If you go to Stonehenge today, you'll notice that many of the massive stones are still standing tall in a circle pattern. Stonehenge was built 4,000 years ago and consisted of an outer circle of 30 standing stones known as "sarsens" that ringed five massive stone arches in a horseshoe configuration. The inner area contained three rows of monoliths with each row extending around 20 feet high - making the entire structure about 150 feet high.
In addition to being a fascinating archaeological site, Stonehenge also serves as a majestic backdrop for those lucky enough to visit during spring or summer when thousands of blue-bells (Maianthemum) color the area surrounding the monument.
The origin of the name "Stonehenge" is unknown but it probably has something to do with the large number of rocks used in its construction. There are also stories told about a real-life King Arthur who is said to have been buried near the monument but this location is now under water so it can't be confirmed.
Anyone who visits Stonehenge should take time to walk around the site and absorb its immense size. It's not easy to feel small when standing among objects that were four thousand years old!
And if you go in the spring or summer, make sure to check out the blue-bells too!
Stonehenge is most known for the massive "sarsens" in its main circle, although these massive stones were added centuries after the monument was constructed. According to recent study, the sarsens are local sandstone rocks that were moved within a few kilometres to the Neolithic monument around 4,500 years ago. However, it is likely that not all of them were transported there; some may even be found nearby on Salisbury Plain.
The original purpose of Stonehenge remains a mystery due to its apparent uniqueness. It has been suggested that the monument might have been used as a burial site, but this idea has been largely discredited by modern archaeologists. Some believe that it was probably just another important Neolithic site like many others across Europe at the time.
Until recently, scholars believed that Stonehenge consisted of only three circles of posts with earth banks and ditches surrounding them. Recent research has shown that there were actually four outer circles and one inner circle of posts, making a total of five circles. This new information comes from excavations conducted in the 1920s when parts of the site was damaged by farmers who were using the land for livestock grazing. The farmers never realized that they had come upon an important prehistoric site, so they just moved some of the stones to repair their fields.
Scientists have also discovered that some of the posts at Stonehenge were carved from single trees nearly 2 metres in diameter.
Stonehenge is made up of concentric rings and semi-circles of earthen ditches and mounds, standing timbers (which have already deteriorated), and upright carved stones. Some stones stood alone, while others were supported by lintels. The largest stone in the monument is called "Ardorleis", which means "goddess" in Welsh.
There are three main phases in the construction of Stonehenge: early, middle, and late. Early Stone Age people erected the first version of the monument around 3000 B.C. It was about 50 feet high and included about 30 large stones. The middle phase began about 2500 B.C. and brought another 20 large stones to the site. The final version of the monument was built between 1000 and 500 B.C. and added another 15 large stones to its base.
In addition to these main phases, there are also several smaller ones within these periods. For example, some archaeologists think that there may have been a temporary shelter built near the end of the early phase to hold the stones before they were put in place. There is evidence that some of the stones were moved to allow for better viewing or even as a ceremonial entranceway into the center of the circle.
Stonehenge is a massive man-made circle of standing stones located on England's Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. It's one of the world's most famous ancient structures, built by our forefathers over hundreds of years... It's also one of the world's greatest mysteries!
Some people believe it's a religious site while others think it was used for royal burial grounds or even as a giant telescope. There's also some evidence that points to it being used as a calendar - do check out this article for more info: http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-evolution-history/stonehenge-calendar-system-2000115-2.
There are many questions about Stonehenge that remain unanswered today. Did someone build it? If so, who? What were they trying to tell us with its design? Why are there so many gaps between some of the stones? Why would you put the huge effort into building such a large structure and not use it?
The only thing we know for sure is that it was built around 3000 BC and it's estimated that around 20,000 tons of rock had to be moved to construct it. That's almost half a million pounds worth of stone!
Sadly, no one knows who built it, why they built it, or how long it stood before being abandoned.