Stonehenge has for many years held a certain mystique; these prehistoric stone circles are a startling reminder of an architectural, engineering and spiritual sophistication of the Neolithic people of Britain.
For thousands of years these ancient stones have stood as testimony to their mysterious builders. Many have speculated who built them or even why they were created in that particular format. Stonehenge is believed to have been built about 3000 BC as a circular earthen bank and adjacent ditch. It is believed to have been built by the Neolithic and Bronze Age peoples.
The creation is said to have been improved over thousands of years with timber and later (circa 2600 to 1600 B.C) with stone. The stones in the circle weigh over 45 tons and tower up to 2 feet high. Some were even moved 150 miles from the Preseli Hills in Wales.
From as early as they were discovered, this strange formation of boulders has held a certain air of mystery about them. The Stone Circle and Avenue leading 1.8 miles from Stonehenge to River Avon is built on the axis of the midsummer sunrise. This has led to speculations that it may have been built by sun worshippers.
Stonehenge is a World Heritage Site, which covers over 10 square miles and includes avenues, settlements and some 350 burial grounds. It is the world’s most famous prehistoric megalithic monument but its famed circle of stones is not the largest. That distinction goes to nearby Avebury which is also home to the prehistoric mound in Europe Silbury Hill. This 130 foot high mound is made up of half a million tons of chalk that was created around 2400 BC.
How to Get There
Stonehenge is located about 10 miles from Salisbury. You may get there via road. Public tour buses frequent the route. Avebury is 25 miles from Bath and 11 from Swindon. Bus services are also available on that route.
When To Visit
Both Stonehenge and Avebury are open all year round. Yearly tens of thousands of hippies, Druids and thrill seekers visit the sites especially for the annual festival.
Photo: National Geographic