Stonehenge

Stonehenge in England

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monolith in Britain, a couple kilometers south of the town of Avebury.  Stonehenge is not unique-there are dozens of small and large monoliths and remains of monoliths scattered across Western Europe and Britain, but Stonehenge is the most famous as the largest and one that is most intact.

It is widely believed that the standing stones or Stonehenge was built in order to celebrate the sun (it is oriented so that the solstice sunrise shines over the heel stone and into the circle of stones) and to predict astronomical events like eclipses as the Aubrey holes (holes placed near the stones) become markers for the movements of the sun and moon.    

Stonehenge, Britain

Stonehenge was constructed in three phases over a period of over fourteen hundred years.  Stonehenge I was nothing more than a wide circle with a tall bank surrounding it with at least one break to let in the solstice sun and possibly a couple other breaks as well.  From there, it was slowly built up into the stone monolith seen today.  The stone was quarried well away from the site and brought over via river systems, or so archaeologists believe.

The process took centuries to bring Stonehenge to the appearance it has today as different groups worked on it.  The most important stone and the oldest one in the group is the heel stone which the solstice sun rises over.  The rest of monument is made from bluestone quarried from Prescelly Mountains over two hundred miles away and saresen stones from around twenty miles away.

It’s unknown who actually built it; it was probably started by late Neolithic people and continued by the ‘Beaker’ people, descendents of the Neolithics who began the project.  Archaeologists believe that the project was started around 3000 BC and finally finished around 1500 BC.

 


Architecture History:

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