Stonehenge stands with pride in modern England as a testament to humanity’s remarkable achievements and undiscovered mysteries. History of Stonehenge, the UNESCO world heritage site dates back to at least 5000 years while the stone circles were erected around 1600B.C to 3000 B.C.
This enchanting Neolithic, pre-historic monument is located in the medieval town of Salisbury. Stonehenge is shrouded in mystery of how it came to be and the purpose. The initial mythical legends described Stonehenge of involving in the famous wizard Merlin and King Arthur using magic to create the monument. Given its history and mystery, it is no surprise people all over the globe are eager to find out the facts behind this British cultural icon.
The outer sarsen stones each weighing around 25 tons and as tall as 4m high were transported with primitive tools 25miles to the north is still a surprise to anyone. As well as the blue stones at the inner circle each weighing at 2 to 5 tons, were brought from the Preseli hills in Wales which is 150 miles away.
Remember, these majestic stones were worked into shape before they were built as a ring of stones. The construction was ongoing spanning at least 15 centuries.
Some historians and archaeologists still debate to the fact that the stone circles were never completed and others say they fell apart over a period of time.
The architectural ingenuity in erecting the lintel structure where horizontal stone is placed on top of vertical stones with the tongue and groove methodology is still an awe factor for many. An interesting fact is that the evidence show that the stone settings were re-arranged from the original settings.
Interestingly, Stonehenge was a private property until 1918. Sir Cecil Chubb bought the property at an auction to be gifted to his wife Mary Chubb, later Stonehenge was donated to the British government with the condition of free and unfettered access for the local residents of Stonehenge.
Much like the enigma of its construction is its purpose which nobody really knows. Thousands travelled from far with vast amounts of food to feast and celebrated solstice festivals. Evidence was found for the practice of spiritual healing, sacred rituals involving the passage between the dead and the living. Archaeological evidence proved the cremations of men, women and children in the nearby burial grounds. Excavation records show the burials of sacrificed slaughtered animals. Clearly, telling by the sheer size, the Stonehenge must be very significant to the society of the past.
The axes of the stones are placed precisely to align with the sunrise and sunset to watch the summer and winter solstice respectively. This solstice alignment can be enjoyed directly above the most significant Heel stone. Each year visitors gather to witness the summer and winter solstice to take home their unique experience.
Various theories go with the idea to unfold the mystery of Stonehenge by merely saying that it could be a giant calendar to forecast or record celestial events; a burial site; a religious temple; a spirituality and healing place as evidenced by the presence of blue stones; and everything else ranging from nonsensical to well-deserved true meaning of the existence of this mystical structure.
Surrounded by the light breeze and glowing sun, Stonehenge area is a great place to relax in the meadows and even have a picnic in the lush green grasses.
Just outside the visitor centre, step into the ancient dwellings of Neolithic houses re-enacting the pre-historic life-style with replicated artefacts. Other places of interest are Stonehenge Cursus, The Avenue, Silbury Hill, Winterbourne Stoke Barrows, Woodhenge, Durrington walls, King Barrow Ridge, Salisbury museum etc.
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