This incredible prehistoric monument is located in Wiltshire, England, about 2 miles west of Amesbury and 8 miles north of Salisbury. It is perhaps one of the most famous monuments on our planet that according to historians begun as a simple earthwork enclosure built in several stages around five thousand years ago and took Neolithic builders an estimated 1,500 years to erect.
Here we bring you some of the facts about this ancient British monument:
- Archaeologists believe it was built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Radiocarbon dating in 2008 suggested that the first stones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC.
- The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC.
- Archaeological evidence found by the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2008 indicates that Stonehenge could have been a burial ground from its earliest beginnings.
- In about 2500 BC the stones were set up in the centre of the monument.
- According to researchers two types of stone are used at Stonehenge – the larger sarsens and the smaller ‘bluestones’.
- It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986.
- According to history, in 1620, George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, dug a large hole in the ground located at the center of Stonehenge looking for buried treasure.
- Stonehenge’s builders hoisted an estimated 80 non-indigenous bluestones incredible right?, 43 of which remain today, into standing positions and placed them in either a horseshoe or circular formation.
- Stonehenge’s sarsens, of which the largest weighs more than 40 tons and rises 24 feet, were likely sourced from quarries 25 miles north of Salisbury Plain. That took some time to transport, right?
- According to one longstanding theory, Stonehenge’s builders fashioned sledges and rollers out of tree trunks to lug the bluestones from the Preseli Hills.
- According to the 12th-century writer Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose tale of King Arthur and mythical account of English history were considered factual well into the Middle Ages, Stonehenge is the handiwork of the wizard Merlin.
- Many modern historians and archaeologists now agree that several distinct tribes of people contributed to Stonehenge, each undertaking a different phase of its construction.
- Many historians agree that Stonehenge was a place of great importance for over 1,000 years, but we may never know what attracted early Britons to Salisbury Plain and inspired them to continue developing this incredible monument.
- In the 1960s, the astronomer Gerald Hawkins suggested that the cluster of megalithic stones operated as an astronomical calendar, with different points corresponding to astrological phenomena such as solstices, equinoxes and eclipses.
- Stonehenge draws between 800,000 and 1,000,000 tourists a year, many of whom also visit the region’s numerous other Neolithic and Bronze Age marvels, it is one of the top tourist destinations in the UK.
History.com / http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/
Image Credit: NationalGeographic