There is a huge stone structure known as Stonehenge situated on a chalky plain north of the contemporary city of Salisbury, in the United Kingdom. The site has developed constantly over a 10,000-year span, according to research. Stonehenge was constructed between 5,000 and 4,000 years ago as part of a greater holy landscape that featured a 15-times-bigger stone monument.
There are up to 30 feet (9 metres) tall and 22.6 metric tonnes of stone at Stonehenge’s sarsens. Most people think that they came from Marlborough Downs, a 20-mile (32-kilometer) drive north of New York City.
Weighing up to 4 tonnes, these “bluestones” originate from a variety of locations in western Wales, having been carried up to 140 kilometres (225 km). It’s unclear how humans in antiquity were able to transport them so far. Twelve persons on a wooden trackway can move a 1-ton stone, according to recent tests, although it’s unclear whether ancient builders utilised this method.
Stonehenge’s builders may not have had to transport the bluestones all the way from Wales since glaciers brought them closer to the site during last ice age. As another option, experts are increasingly questioning the viability of water transportation by raft.
Many additional stone and timber buildings and graves may be found in the wider holy landscape that includes Stonehenge. Prehistoric hunting and an ancient route to Stonehenge were also discovered by archaeologists.
Long before Stonehenge was built, the Salisbury Plain was revered as a holy place, according to experts. Around 10,500 years ago three huge pine posts, which were essentially totem poles, were constructed on the site, according to archaeological evidence.
Hunting was a major activity in the region. About 350 animal bones and 12,500 flint tools or pieces have been found within a mile of Stonehenge, ranging from 7500 BC to 4700 BC, the researchers report. People may have regarded the region as holy because of its abundance of wildlife.
When it comes to ancient burial mounds, there are a lot of them around Stonehenge. Stonehenge is also the site of at least 17 round shrines. A “House of the Dead” dating from 3700 B.C. to 3500 B.C. was recently found near Stonehenge.
It was about 5,500 years ago that Stonehenge was home to two earthworks known as Cursus monuments – the largest of which was 1.8 miles in length (3 km). Avebury, near Stonehenge, was home to two enormous eyeglass-shaped wooden palisades that were set fire during rituals.
Postholes at Stonehenge indicate that either bluestones or upright wood posts were propped up on the monument about 5,000 years ago. At some point in the past, approximately 4,600 years ago, hundreds of bluestones were used to form a double circle.
A sequence of sarsen stones in the form of a horseshoe were built at Stonehenge 4,400 years ago, with each pair of these enormous stones having a stone lintel that connected them. An outer ring of Sarsens encircled the horseshoe, their tops interlocking to create the illusion of a huge stone circle.
Stonehenge had grown to incorporate two bluestone rings, one within the horseshoe and the other between the horseshoe and the outer layer of linked sarsen stones, by the time it was built 4,300 years before the present.
Approximately 4,000 years ago, the construction of Stonehenge came to a halt. After a period of neglect and misuse, some of the monument’s stones fell over and others were removed.
The Cursus monuments and Stonehenge have a fascinating relationship. Cursus’s longest monument featured two pits, one on either side of it. As a result of these trenches, the heel stone and processional avenue of Stonehenge are aligned with each other.
University of Birmingham archaeologist Vincent Gaffney, who is leading a project to map the Stonehenge and its surroundings: “Suddenly, you’ve got a link between [the long Cursus pit] and Stonehenge through two massive pits that appear to be aligned on the sunrise and sunset on the mid-summer solstice.”
It’s possible that some of the people who constructed Stonehenge lived nearby at Durrington Walls, where a sequence of dwellings were unearthed from the past. Archaeologists have recently found evidence that the individuals who lived in these homes ate meat and dairy. In a paper published in 2015 in the journal Antiquity, a team of archaeologists argues that the individuals who may have constructed Stonehenge were neither slaves or forced because of their abundant food.
Why did Stonehenge come into being?
Stonehenge’s construction has been the subject of many hypotheses.
According to Gaffney, Stonehenge is part of a much larger landscape that includes processional and ceremonial activity. People may have travelled long distances to get at Stonehenge.
“Unification of Britain” is one hypothesis concerning Stonehenge that was published in 2012 by members of the Stonehenge Riverside Project.
If true, that would explain why they were able to transport bluestones all the way from west Wales, as well as how the manpower and resources for the building were marshalled and allocated.
“In order to build Stonehenge, thousands of people had to transport stones from as far as west Wales, shape them, and construct them by hand. Even the labour itself, which required everyone to physically pull together, would have been a unifying gesture “university of sheffield professor Mike Parker Pearson in a press statement.
One of the world’s most renowned megalithic structures, Stonehenge, is located in Wiltshire, England. There are many theories as to why and how the ancient concentric rings were created, making it one of the most enigmatic.