2-3-the number of stones thought to have sat across the monument's entrance path. The only stone remains from the entryway (dubbed the "slaughter stone") was originally upright. The total number of stones left at Stonehenge is 83. The number of bluestones left at Stonehenge is 43. There are also 11 sarsens and 1 sandstone boulder left at the site.
Stonehengers estimate that there original monument would have had over 200 large rocks. Today, only about 100 remain. The largest single piece is known as "the altar stone" and it weighs about 20 tons. It is set in its own niche on the edge of the arena.
About 80% of all standing stones at Stonehenge are made of Bluestone. These stones weigh between 10 and 40 tons each. They are usually about three feet high and two feet wide at the base. Some larger stones may be as much as six feet high and four feet wide at the base.
The final 20% of stones at Stonehenge are made of sandstone. These stones range in size from a few inches to more than five feet long. Many have flat surfaces which were used as tables or seats for ceremonies.
People began moving into Britain about 9500 years ago. They built their houses out of wood and left no evidence of their presence. Then about 3000 years ago people started building large monuments out of rock.
Stonehenge's initial monument was a circular earthwork enclosure erected around 3000 BC. The chalk was stacked up to form an inner and outer bank after a ditch was excavated with crude antler tools. Massive sarsen stones and smaller bluestones were elevated to make a one-of-a-kind monument. Archaeologists can tell how long ago the stones were brought to Stonehenge because their flint knives and spearheads have rusty blades where they have been exposed to air for several hundred years.
How did archaeologists find out about Stonehenge? They didn't actually see it with their own eyes - they learned about it from people who had! In 1723, George Stubbs painted a picture of a man at work on the site which is now in the British Museum. This helped scientists to date the rocks and understand some of their uses. Stubbs also gave a name to one of the main stones: "the balderston" because it resembled the shape of a Scottish axe head!
In 1820, Edward Dodwell began to excavate part of the site and found bones that were arranged in rows indicating that they came from animals killed as part to feed people living at the time. He also found stone axes with rusted blades buried in the ground next to the bones which meant that the people who built Stonehenge were using materials that were available to them.
You cannot stroll up to the stones during normal operating hours. The memorial is roped off by a low fence, so the closest you will approach to the stones is roughly 10 yards (see picture below). Outside of official admission hours, visitors can wander up to and among the stones at Stonehenge. There are no restrictions on when or why you might want to do this.
However, you should understand that you are walking across undisturbed land where ancient monuments are buried under layers of soil. You are also walking through the private property of three different landowners - the British government, the Salisbury Cathedral Trust, and the Wiltshire Council for Local Government. All three have rights over what happens to their land, and each may impose rules on visitors which they feel are necessary for their own protection or to control damage to the site.
Rules vary from organization to organization, but generally speaking you cannot enter any of the buildings, try on any of the exhibits, or use any of the equipment available at Stonehenge. Some organizations may allow you to view the site from a respectful distance via a public viewing area, but others may have specific times or conditions under which this is permitted. In some cases, especially with government-owned sites, there may be restrictions on how much soil or debris you are able to take from the site.