Written by Aanya Krishna – a grade 6 student
What is Stonehenge? When and Why was it built?
Stonehenge is one of the world’s most famous monuments. It lies in Wiltshire, England, two miles west of Amesbury. It consists of a ring of standing stones spanning 1.2 miles in diameter, each around 13 feet high, 7 feet wide, and weighing around 25 tons. Stonehenge was built in several stages between 3000 and 1500 B.C., from the Neolithic Period to the Bronze Age. A famous landmark in the United Kingdom, Stonehenge, is one of the wonders of the world. It was added to UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites in 1986.
There are many different theories surrounding the Stonehenge in terms of who built it, when, and why? One of the most popular beliefs is that Stonehenge was built by the high priests of Celts called the Druids. But, according to folklore, the Stonehenge was created by Merlin, the wizard, who magically moved the massive stones from Ireland and got giants to assemble it at the current site.
Stonehenge is considered to be one of the most mysterious places in the world. The purpose of this monument remains unclear – some people think that it was used to study the movements of the sun and moon, others believe that it was a place of healing, while several archaeologists have stated that it was used for religious purposes as a sacrificial temple or as a burial ground.
The stones that form the inner ring came from the Preseli Mountains in Wales while the stones in the outer ring are from local quarries. Experts are baffled about this engineering marvel and have long wondered how man was able to move these big and heavy stones to the site.
When and how was the Stonehenge discovered?
The Stonehenge was discovered a long time ago, around 2600 to 2400 BCE.
It was first in the 17th century that archaeologist John Aubrey made the claim that Stonehenge was the work of the Celtic high priests known as the Druids. Evidence found by archaeologists seems to suggest that it was discovered by accident. After the remains of one rock were found a search began and shortly afterward, in the 17th-century archaeologists began digging around the Stonehenge to check for any human remains that could be buried there.
Archaeologists have found a series of Neolithic-era pits near to the famous Stonehenge site in South England. The pit structure is in the shape of a partial circle that is about 1.2 miles in diameter. It is centred around the prehistoric Durrington Walls Henge (another Neolithic settlement) and also surrounding the smaller Woodhenge. The uniformity of the pattern rules out the facts that these shafts were naturally occurring.
The secrets of these pits and its origins are still to be deciphered, however, there are many possibilities for what it could have been used for. It appears to have been a boundary which guided people to the Durrington Walls, one of the world’s largest Neolithic henge monument, which is located right at the centre of this circle. While ceremonies were performed at the outer ring, Durrington Walls is actually where the people lived together.
The buried pits/ shafts may represent the largest prehistoric structure ever found in Great Britain.
- Every year, approximately 20,000 people gather at Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice to witness a spectacular sunrise since the sun at that time sun is at its highest point in the sky.
- The stones that make up Stonehenge are also known as “ringing rocks”. The stones in this monument possess unusual acoustic properties which make a loud clanging sound when struck.
- Each year, it attracts more than a million visitors. But due to the serious erosion of the stones, visitors can only view this monument from a distance now.