The mysterious monument known as Stonehenge is one of England’s most recognized landmarks. The site contains a series of stone pillars, which are arranged in an arc that encircles an inner circle and outer ring. This arrangement has led some people to believe that the structure was used to practice astronomy or as a calendar. Other theories suggest that it was a burial ground or a temple dedicated to the worship of various gods.
Although there have been many theories about the purpose of this site, the true reason for its construction remains a mystery. However, researchers do know that the first stones were erected around 3100 BC, and the site continued to be expanded and changed over the next several hundred years. It wasn’t until the middle of the second millennium BC that the site became what we now call Stonehenge.
Today, stonehengevisit.co.uk continues to attract thousands of tourists each year. Because of its unique position on Salisbury Plain, the monument is visible from miles away. Some people visit the site at least once during their lifetime, while others travel from all over the world just to see it.
But why does so much attention go to this particular place when there are so many other ancient sites in Britain? Why was this structure built? And how did it come into being? What was its purpose?
Let’s find out more about Stonehenge.
Stonehenge is a circular enclosure with three rings. It contains a central area called a Heelstone and two concentric circles within the outer ring. There are also four avenues of sarsen stones (or standing stones) radiating from the center. Each avenue leads to a pair of sarsens.
There are a total of 26 sarsen stones, but not all of them survive today. In fact, only 20 remain intact. The original stones were roughly 30 feet (9 m) tall and weighed between 15 tons (12,500 kg) and 40 tons (36,000 kg), depending on their height. Some of these stones were placed upright, while others were buried horizontally, like tombstones.
At the end of each avenue is another group of stones, called Trilithons. These stones have holes bored into them, and they’re believed to have served as lintels, supporting the vertical stones above them.
In addition, there are smaller stones scattered throughout the site. These include a number of bluestones, which weigh approximately 5 tons (4,300 kg). They sit on top of the earth and are roughly 2 feet (60 cm) long by 1 foot (30 cm) wide. The Bluestone Theory suggests that these rocks were transported to the site after the main structure had already been completed. They were then used to build the Heelstone and the other stones in the outer circle.
Finally, there are four posts made up of four horizontal sarsens. These posts are located near the entrance to the site, where visitors can still enter the inner ring. Scientists think that these may have been used as boundary markers to keep people outside of the sacred space.
Theories about the purpose of Stonehenge are numerous, but let’s look at the ones that are most prevalent.
Archaeologists have suggested that the builders of Stonehenge tried to achieve a balance between the natural world and human society. They believed that the site represented the union of the two worlds. The circular shape symbolized the sky, while the inner and outer rings represented the Earth.
Many archaeologists believe that the site served as a burial ground. In fact, the Heelstone itself seems to fit this theory. Archaeologists believe that this stone was erected in the same way that some Egyptian pyramids were. In Egypt, the Heelstone was placed in the center and surrounded by a wall of smaller stones.
Other theories suggest that the site was used for religious rituals or ceremonies. Some even speculate that the site was used as a kind of astronomical observatory, with particular emphasis being put on the alignment between the sun and moon.
Regardless of the exact purpose of the site, one thing is certain. It took a lot of work to erect such a huge structure. Experts estimate that it would have taken hundreds of laborers nearly 10 years to complete the work. In fact, it’s thought that Stonehenge required more than 500 years of labor.
That’s quite an investment! So who exactly were these laborers? Did they live close by? Were they slaves? Or were they free men? We’ll never know. But one thing is for sure. Without their hard work, Stonehenge wouldn’t exist.