24 feet tall. The original builders moved 89 stones weighing up to 4 tons each, years later heavier stones thought to weigh up to 40-45 tons were moved in.
Ancient engineers had 56 holes dug along the inner diameters bank of the stone walls which may have helped support wooden posts. Over the next few hundred years more posts were erected nearer to the center of the structure and then approximately 500 years later were replaced again but this time with stones. Not long after, around the same time, those stones were removed and replaced with even larger stones. The large standing stones seen placed in the circular setting today are sunk deep into the ground and capped with large stones lying horizontally. At one point there were also three huge tall standing stones greeting visitors at the north east entrance.
Ancient stone workers and engineers had a difficult job working with the massive stones. Each and every stone was uniquely crafted and carved with interlocking joints by way of uprights and lintels. It was composed of two distinct types of rock, one type of rock was sarsen which is an extremely tough sandstone and the other type of rock were called blue stones. These particular blue stones are made of spotted dolerite which is a volcanic rock so rare it’s only found in one known location which is 240 miles west of stonehenge in the Preseli Mountains of South Wales. Stonehenge was an architectural and engineering triumph.
It’s mysterious even today, most archeologist agree that there were more than just the one structure we see today built at the site over the years. Some archeologists have suggested that each pair of the large standing stones represent a male and female form while others say the tall stones were grave markers.
Was it created to warship the sun, stars, moon, burials, was it a giant clock, something more sinister or all the above? Many archeologist want to solve the mystery of how and why Stonehenge was built. The best guess seems to be that it was built as some sort of monument for the dead since it’s in one of the most congested burial grounds from it’s time of around 5,100+ years ago. The burial area around stonehenge covers approximately 12 square miles and is one of Britain’s largest ancient burial grounds today. Evidence from large amounts of pig bones found near stonehenge suggests there were large feasts and pigs were known to have been very plentiful. Could these feasts have been held in honor of the dead? Most feasts back then were commonly held in the fall so the owner of the pig or cow didn’t have to spare the expense of feeding the animal through the winter.
Stonehenge is found in the centre of a huge complex of monuments and near a few hundred burial mounds which date back to sometime between the Bronze and Neolithic ages.
Here are a few interesting facts about Stonehenge which might make you want to visit this great monument.
- How old is Stonehenge? Radiocarbon dating measured it to an age of about 5,100 years old with construction beginning in 3100 B.C, 300 years before the Egyptians are thought to have built the first pyramids.
- The Olympic torch was ran almost 8,000 miles in 2012. The torch is an Olympic symbol. On July 12, 2012 at sunrise during the torches 2012 route, Gold Medalist ex-olympian Michael Johnson (one of the worlds greatest athletes ever) ran the torch around Stonehenge before passing it off to another athlete. Michael Johnson told reporters “it was amazing, It was a great experience to carry the torch around the iconic Stonehenge”
- Stonehenge can be found to the SW of London at about 137 km from it.
- It isn’t documented as a known archaeological fact right now who exactly the builders of Stonehenge are. Whoever erected it is suspected to have had a highly sophisticated level of mathematics such as geometry as well as a deep knowledge of astrology. Some of the theories which are discussed include Aliens, the Windmill Hill People, druids and the Greeks. Until recently, the closest known associates to stonehenge were believed to be the druids which were priests of the ancient Britons but carbon dating suggests stonehenge was completed around 1500 years before the druids were in the region. Today it’s thought that the first people to have most likely started work on stonehenge were the Neolithic Agrarians also known as the Windmill Hill People.
- In 1986, Stonehenge became a World Heritage Site of UNESCO which is protected as an ancient monument. English Heritage are the ones which manage it and the rights of ownership of the monument is held by the British Crown.
- Stonehenge is considered by many archeologists and astrologists as a flawless design from a geometrical and mathematical point of view. It’s design was extremely precise in it’s day, marking the alignment of the moon and the sun as well as certain weather periods.
- The stones used in the construction vary from a couple of tons on up to over 40 tons. They were brought from distances which varied between a couple of miles and two hundred and forty miles away.
- In total, over 900 stone rings can be found in the British Isles. Stonehenge is the most known and the most impressive but it’s not the only one.
- It’s likely that thousands of people would have been needed to work on the construction of Stonehenge over the years and that it would have taken over a million man hours of labor to complete.
- Check back soon for more interesting facts about stonehenge.
- I saw the facts about Stonehenge and thought I would share this one: I am from Washington State and we have the only full size replica of Stonehenge in the world. It is located in Maryhill, WA in Klickitat County, and was built in 1929 by a business man named Sam Hill as a memorial to those who died in WWI. It was the first monument built in the US to honor those who died in WWI. Sam Hill was also responsible for building the Peace Arch which is located on the Interstate 5 US/Canada border and symbolizes the peaceful, open border relation between the two countries.
- Hi! We are four Swedish students doing a school project about Stonehenge and
- We would really like your professional thoughts on the subject.
- In our research we noticed that your webpage was mentioned several times and
- since we are supposed to establish contact with English speaking people
- regarding the project. It would therefore be very much appreciated if you could
- answer some of our questions:
- 1. How do you think the bluestones were transported from Wales to their current position
- 2. What do you think was the purpose of the monument? (Religious or practical)
- 3. How have the theories about the monument´s origin changed over the years?
- 4. Do you think the location of the monument has a relevance?
- 5. How do you think the monument was built?
- 6. Do you think that similar Scandinavian stone monuments (such as “Ale´s Stones”) have any connection to Stonehenge?