Are you a spiritual person? Do you like visiting spiritual places? If yes then you will definitely like Stonehenge! In Wiltshire, England, there is a prehistoric monument known as Stonehenge which attracts millions of visitors from around the world each year.
Surprising Stonehenge Facts
Stonehenge is basically made up of large standing stones that are aligned in a ring on a grassy landscape. Archaeologists believe these stones were aligned sometime during the Bronze Age or Neolithic Age, which would be around 3,000 B.C. and 2,000 B.C. Stonehenge is situated within artificially changed levels of land called earthworks. There are also hundreds of burial mounds in this area. This has archaeologists and historians believing that Stonehenge was probably a burial site before the stones were erected. This was proven to be true after the bank and ditch of the land had been dug into for the first time. Diggers found human bone deposits in the soil that were dated as being from 3,000 B.C. It is believed the land was used as a burial ground for at least five hundred years before it became a monumental site with standing stones on it. This archaeological evidence was discovered in 2008 and it has changed how scientists view the early days of the Stonehenge and the land which surrounds it.
Stonehenge has certainly become a huge tourist attraction in the United Kingdom. Since 1882, the British government has declared Stonehenge to be a Scheduled Ancient Monument that is protected by the law from any unauthorized changes or developments. This means the British government, or the Crown, owns the property in which the Stonehenge stands on. In 1986, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization added Stonehenge to its list of World Heritage Sites. Because of this, Stonehenge is now considered an official landmark by the United Nations. Most people who have never been to England before have still heard of Stonehenge. It even made it onto the list of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World.
There are so many theories about Stonehenge that have been made over the years to explain why it exists and how it was constructed. Although historians and archaeologists cannot say for sure how the Stonehenge was constructed, the historical evidence they’ve gathered can certainly disprove a lot of the theories that are out there. For one thing, we know that Stonehenge is older than the Egyptian pyramids. The construction of the pyramids started in approximately 2,630 B.C. and ended on 2,611 B.C. Even though the exact date of Stonehenge’s construction is unknown, it is believed to have been built between 3,100 B.C. and 2,800 B.C. This would make the Stonehenge about 300 years older than the pyramids.
The religion known as Neo-Druidism contains followers which worship nature and respects the prehistoric societies that came before them. In their religion, the Stonehenge is very significant to them because of this. In 1905, the Ancient Order of Druids held a huge initiation at the Stonehenge for those who were trying to become Druids themselves. All the followers supposedly were wearing fake beards and white robes throughout the initiation process. Nowadays, any type of religious ceremony or ritual at the Stonehenge is strictly forbidden. When this happened, the Druids started going to other locations for their initiations and created mockups of the Stonehenge monuments in order to recreate the real thing. Of course, these mockups were nowhere near as authentic as the real Stonehenge.
The construction of the Stonehenge is what many people theorize about. Since it was built in ancient times, people wonder how ancient humans were able to lift heavy stones on top of other taller stones without the help of machinery or tools. The mystery surrounding how the Stonehenge was built is kind of the same mystery that surrounds how the Egyptian pyramids were built. Some have speculated that alien beings from another world had constructed the Stonehenge. One reason why they believe this is because the stones are arranged in a circle, which is similar to those mysterious crop circles that have been reported. Others believe that Stonehenge is just an ancient clock that relied on sunlight and shadows for telling time. On the other hand, the theory that’s more likely to be true is that the stones of Stonehenge are grave markers, since it’s already been proven that the land it’s on used to be a burial ground.
If the Stonehenge was built by humans, it would have taken a total of about 30 million working hours in order to complete it. There were only two different kinds of stones used during the construction of the Stonehenge. The first kind was a type of sandstone called “Sarsen stones.” These sandstones weighed approximately 25 tons, which is equal to roughly 50,000 pounds. Also, the height of each stone was around 18 feet. The second type of stone used was bluestones and they weighed around 4 tons, or 8,000 pounds. Bluestones are not naturally found in this region of England, since they are basically volcanic rock. So, the ancient builders of this monument ended up traveling 240 miles away just to retrieve this volcanic rock and bring it back to the construction site. Again, they didn’t have any machines or sophisticated ways of transporting these heavy stones. That is why it took so many hours of labor for them to successfully do this.
The way in which the stones were aligned is quite fascinating. The ancient builders didn’t just randomly place the stones on the ground in a circle. Instead, they apparently implemented geometry and mathematics into how the stones were placed because their alignment is perfect with the midsummer sunset and the midwinter sunset. Not only that, the stones were aligned with the greatest southerly moon rising and the greatest northerly sun setting. This could mean the Stonehenge was used as an astronomical observatory, but others seem to believe that ritual activities was the purpose for the monument being built. There is no doubt that religious followers of many different religions have used the site of Stonehenge for their worship and prayer rituals over the centuries. Historians are just unsure about if this was supposed to be the original purpose of the site.
Today the Stonehenge continues to be a huge tourist attraction. There was a time when tourists and visitors were actually allowed to touch the stones with their hands. But today, the stones are all roped off and touching them is no longer allowed. In a way, this is understandable because the caretakers are just trying to preserve the stones as much as possible. Throughout the centuries, the Stonehenge did suffer a lot of damage to it. You’ll notice there are some stones of the monument which appear to have fallen over. Experts say that more than half of the original stones of Stonehenge are missing while others just fell over. Right now, 93 stones or rocks remain at the Stonehenge site. It is believed that 165 stones were used originally when the Stonehenge was first built. Nobody knows where the missing stones could have been taken or who would have taken them. There is evidence of broken fragments of bluestone at the site, which could be an indication that someone tried to break parts of the stone to steal it. But when you consider the Stonehenge is about 5,000 years old, it is amazing that it still looks as good as it does today.
I hope you liked these facts on Stonehenge. Next time you visit England then you must visit this place.
Address: Amesbury, Salisbury SP4 7DE
Phone: 0370 333 1181
Website: English heritage
Open Daily 9:30am To 5pm