Stonehenge

Sam C

Location

Stonehenge is located north of the city of Salisbury, Wales, England. It is directly off the A303 in the center of the Salisbury Plains. This makes it a very easy access tourist spot.
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Description

Stonehenge is an incomplete stone circle that has been dated to about 2000 years before the time of Julius Caesar. Even though at one time all the stones were standing, weather and time has eroded much of the rock as well as causing many to fall. Very few of the original trilithons(three pieced stone structures) are left standing, and the outer ring of the entire structure has collapsed.

History of Stonehenge

The construction of Stonehenge started roughly 2200 b.c., and ended at about 1600 b.c.. The henge was build in multiple stages, the first being the building of the actual henge, which is the dug trench and raised ring that surround the stones. The second stage started a couple hundred years after the henge was dug. This is because the bluestones that create the inner horseshoe were quarried almost 150 miles away from the actual site of the henge. The bluestones took about five years to get standing in the iconic horseshoe pattern. The third stage of construction lasted a bit longer than the second becasue there were more stones to erect. The hundred to one fifty sarsen stones took about one hundred years to get to the site then another ten years to place properly.

About 3000 years later, the first known excavation of the site was performed by Dr. William Harvey and Gilbert North in the 17th century. Many more excavations occurred, even one where a British king dug a massive pit in the center of the structure looking for buried treasure. Later, Charles Darwin did a study within the outer circle concerning earthworms. But the first study of stonehenge itself was in the early 19th century by John Aubrey and William Stukeley, and they concluded that stonehenge was actually a Druid temple, even though later it was discovered that stonehenge outdated the druids by about 2000 years. Even with the most modern of techniques we cannot figure out who actually worshiped at this structure, but our best guess is that it is a temple to the ancestral dead.

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Carn Menyn, Preseli Hills- Where the Bluestones Are Believed to Have Come From

Sacredness of Stonehenge

Stonehenge is a site that was sacred to the ancient people of the southern British plains, as well as some people from continental Europe(we know this from skeletal remains). To this day scientists and Stonehenge enthusiasts do not know what religion was practiced here, but their best guess is some sort of Pagan religion. The term Pagan religion means that they worshiped different parts of nature, such as water, the sun, and the moon.

People who have studied Stonehenge believe that it was a temple to the ancestral dead, for there were many burial mounds around the site, and the total number of bodies in these graves measured in the hundreds. Another reason they believe it is for the dead is because most henges at that time were made of wood, not stone. So by using stone, they were symbolizing the fact that death was eternal, just like the stone. But since we don't know who worshiped here, all this is theoretical.

Interesting Facts

  • Just under a million tourists visit Stonehenge on a yearly basis
  • A new visitors center was built in 2013 that cost about 35 million pounds
  • The Summer Solstice line at America's Stonehenge in Salem, NH, runs directly through one of the upright trilithons at Stonehenge
  • Classified as one of the 7 wonders of the middle-age
  • Some people believe that the site was used by Merlin and the Devil

Citations

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Americas Stonehenge. Wikipedia. Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America%27s_Stonehenge>.

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“Fun Facts about Stonehenge.” Kids Fun Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2016. <http://www.fun-facts.org.uk/wonders_of_world/stonehenge.htm>.

History.co., ed. “Stonehenge.” History.com. History.com, n.d. Web. 8 Feb. 2016. <http://www.history.com/topics/british-history/stonehenge>.

Jarus, Owen. “Stonehenge: Facts and Theories About Mysterious Monument.” LiveScience.com. Live Science, 3 Oct. 2014. Web. 8 Feb. 2016. <http://www.livescience.com/22427-stonehenge-facts.html>.

Moore, Robert. “Stonehenge and Burial Mound.” Flickr.com. N.p., 4 Aug. 2010. Web. 25 Feb. 2016. <https://www.flickr.com/photos/8860560@N02/4916564559>.

Pearson, Mike Parker. “Stonehenge.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2016. <http://www.britannica.com/topic/Stonehenge>.

Sacred Destinations, ed. “Stonehenge, Wiltshire.” Sacred Destinations. Sacred Destinations, n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2016. <http://www.sacred-destinations.com/england/stonehenge>.

“Stonehenge Aerial.” Stone-circles.org.uk. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.stone-circles.org.uk/stone/stonehenge.htm>.

“Stonehenge Facts.” KidsKonnect. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2016. <https://kidskonnect.com/history/stonehenge/>.

“Stonehenge with henge.” The Telegraph. The Telegraph, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2016. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/archaeology/11859856/Stonehenge-discovery-Have-yourself-a-Megalithic-Christmas.html>.

“top view stonehenge.” History.com. History.com, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2016. <http://www.history.com/topics/british-history/stonehenge>.

“Trilithon.” Wonder Mondo. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2016. <http://www.wondermondo.com/Countries/E/England/Wiltshire/Stonehenge.htm>.

Trimming, Peter. “Burial Mound.” Wikimedia Commons. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2016. <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Burial_Mounds_at_Stonehenge_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1626554.jpg>.

Visitors Center. The Telegraph. Telegraph, n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2016. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/architecture/10521502/Stonehenge-Welcoming-a-new-dawn.html>.