Location #33

Stonehenge

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, 2 miles (3 km) west of Amesbury and 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury. It consists of a ring of standing stones, with each standing stone around 4.1 metres (13 ft) high, 2.1 metres (6 ft 11 in) wide and weighing around 25 tons. The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC.Two types of stone are used at Stonehenge – the larger sarsens and the smaller ‘bluestones’. The sarsens were erected in two concentric arrangements – an inner horseshoe and an outer circle – and the bluestones were set up between them in a double arc. Stonehenge is a unique prehistoric monument, lying at the centre of an outstandingly rich archaeological landscape. An extraordinary source for the study of prehistory, it holds a pivotal place in the development of archaeology. Many different theories have been put forward about who built it, when, and why. These have included a coronation place for Danish kings, a Druid temple, an astronomical computer for predicting eclipses and solar events,[6] a place where ancestors were worshipped or a cult centre for healing. The earliest stage of the monument is one of the largest cremations cemeteries known in Neolithic Britain. The stones were brought from very long distances – the bluestones from the Preseli Hills, over 150 miles away, and the sarsens probably from the Marlborough Downs, 19 miles to the north. The stones were dressed using sophisticated techniques and erected using precisely interlocking joints, unseen at any other prehistoric monument.​ Today, the interpretation of Stonehenge which is most generally accepted is that of a prehistoric temple aligned with the movements of the sun. Finally, Stonehenge is an icon of the past and a powerful image of ancient achievement. It has been the subject of many paintings and poems and featured in books, music and films. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/history/significance/#

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