What are the interesting facts of Stonehenge monument?

Considered the most architecturally sophisticated stone circle in the world, the Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England is a prehistoric monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monument is made up of a circle of standing stones. It is said that the outer circle had 30 sarsen stones which were surrounded by five huge stone arches in a horseshoe shape. There were also two smaller arcades of bluestones smaller than the sarsens. Four station stones were positioned outside the central monument and the entire site is surrounded by a circular ditch and bank which remains to this day.

The Stonehenge has faced degradation owing to natural wear and tear, however, most of the stones can still be seen standing today.

1. Spanning centuries

Construction of the monument spanned centuries, with work beginning in the Neolithic Age, over 5,000 years ago, and the final changes made in the Bronze Age, around 1,500 BC. It was built and rebuilt by generations of ancient people.

2. The building mystery

How did the ancient people build the Stonehenge, transporting huge stones from faraway places and putting them together at the site? This is a question that has left people baffled. Till date, there is no proven theory as to how the Stonehenge was built. A 12th century legend states that giants had placed the monument on a mountain in Ireland, and a wizard named Merlin magically moved the entire stone circle to England.

Meanwhile, archaeologists believe the sarsen stones, weighing at least 22 tonnes each, were hauled to the site on big wooden sledges from their actual location about 32km away from the Stonehenge While the bluestones, which have been traced to a place in Wales, about 225 km away from the site, were dragged on sledges to a waterway and then floated on rafts to the site.

3. Link with astronomy

The purpose of the construction of the Stonehenge is also a mystery Researchers believe the Stonehenge may have been a calendar linked to the study of the stars as each year on June 21 (the longest day of the year or Summer Solstice), the Sun rises over the Heel Stone, the single large sarsen stone that stands outside the main monument. Similarly, the Sun always sets over the Heel Stone on the shortest day of the year (December 21, the Winter Solstice).

4. A cemetery

One thing that is known for sure is that the Stonehenge served as a cemetery in its initial years. While experts do not know for sure why people were laid to rest at the site, they estimate that about 200 people were buried at the site. They also think that funeral ceremonies could have been performed at the site.

5. The Welsh angle

A recent discovery suggests that the Stonehenge might have originally been built in Wales! Archaeologists have found evidence of a stone circle in Wales similar to the Stonehenge, close to the quarry where the bluestones originated from. They believe the stones might have stood in Wales for many years before being moved to Wiltshire to form part of the Stonehenge.


Picture Credit : Google