If you haven’t heard of Stonehenge, you must have been living under a rock. The circle of standing stones is one of the most famous prehistoric monuments on earth. Every year more than one million tourists visit the inimitable structure and cultural heritage attraction, located on Salisbury Plain, in Wiltshire, England. The massive stones are quite remarkable and can be seen for kilometres.
Stonehenge first started to be constructed around 3000BC, towards the end of the Neolithic Age. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986, together with 350 other monuments and henges in the area. In fact, the Stonehenge part of the site covers an area seven-and-a-half times larger than New York City’s Central Park.
The construction of the famous monument
On top of being one of the world’s most well-known ancient monuments, Stonehenge is also one of the biggest mysteries. Over the year’s theories have been widespread as to the reason behind the construction of the stone pillars and what they were used for. Speculations have included a gathering spot for religious ceremonies, a burial destination and a solar calendar for ancient astronomers.
Stonehenge is considered a masterpiece in engineering. It was built in six stages over several hundreds of years, between 3000 and 1520 BC. It is crazy to think that with only basic tools and technologies available, the Neolithic people with were able to build such an incredible structure. The circular earthwork enclosure was the first section to be constructed and raising the stones upright and placing the lintels horizontally into position.
The types of stones used to build Stonehenge
Stonehenge was built using a mixture of two types of stones: smaller bluestones and larger sarsens. Sarsen is a variety of sandstone which is naturally found scattered around the south of England, whilst bluestone derives from Wales. The total number of stones used to build Stonehenge was 83 which may not sound like that many but considering the largest stone weighed about 30 tons and many had to be transported over far distances it wouldn’t have been an easy job.
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