For centuries, historians and archaeologists have puzzled over the many mysteries of Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument that took Neolithic builders an estimated 1,500 years to erect. Located in southern England, it is comprised of roughly 100 massive upright stones placed in a circular layout. The Stonehenge sits on Salisbury plain.Britons used primitive tools—possibly made from deer antlers—to dig a massive circular ditch and bank, or henge, on Salisbury Plain.“Stonehenge” was built between roughly 5,000 and 4,000 years ago and that forms just one part of a larger, and highly complex, sacred landscape. Several hundred years later, it is thought, Stonehenge’s builders hoisted an estimated 80 non-indigenous bluestones, 43 of which remain today, into standing positions and placed them in either a horseshoe or circular formation.
How they built it
According to one longstanding theory, Stonehenge’s builders fashioned sledges and rollers out of tree trunks to lug the bluestones from the Preseli Hills.They then transferred the boulders onto rafts and floated them first along the Welsh coast and then up the River Avon toward Salisbury Plain; alternatively, they may have towed each stone with a fleet of vessels. More recent hypotheses have them transporting the bluestones with supersized wicker baskets or a combination of ball bearings, long grooved planks and teams of oxen.
Hunting played an important role in the area. Recently researchers uncovered roughly 350 animal bones and 12,500 flint tools or fragments, just a mile away from Stonehenge, the finds dating from 7500 B.C. to 4700 B.C. The presence of abundant game may have led people to consider the area sacred.Recently researchers have also discovered a massive wooden building, which may have been used for burial rituals. Also, dozens of burial mounds have been discovered near Stonehenge indicating that hundreds, if not thousands, of people were buried there in ancient times.More construction occurred around 5,000 years ago with postholes indicating that either bluestones or upright timber posts were propped up on the site.
By 4,400 years ago, Stonehenge had changed again, having a series of sarsen stones erected in the shape of a horseshoe, with every pair of these huge stones having a stone lintel connecting them. In turn, a ring of sarsens surrounded this horseshoe, their tops connecting to each other, giving the appearance of a giant interconnected stone circle surrounding the horseshoe.By 4,300 years ago, Stonehenge had been expanded to include the addition of two bluestone rings, one inside the horseshoe and another between the horseshoe and the outer layer of interconnected sarsen stones.Construction at Stonehenge slowed down around 4,000 years ago. As time went on the monument fell into neglect and disuse, some of its stones fell over while others were taken away.