From a deep inside me, I know it will be hard to write all these information as facts. It is because most of these facts are based on speculations. The real facts only exist somewhere in the midst of endless mysteries. For now, let’s us share some of the facts about Stonehenge that we know of.
FACTS ABOUT STONEHENGE: 1-5
1. Stonehenge is believed to be built between 3000 and 1520 BCE.
That era falls to the period of transition from Neolithic (also know as New Stone Age) to the Bronze age. If we describe it from a historical perspective, then that was the time when early humans mastered to use stone tools and constructed shelters to
settle down. Neolithic people also started growing their own vegetations and domesticating animals instead of relying totally on hunter-gatherer practices. Even one article suggests that it was the Neolithic people who first domesticated dogs.
2. Stonehenge locates near the Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.
That is the place where you need to be in order to see the Stonehenge in real life. It locates in the beautiful Salisbury Plain which expands at 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury. Tourists from all over the world come to the site to feel the environment of the archaeological site. For those who are unable to walk a long distance, public buses provide convenient service during the operational hours. According to Statista, Stonehenge hosted over 1.5 million tourists in 2017 (by the way, that was the record number of visitors so far)
3. There are so many competing speculations to explain the purposes of the site.
Mystery and speculations always appear in the places where there is no solid proof. That is true in the case of Stonehenge too. Lack of historical records makes it harder to solve the mystery of the site. However, it does not limit people from proposing their theories.
For instance, American astronomer Gerald Hawkins suggested that it may have been an ancient astronomical computer to predict the lunar and solar eclipses. Much earlier from Hawkins time, two English historians John Aubrey of the 17th century and William Stukeley of the 18th century looked at Stonehenge as the Druid Temple. Although both of these claims may sound like possible explanations, speculations, however, do not end there. The center for Bronze Age chiefdoms, a monument for the afterlife, place of magical healing are some among many speculations about Stonehenge. Unfortunately, none of them has a stable evidence to be accepted as factual.
4. Currently, Stonehenge is in the incomplete state.
It is not because early constructors did not finish the job. Instead, It is because parts of stones were damaged or taken away multiple times throughout the history.
FACTS ABOUT STONEHENGE: 5-10
5. The stones used in the construction are so big that makes you wonder how in the earth they moved them.
Well, its engineering method along with much other information still remains in mystery. Either people of that period possessed a superpower that we currently do not have, or they had their own construction cranes that we are not aware of.
Outer stones are much larger compared to the inner ones. The large ones called Sarsens weigh about 25 tons and measures 30 feet (9 meters). The smaller stones (bluestones) weigh about 4 tons.
6. Stonehenge blocks were brought from 160 miles (250 km) away.
A geologist from the University of Leicester Robert Ixer and Richard Bevin from the National Museum of Wales carried out extensive rock sampling in order to pinpoint the possible origins of the stones. Their hard work finally paid off. The bluestone samples from Wales outcrops (Craig Rhos-y-felin) matched the rocks that been used in the inner circle of Stonehenge.
That was an amazing discovery. It also raised a question: “How could they bring them from such a long distance?”. As far as we know, civilizations of that period did not use heavy machinery or any known means of transportation to move 3 to 5-ton bluestone blocks. So, two speculations emerged. One suggested that humans pulled them on the special wooden boards. The other one explained how humans moved them easily by sliding on the glaciers. The scientific community, however, looks both options with some doubt.
7. Archeologists unearthed much older remnants of human activities from the area of Stonehenge.
Several wooden and stone structures, 350 animal bones, 12,500 flint tool fragments, several burial mounds, over 17 shrines (some are in the forms of circles) have been discovered in the close-by areas of Stonehenge. Those discoveries brought some scientists to the conclusion that Salisbury Plains was the center of human activities way before Stonehenge.
For instance, burial ground called “House of the Dead” is one of the most recent and most significant sites unearthed in the area.
8. In 1915, a man named Cecil Chubb bought Stonehenge in the auction as a gift for his wife.
He paid $6000 for Stonehenge ($680,000 in today’s equivalent). However, according to some rumors, his wife was not so happy about the gift. Originally, she had asked her husband to buy some curtains from the auction, but his husband bought Stonehenge instead.
After possessing it about 3 years, Chubb gave Stonehenge to the local government with one condition. He wanted to the site to be open and affordable for the public. So, his only condition was that the public not to pay “a sum exceeding one shilling” per visit. Because of that will, locals have a free pass to the area nowadays. But, others must pay $22.50 (14.50 euros) per entry.
9. Some people believe that extraterrestrials come down to earth and helped locals to build Stonehenge.
This speculation is not something new. People who religiously believe in the existence of aliens suggested the same speculations about Pyramids too. Both of them, pyramids and Stonehenge, are the ancient masterpieces that puzzled many. So, alien theory comes handy to explain something that would have been hard to explain otherwise.
10. Stonehenge evolved through several stages in thousands of years time.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, it was hunter-gatherers of the Mesolithic period who started the first construction in the area of Stonehenge. They dug pits and put up pine posts.
The first stage of the actual Stonehenge construction began in 3000 – 2935 BCE. Those structures have consisted of circular enclosures which measured about 330 feet (100 meters) in diameter.
The second stage included the period between 2640-2480 during which early brought Sarsen stones from 20 miles (32 km away) away, from the modern-day Marlborough Downs.
Starting from the third stage to all the way up to the sixth, several new pits were dug and some of the stones were rearranged.