Stonehenge

Stonehenge

Overview
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument
Monument
A monument is a type of structure either explicitly created to commemorate a person or important event or which has become important to a social group as a part of their remembrance of historic times or cultural heritage, or simply as an example of historic architecture...

 located in the English county of Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Wiltshire is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. It contains the unitary authority of Swindon and covers...

, about 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Amesbury
Amesbury
Amesbury is a town and civil parish in Wiltshire, England. It is most famous for the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge which is in its parish, and for the discovery of the Amesbury Archer—dubbed the King of Stonehenge in the press—in 2002...

 and 8 miles (12.9 km) north of Salisbury
Salisbury
Salisbury is a cathedral city in Wiltshire, England and the only city in the county. It is the second largest settlement in the county...

. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of a circular setting of large standing stones set within earthworks
Earthworks (archaeology)
In archaeology, earthwork is a general term to describe artificial changes in land level. Earthworks are often known colloquially as 'lumps and bumps'. Earthworks can themselves be archaeological features or they can show features beneath the surface...

. It is at the centre of the most dense complex of Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 and Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds
Tumulus
A tumulus is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgrab or kurgans, and can be found throughout much of the world. A tumulus composed largely or entirely of stones is usually referred to as a cairn...

.

Archaeologists
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 believe the iconic stone monument was constructed anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC, as described in the chronology below.
Discussion
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Recent Discussions
Quotations

Much of what has been written about Stonehenge is derivative, second-rate or plain wrong.

Christopher Chippindale

Every generation gets the Stonehenge it deserves - and desires.

Jacquetta Hawkes

Stonehenge, neither for disposition nor ornament, has anything admirable.

Edmund Burke

Stonehenge, where the demons dwell / Where the banshees live and they do live well / Stonehenge, where a man's a man / and the children dance to the pipes of Pan.

Spinal Tap Category:United Kingdom
Encyclopedia
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument
Monument
A monument is a type of structure either explicitly created to commemorate a person or important event or which has become important to a social group as a part of their remembrance of historic times or cultural heritage, or simply as an example of historic architecture...

 located in the English county of Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Wiltshire is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. It contains the unitary authority of Swindon and covers...

, about 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Amesbury
Amesbury
Amesbury is a town and civil parish in Wiltshire, England. It is most famous for the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge which is in its parish, and for the discovery of the Amesbury Archer—dubbed the King of Stonehenge in the press—in 2002...

 and 8 miles (12.9 km) north of Salisbury
Salisbury
Salisbury is a cathedral city in Wiltshire, England and the only city in the county. It is the second largest settlement in the county...

. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of a circular setting of large standing stones set within earthworks
Earthworks (archaeology)
In archaeology, earthwork is a general term to describe artificial changes in land level. Earthworks are often known colloquially as 'lumps and bumps'. Earthworks can themselves be archaeological features or they can show features beneath the surface...

. It is at the centre of the most dense complex of Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 and Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds
Tumulus
A tumulus is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgrab or kurgans, and can be found throughout much of the world. A tumulus composed largely or entirely of stones is usually referred to as a cairn...

.

Archaeologists
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 believe the iconic stone monument was constructed anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC, as described in the chronology below. Radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating is a radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years. Raw, i.e. uncalibrated, radiocarbon ages are usually reported in radiocarbon years "Before Present" ,...

 in 2008 suggested that the first stones were erected in 2400–2200 BC, whilst another theory suggests that bluestones may have been erected at the site as early as 3000 BC (see phase 1 below).

The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. The site and its surroundings
Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites
Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Wiltshire, England. The WHS covers two large areas of land separated by nearly , rather than a specific monument or building. The sites were inscribed as co-listings in 1986....

 were added to the UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986 in a co-listing with Avebury
Avebury
Avebury is a Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles which is located around the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, south west England. Unique amongst megalithic monuments, Avebury contains the largest stone circle in Europe, and is one of the best known prehistoric sites in Britain...

 Henge
Henge
There are three related types of Neolithic earthwork which are all sometimes loosely called henges. The essential characteristic of all three types is that they feature a ring bank and ditch but with the ditch inside the bank rather than outside...

 monument. It is a national legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument
Scheduled Ancient Monument
In the United Kingdom, a scheduled monument is a 'nationally important' archaeological site or historic building, given protection against unauthorized change. The various pieces of legislation used for legally protecting heritage assets from damage and destruction are grouped under the term...

. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

 and managed by English Heritage
English Heritage
English Heritage . is an executive non-departmental public body of the British Government sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport...

, while the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust
National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty
The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, usually known as the National Trust, is a conservation organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

.

Archaeological evidence found by the Stonehenge Riverside Project
Stonehenge Riverside Project
The Stonehenge Riverside Project is a major AHRC-funded archaeological research study of the development of the Stonehenge landscape in Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain...

 in 2008 indicates that Stonehenge could possibly have served as a burial ground
Burial Ground
Burial Ground is the ninth studio album by Swedish death metal band Grave, released in June 2010.-Track listing:# "Liberation" - 3:40# "Semblance In Black" - 7:50# "Dismembered Mind" - 6:10# "Ridden With Belief" - 7:57# "Conquerer" - 4:44...

 from its earliest beginnings. The dating of cremated
Cremation
Cremation is the process of reducing bodies to basic chemical compounds such as gasses and bone fragments. This is accomplished through high-temperature burning, vaporization and oxidation....

 remains found on the site indicate that deposits contain human bone material from as early as 3000 BC, when the initial ditch and bank were first dug. Such deposits continued at Stonehenge for at least another 500 years.

Etymology


The Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

 cites Ælfric
Ælfric of Eynsham
Ælfric of Eynsham was an English abbot, as well as a consummate, prolific writer in Old English of hagiography, homilies, biblical commentaries, and other genres. He is also known variously as Ælfric the Grammarian , Ælfric of Cerne, and Ælfric the Homilist...

's 10th-century glossary, in which henge-cliff is given the meaning "precipice", a hanging or supported stone, thus the stanenges or Stanheng "not far from Salisbury" recorded by 11th-century writers are "supported stones". William Stukeley
William Stukeley
William Stukeley FRS, FRCP, FSA was an English antiquarian who pioneered the archaeological investigation of the prehistoric monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury, work for which he has been remembered as "probably... the most important of the early forerunners of the discipline of archaeology"...

 in 1740 notes, "Pendulous rocks are now called henges in Yorkshire...I doubt not, Stonehenge in Saxon signifies the hanging stones." Christopher Chippindale's
Christopher Chippindale
Christopher Chippindale is a British archaeologist. He works at the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. He is the author of the book Stonehenge Complete, published in 2004.-References:...

 Stonehenge Complete gives the derivation of the name Stonehenge as coming from the Old English
Old English language
Old English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century...

 words stān meaning "stone", and either hencg meaning "hinge
Hinge
A hinge is a type of bearing that connects two solid objects, typically allowing only a limited angle of rotation between them. Two objects connected by an ideal hinge rotate relative to each other about a fixed axis of rotation. Hinges may be made of flexible material or of moving components...

" (because the stone lintels hinge on the upright stones) or hen(c)en meaning "hang
Hanging
Hanging is the lethal suspension of a person by a ligature. The Oxford English Dictionary states that hanging in this sense is "specifically to put to death by suspension by the neck", though it formerly also referred to crucifixion and death by impalement in which the body would remain...

" or "gallows
Gallows
A gallows is a frame, typically wooden, used for execution by hanging, or by means to torture before execution, as was used when being hanged, drawn and quartered...

" or "instrument of torture". Like Stonehenge's trilithon
Trilithon
A trilithon is a structure consisting of two large vertical stones supporting a third stone set horizontally across the top . It is commonly used in the context of megalithic monuments...

s, medieval gallows consisted of two uprights with a lintel joining them, rather than the inverted L-shape more familiar today.

The "henge" portion has given its name to a class of monuments known as henge
Henge
There are three related types of Neolithic earthwork which are all sometimes loosely called henges. The essential characteristic of all three types is that they feature a ring bank and ditch but with the ditch inside the bank rather than outside...

s. Archaeologists define henges as earthworks consisting of a circular banked enclosure with an internal ditch. As often happens in archaeological terminology, this is a holdover from antiquarian
Antiquarian
An antiquarian or antiquary is an aficionado or student of antiquities or things of the past. More specifically, the term is used for those who study history with particular attention to ancient objects of art or science, archaeological and historic sites, or historic archives and manuscripts...

 usage, and Stonehenge is not truly a henge site as its bank is inside its ditch. Despite being contemporary with true Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 henges and stone circle
Stone circle
A stone circle is a monument of standing stones arranged in a circle. Such monuments have been constructed across the world throughout history for many different reasons....

s, Stonehenge is in many ways atypical – for example, at over 24 feet (7.3 m) tall, its extant trilithons supporting lintels held in place with mortise and tenon
Mortise and tenon
The mortise and tenon joint has been used for thousands of years by woodworkers around the world to join pieces of wood, mainly when the adjoining pieces connect at an angle of 90°. In its basic form it is both simple and strong. Although there are many joint variations, the basic mortise and tenon...

 joints, make it unique.

Early history


Mike Parker Pearson
Mike Parker Pearson
Michael "Mike" Parker Pearson is a professor in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield in England. His books include The Archaeology of Death and Burial, Bronze Age Britain, Architecture and Order and In Search of the Red Slave...

, leader of the Stonehenge Riverside Project based at Durrington Walls, noted that Stonehenge appears to have been associated with burial from the earliest period of its existence:
Stonehenge evolved in several construction phases spanning at least 1,500 years. There is evidence of large-scale construction on and around the monument that perhaps extends the landscape's time frame to 6,500 years. Dating and understanding the various phases of activity is complicated by disturbance of the natural chalk
Chalk
Chalk is a soft, white, porous sedimentary rock, a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite. Calcite is calcium carbonate or CaCO3. It forms under reasonably deep marine conditions from the gradual accumulation of minute calcite plates shed from micro-organisms called coccolithophores....

 by periglacial
Periglacial
Periglacial is an adjective originally referring to places in the edges of glacial areas, but it has later been widely used in geomorphology to describe any place where geomorphic processes related to freezing of water occur...

 effects and animal burrowing, poor quality early excavation records, and a lack of accurate, scientifically verified dates. The modern phasing most generally agreed to by archaeologists is detailed below. Features mentioned in the text are numbered and shown on the plan, right.

Before the monument (8000 BC forward)


Archaeologists have found four, or possibly five, large Mesolithic
Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

 posthole
Posthole
In archaeology a posthole is a cut feature used to hold a surface timber or stone. They are usually much deeper than they are wide although truncation may not make this apparent....

s (one may have been a natural tree throw
Tree throw
A tree throw or tree hole is a bowl-shaped cavity or depression created in the subsoil by a tree.They are formed either by the long term presence and growth of tree roots or when a large tree is blown over or has its stump pulled out which tears out a quantity of soil along with the roots...

), which date to around 8000 BC, beneath the nearby modern tourist car-park. These held pine posts around 0.75 metres (2.5 ft) in diameter which were erected and eventually rotted in situ. Three of the posts (and possibly four) were in an east-west alignment which may have had ritual
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

 significance; no parallels are known from Britain at the time but similar sites have been found in Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

. Salisbury Plain
Salisbury Plain
Salisbury Plain is a chalk plateau in central southern England covering . It is part of the Southern England Chalk Formation and largely lies within the county of Wiltshire, with a little in Hampshire. The plain is famous for its rich archaeology, including Stonehenge, one of England's best known...

 was then still wooded but 4,000 years later, during the earlier Neolithic, people built a causewayed enclosure
Causewayed enclosure
A causewayed enclosure is a type of large prehistoric earthwork common to the early Neolithic in Europe. More than 100 examples are recorded in France and 70 in England, while further sites are known in Scandinavia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Slovakia.The term "causewayed enclosure" is...

 at Robin Hood's Ball
Robin Hood's Ball
Robin Hood’s Ball is a Neolithic causewayed enclosure located on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England. It is approximately 5 miles from the town of Amesbury, and 2.5 miles from Stonehenge.-Etymology:...

 and long barrow
Long barrow
A long barrow is a prehistoric monument dating to the early Neolithic period. They are rectangular or trapezoidal tumuli or earth mounds traditionally interpreted as collective tombs...

 tombs in the surrounding landscape. In approximately 3500 BC, a Stonehenge Cursus
Stonehenge Cursus
The Stonehenge Cursus is a large Neolithic cursus monument next to Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England....

 was built 700 metres (2,296.6 ft) north of the site as the first farmers began to clear the trees and develop the area.

Stonehenge 1 (ca. 3100 BC)



The first monument consisted of a circular bank and ditch enclosure
Enclosure
Enclosure or inclosure is the process which ends traditional rights such as mowing meadows for hay, or grazing livestock on common land. Once enclosed, these uses of the land become restricted to the owner, and it ceases to be common land. In England and Wales the term is also used for the...

 made of Late Cretaceous
Late Cretaceous
The Late Cretaceous is the younger of two epochs into which the Cretaceous period is divided in the geologic timescale. Rock strata from this epoch form the Upper Cretaceous series...

 (Santonian
Santonian
The Santonian is an age in the geologic timescale or a chronostratigraphic stage. It is a subdivision of the Late Cretaceous epoch or Upper Cretaceous series. It spans the time between 85.8 ± 0.7 mya and 83.5 ± 0.7 mya...

 Age) Seaford Chalk
Chalk
Chalk is a soft, white, porous sedimentary rock, a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite. Calcite is calcium carbonate or CaCO3. It forms under reasonably deep marine conditions from the gradual accumulation of minute calcite plates shed from micro-organisms called coccolithophores....

, (7 and 8), measuring about 110 metres (360.9 ft) in diameter, with a large entrance to the north east and a smaller one to the south (14). It stood in open grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

 on a slightly sloping spot. The builders placed the bones of deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

 and ox
Ox
An ox , also known as a bullock in Australia, New Zealand and India, is a bovine trained as a draft animal. Oxen are commonly castrated adult male cattle; castration makes the animals more tractable...

en in the bottom of the ditch, as well as some worked flint
Flint
Flint is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz, categorized as a variety of chert. It occurs chiefly as nodules and masses in sedimentary rocks, such as chalks and limestones. Inside the nodule, flint is usually dark grey, black, green, white, or brown in colour, and...

 tools. The bones were considerably older than the antler picks used to dig the ditch, and the people who buried them had looked after them for some time prior to burial. The ditch was continuous but had been dug in sections, like the ditches of the earlier causewayed enclosures in the area. The chalk dug from the ditch was piled up to form the bank. This first stage is dated to around 3100 BC, after which the ditch began to silt up naturally. Within the outer edge of the enclosed area is a circle of 56 pits, each about a metre (3'3") in diameter(13), known as the Aubrey holes
Aubrey holes
The Aubrey holes are a ring of fifty-six Late Cretaceous Seaford Chalk pits at Stonehenge named after the seventeenth-century antiquarian John Aubrey. They date to the earliest phases of Stonehenge in the late fourth and early third millennium BC...

 after John Aubrey
John Aubrey
John Aubrey FRS, was an English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer. He is perhaps best known as the author of the collection of short biographical pieces usually referred to as Brief Lives...

, the 17th-century antiquarian
Antiquarian
An antiquarian or antiquary is an aficionado or student of antiquities or things of the past. More specifically, the term is used for those who study history with particular attention to ancient objects of art or science, archaeological and historic sites, or historic archives and manuscripts...

 who was thought to have first identified them. The pits may have contained standing timbers creating a timber circle
Timber circle
In archaeology, timber circles are circular arrangements of wooden posts interpreted as being either complexes of freestanding totem poles or as the supports for large circular buildings-British Isles:...

, although there is no excavated evidence of them. A recent excavation has suggested that the Aubrey Holes may have originally been used to erect a bluestone circle. If this were the case, it would advance the earliest known stone structure at the monument by some 500 years. A small outer bank beyond the ditch could also date to this period.

Stonehenge 2 (ca. 3000 BC)


Evidence of the second phase is no longer visible. The number of postholes dating to the early 3rd millennium BC suggest that some form of timber structure was built within the enclosure during this period. Further standing timbers were placed at the northeast entrance, and a parallel alignment of posts ran inwards from the southern entrance. The postholes are smaller than the Aubrey Holes, being only around 0.4 metres (15.7 in) in diameter, and are much less regularly spaced. The bank was purposely reduced in height and the ditch continued to silt up. At least twenty-five of the Aubrey Holes are known to have contained later, intrusive, cremation
Cremation
Cremation is the process of reducing bodies to basic chemical compounds such as gasses and bone fragments. This is accomplished through high-temperature burning, vaporization and oxidation....

 burials dating to the two centuries after the monument's inception. It seems that whatever the holes' initial function, it changed to become a funerary one during Phase 2. Thirty further cremations were placed in the enclosure's ditch and at other points within the monument, mostly in the eastern half. Stonehenge is therefore interpreted as functioning as an enclosed cremation cemetery
Enclosed cremation cemetery
Enclosed cremation cemetery is a term used by archaeologists to describe a type of cemetery found in north western Europe during the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age. They are similar to urnfield burial grounds in that they consist of a concentration of pits containing cremains which have...

 at this time, the earliest known cremation cemetery in the British Isles. Fragments of unburnt human bone have also been found in the ditch-fill. Dating evidence is provided by the late Neolithic grooved ware
Grooved ware
Grooved ware is the name given to a pottery style of the British Neolithic. Its manufacturers are sometimes known as the Grooved ware people. Unlike the later Beaker ware, Grooved culture was not an import from the continent but seems to have developed in Orkney, early in the 3rd millennium BC, but...

 pottery that has been found in connection with the features from this phase.

Stonehenge 3 I (ca. 2600 BC)



Archaeological excavation has indicated that around 2600 BC, the builders abandoned timber in favour of stone and dug two concentric arrays of holes (the Q and R Holes
Q and R Holes
The Q and R Holes are a series of concentric sockets which currently represent the earliest known evidence for a stone structure on the site of Stonehenge....

) in the centre of the site. These stone sockets are only partly known (hence on present evidence are sometimes described as forming ‘crescents’); however, they could be the remains of a double ring. Again, there is little firm dating evidence for this phase. The holes held up to 80 standing stones (shown blue on the plan), only 43 of which can be traced today. The bluestone
Bluestone
Bluestone is a cultural or commercial name for a number of dimension or building stone varieties, including:*a feldspathic sandstone in the U.S. and Canada;*limestone in the Shenandoah Valley in the U.S...

s (some of which are made of dolerite, an igneous rock), were thought for much of the 20th century to have been transported by humans from the Preseli Hills
Preseli Hills
The Preseli Hills or Preseli Mountains are a range of hills in north Pembrokeshire, West Wales...

, 150 miles (241.4 km) away in modern-day Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire is a county in the south west of Wales. It borders Carmarthenshire to the east and Ceredigion to the north east. The county town is Haverfordwest where Pembrokeshire County Council is headquartered....

 in Wales. Another theory that has recently gained support is that they were brought much nearer to the site as glacial erratics by the Irish Sea Glacier
Irish Sea Glacier
The Irish Sea Glacier was a huge glacier during the Ice Age that, probably on more than one occasion, flowed southwards from its source areas in Scotland and Ireland and across the Isle of Man, Anglesey and Pembrokeshire....

. Other standing stones may well have been small sarsens, used later as lintels. The stones, which weighed about four tons, consisted mostly of spotted Ordovician
Ordovician
The Ordovician is a geologic period and system, the second of six of the Paleozoic Era, and covers the time between 488.3±1.7 to 443.7±1.5 million years ago . It follows the Cambrian Period and is followed by the Silurian Period...

 dolerite but included examples of rhyolite
Rhyolite
This page is about a volcanic rock. For the ghost town see Rhyolite, Nevada, and for the satellite system, see Rhyolite/Aquacade.Rhyolite is an igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic composition . It may have any texture from glassy to aphanitic to porphyritic...

, tuff
Tuff
Tuff is a type of rock consisting of consolidated volcanic ash ejected from vents during a volcanic eruption. Tuff is sometimes called tufa, particularly when used as construction material, although tufa also refers to a quite different rock. Rock that contains greater than 50% tuff is considered...

 and volcanic and calcareous
Calcareous
Calcareous is an adjective meaning mostly or partly composed of calcium carbonate, in other words, containing lime or being chalky. The term is used in a wide variety of scientific disciplines.-In zoology:...

 ash; in total around 20 different rock types are represented. Each monolith measures around 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height, between 1 m and 1.5 m (3.3–4.9 ft) wide and around 0.8 metres (2.6 ft) thick. What was to become known as the Altar Stone
Altar stone (Stonehenge)
The Altar Stone is a central megalith at Stonehenge in England, dating to Stonehenge phase 3i, around 2600 BC. It is made of a purplish-green micaceous sandstone and is thought to have originated from outcrops of the Senni formation of the Old Red Sandstone in Wales, though this is currently in...

 (1), is almost certainly derived from either Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire is a unitary authority in the south west of Wales and one of thirteen historic counties. It is the 3rd largest in Wales. Its three largest towns are Llanelli, Carmarthen and Ammanford...

 or the Brecon Beacons
Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons is a mountain range in South Wales. In a narrow sense, the name refers to the range of popular peaks south of Brecon, including South Wales' highest mountain, Pen y Fan, and which together form the central section of the Brecon Beacons National Park...

 and may have stood as a single large monolith
Monolith
A monolith is a geological feature such as a mountain, consisting of a single massive stone or rock, or a single piece of rock placed as, or within, a monument...

.

The north-eastern entrance was widened at this time, with the result that it precisely matched the direction of the midsummer
Midsummer
Midsummer may simply refer to the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, but more often refers to specific European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice, or that take place on a day between June 21 and June 24, and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary between different...

 sunrise and midwinter sunset of the period. This phase of the monument was abandoned unfinished, however; the small standing stones were apparently removed and the Q and R holes purposefully backfilled. Even so, the monument appears to have eclipsed the site at Avebury
Avebury
Avebury is a Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles which is located around the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, south west England. Unique amongst megalithic monuments, Avebury contains the largest stone circle in Europe, and is one of the best known prehistoric sites in Britain...

 in importance towards the end of this phase.

The Heelstone
Heelstone
right|thumb|250px|Southwest face of HeelstoneThe Heelstone is a single large block of sarsen stone standing within the Avenue outside the entrance of the Stonehenge earthwork, close to the main road . In section it is sub-rectangular, with a minimum thickness of 8 ft , rising to a tapered top...

 (5), a tertiary sandstone, may also have been erected outside the north-eastern entrance during this period. It cannot be accurately dated and may have been installed at any time during phase 3. At first it was accompanied by a second stone, which is no longer visible. Two, or possibly three, large portal stones were set up just inside the north-eastern entrance, of which only one, the fallen Slaughter Stone (4), 4.9 metres (16.1 ft) long, now remains. Other features, loosely dated to phase 3, include the four Station Stones
Station Stones
The Station Stones are elements of the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge.Originally there were four stones, resembling the four corners of a rectangle that straddles the inner sarsen circle, set just inside Stonehenge's surrounding bank. Two stood on earth mounds at opposing corners , one corner...

 (6), two of which stood atop mounds (2 and 3). The mounds are known as "barrows" although they do not contain burials. Stonehenge Avenue
Stonehenge Avenue
Stonehenge Avenue is an ancient avenue marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discovered in the 18th century, it measures nearly 3 kilometers, connecting Stonehenge with the River Avon...

, (10), a parallel pair of ditches and banks leading 2 miles (3.2 km) to the River Avon, was also added. Two ditches similar to Heelstone Ditch
Heelstone Ditch
right|thumb|200px|Heelstone Ditch Heelstone Ditch is a roughly circular feature surrounding the Heelstone at Stonehenge. It is not known if there was an intended relationship between the ditch and the heelstone although it is likely that the stone was in place either before or at the same time as...

 circling the Heelstone (which was by then reduced to a single monolith) were later dug around the Station Stones.

Stonehenge 3 II (2600 BC to 2400 BC)


During the next major phase of activity, 30 enormous Oligocene
Oligocene
The Oligocene is a geologic epoch of the Paleogene Period and extends from about 34 million to 23 million years before the present . As with other older geologic periods, the rock beds that define the period are well identified but the exact dates of the start and end of the period are slightly...

-Miocene
Miocene
The Miocene is a geological epoch of the Neogene Period and extends from about . The Miocene was named by Sir Charles Lyell. Its name comes from the Greek words and and means "less recent" because it has 18% fewer modern sea invertebrates than the Pliocene. The Miocene follows the Oligocene...

 sarsen stones (shown grey on the plan) were brought to the site. They may have come from a quarry, around 25 miles (40.2 km) north of Stonehenge on the Marlborough Downs, or they may have been collected from a "litter" of sarsens on the chalk
Chalk
Chalk is a soft, white, porous sedimentary rock, a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite. Calcite is calcium carbonate or CaCO3. It forms under reasonably deep marine conditions from the gradual accumulation of minute calcite plates shed from micro-organisms called coccolithophores....

 downs, closer to hand. The stones were dressed
Ashlar
Ashlar is prepared stone work of any type of stone. Masonry using such stones laid in parallel courses is known as ashlar masonry, whereas masonry using irregularly shaped stones is known as rubble masonry. Ashlar blocks are rectangular cuboid blocks that are masonry sculpted to have square edges...

 and fashioned with mortise and tenon
Mortise and tenon
The mortise and tenon joint has been used for thousands of years by woodworkers around the world to join pieces of wood, mainly when the adjoining pieces connect at an angle of 90°. In its basic form it is both simple and strong. Although there are many joint variations, the basic mortise and tenon...

 joints before 30 were erected as a 33 metres (108.3 ft) diameter circle of standing stones, with a ring of 30 lintel stones resting on top. The lintels were fitted to one another using another woodworking method, the tongue and groove
Tongue and groove
A strong joint, the tongue and groove joint is widely used for re-entrant angles. The effect of wood shrinkage is concealed when the joint is beaded or otherwise moulded...

 joint. Each standing stone was around 4.1 metres (13.5 ft) high, 2.1 metres (6.9 ft) wide and weighed around 25 tons. Each had clearly been worked with the final visual effect in mind; the orthostats widen slightly towards the top in order that their perspective remains constant when viewed from the ground, while the lintel stones curve slightly to continue the circular appearance of the earlier monument. The inward-facing surfaces of the stones are smoother and more finely worked than the outer surfaces. The average thickness of the stones is 1.1 metres (3.6 ft) and the average distance between them is 1 metres (3.3 ft). A total of 75 stones would have been needed to complete the circle (60 stones) and the trilithon horseshoe (15 stones). Unless some of the sarsens have since been removed from the site, the ring appears to have been left incomplete. The lintel stones are each around 3.2 metres (10.5 ft), 1 metres (3.3 ft) wide and 0.8 metres (2.6 ft) thick. The tops of the lintels are 4.9 metres (16.1 ft) above the ground.

Within this circle stood five trilithon
Trilithon
A trilithon is a structure consisting of two large vertical stones supporting a third stone set horizontally across the top . It is commonly used in the context of megalithic monuments...

s of dressed sarsen
Sarsen
Sarsen stones are sandstone blocks found in quantity in the United Kingdom on Salisbury Plain, the Marlborough Downs, in Kent, and in smaller quantities in Berkshire, Essex, Oxfordshire, Dorset and Hampshire...

 stone arranged in a horseshoe shape 13.7 metres (44.9 ft) across with its open end facing north east. These huge stones, ten uprights and five lintels, weigh up to 50 tons each. They were linked using complex jointing. They are arranged symmetrically. The smallest pair of trilithons were around 6 metres (19.7 ft) tall, the next pair a little higher and the largest, single trilithon in the south west corner would have been 7.3 metres (24 ft) tall. Only one upright from the Great Trilithon still stands, of which 6.7 metres (22 ft) is visible and a further 2.4 metres (7.9 ft) is below ground.

The images of a 'dagger' and 14 'axeheads' have been carved on one of the sarsens, known as stone 53; further carvings of axeheads have been seen on the outer faces of stones 3, 4, and 5. The carvings are difficult to date, but are morphologically similar to late Bronze Age weapons; recent laser scanning work on the carvings
Laser scanning at Stonehenge
-Scanning the carvings :The first use of 3D laser scanning at Stonehenge was of the Bronze Age dagger and axes inscribed on the sarsens, which was undertaken in 2002 by a team from Wessex Archaeology and...

 supports this interpretation. The pair of trilithons in the north east are smallest, measuring around 6 metres (19.7 ft) in height; the largest, which is in the south west of the horseshoe, is almost 7.5 metres (24.6 ft) tall.

This ambitious phase has been radiocarbon dated to between 2600 and 2400 BC, slightly earlier than the Stonehenge Archer
Stonehenge Archer
The Stonehenge Archer is the name given to a Bronze Age man whose body was discovered in the outer ditch of Stonehenge. Unlike most burials in the Stonehenge Landscape, his body was not in a barrow, although it did appear to have been deliberately and carefully buried in the ditch.Examination of...

, discovered in the outer ditch of the monument in 1978, and the two sets of burials, known as the Amesbury Archer
Amesbury Archer
The Amesbury Archer is an early Bronze Age man whose grave was discovered during excavations at the site of a new housing development in Amesbury near Stonehenge. The grave was uncovered in May 2002, and the man is believed to date from about 2300 BC. He is nicknamed the "archer" because of the...

 and the Boscombe Bowmen
Boscombe Bowmen
The Boscombe Bowmen is the name given by archaeologists to a group of early Bronze Age individuals found in a shared burial at Boscombe Down near Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England....

, discovered 3 miles (4.8 km) to the west. At about the same time, a large timber circle
Timber circle
In archaeology, timber circles are circular arrangements of wooden posts interpreted as being either complexes of freestanding totem poles or as the supports for large circular buildings-British Isles:...

 and a second avenue were constructed 2 miles (3.2 km) away at Durrington Walls
Durrington Walls
Durrington Walls is the site of a large Neolithic settlement and later henge enclosure located in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. It is 2 miles north-east of Stonehenge in the parish of Durrington, just north of Amesbury...

 overlooking the River Avon. The timber circle was orientated towards the rising sun on the midwinter solstice, opposing the solar alignments at Stonehenge, whilst the avenue was aligned with the setting sun on the summer solstice
Summer solstice
The summer solstice occurs exactly when the axial tilt of a planet's semi-axis in a given hemisphere is most inclined towards the star that it orbits. Earth's maximum axial tilt to our star, the Sun, during a solstice is 23° 26'. Though the summer solstice is an instant in time, the term is also...

 and led from the river to the timber circle. Evidence of huge fires on the banks of the Avon between the two avenues also suggests that both circles were linked, and they were perhaps used as a procession route on the longest and shortest days of the year. Parker Pearson speculates that the wooden circle at Durrington Walls was the centre of a 'land of the living', whilst the stone circle represented a 'land of the dead', with the Avon serving as a journey between the two.

Stonehenge 3 III


Later in the Bronze Age, although the exact details of activities during this period are still unclear, the bluestones appear to have been re-erected. They were placed within the outer sarsen circle and may have been trimmed in some way. Like the sarsens, a few have timber-working style cuts in them suggesting that, during this phase, they may have been linked with lintels and were part of a larger structure.

Stonehenge 3 IV (2280 BC to 1930 BC)


This phase saw further rearrangement of the bluestones. They were arranged in a circle between the two rings of sarsens and in an oval at the centre of the inner ring. Some archaeologists argue that some of these bluestones were from a second group brought from Wales. All the stones formed well-spaced uprights without any of the linking lintels inferred in Stonehenge 3 III. The Altar Stone may have been moved within the oval at this time and re-erected vertically. Although this would seem the most impressive phase of work, Stonehenge 3 IV was rather shabbily built compared to its immediate predecessors, as the newly re-installed bluestones were not well-founded and began to fall over. However, only minor changes were made after this phase.

Stonehenge 3 V (1930 BC to 1600 BC)


Soon afterwards, the north eastern section of the Phase 3 IV bluestone circle was removed, creating a horseshoe-shaped setting (the Bluestone Horseshoe) which mirrored the shape of the central sarsen Trilithons. This phase is contemporary with the Seahenge
Seahenge
Seahenge, which is also known as Holme I, was a prehistoric monument located in the village of Holme-next-the-Sea, near Old Hunstanton in the English county of Norfolk...

 site in Norfolk.

After the monument (1600 BC on)


The last known construction at Stonehenge was about 1600 BC (see 'Y and Z Holes
Y and Z Holes
right|thumb|400px|A plan of the Y and Z Hole circuits at Stonehenge in relation to the central stone structureThe Y and Z Holes are two rings of concentric circuits of near identical pits cut around the outside of the Sarsen Circle at Stonehenge. The current view is that both circuits are...

'), and the last usage of it was probably during the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

. Roman coins and medieval artefacts have all been found in or around the monument but it is unknown if the monument was in continuous use throughout prehistory and beyond, or exactly how it would have been used. Notable is the massive Iron Age hillfort Vespasian's Camp
Vespasian's Camp
Vespasian's Camp is an Iron Age Hillfort in the town of Amesbury, Wiltshire, England. It is located less than 2 miles from the older Neolithic and Bronze Age monument of Stonehenge and was built on a hill next to the Stonehenge Avenue.-Etymology:...

 built alongside the Avenue near the Avon. A decapitated 7th century Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 man was excavated from Stonehenge in 1923. The site was known to scholars during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 and since then it has been studied and adopted by numerous groups.

Function and construction


Stonehenge was produced by a culture that left no written records. Many aspects of Stonehenge remain subject to debate. This multiplicity of theories, some of them very colourful, are often called the "mystery of Stonehenge".

There is little or no direct evidence for the construction techniques used by the Stonehenge builders. Over the years, various authors have suggested that supernatural or anachronistic methods were used, usually asserting that the stones were impossible to move otherwise. However, conventional techniques using Neolithic technology have been demonstrably effective at moving and placing stones of a similar size. Proposed functions for the site include usage as an astronomical observatory, or as a religious site.

More recently two major new theories have been proposed. Professor Geoffrey Wainwright OBE, FSA, president of the Society of Antiquaries of London
Society of Antiquaries of London
The Society of Antiquaries of London is a learned society "charged by its Royal Charter of 1751 with 'the encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other countries'." It is based at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London , and is...

, and Professor Timothy Darvill, OBE of Bournemouth University
Bournemouth University
Bournemouth University is a university in and around the large south coast town of Bournemouth, UK...

 have suggested that Stonehenge was a place of healing – the primeval equivalent of Lourdes
Lourdes
Lourdes is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France.Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous...

. They argue that this accounts for the high number of burials in the area and for the evidence of trauma deformity in some of the graves. However they do concede that the site was probably multifunctional and used for ancestor worship as well. Isotope analysis indicates that some of the buried individuals were from other regions. A teenage boy buried approximately 1550 BC was raised near the Mediterranean Sea; a metal worker from 2300 BC dubbed the "Amesbury Archer" grew up near the alpine foothills of Germany; and the "Boscombe Bowmen" probably arrived from Wales or Brittany, France. On the other hand, Professor Mike Parker Pearson of Sheffield University has suggested that Stonehenge was part of a ritual landscape and was joined to Durrington Walls by their corresponding avenues and the River Avon. He suggests that the area around Durrington Walls Henge was a place of the living, whilst Stonehenge was a domain of the dead. A journey along the Avon to reach Stonehenge was part of a ritual passage from life to death, to celebrate past ancestors and the recently deceased. It should be pointed out that both explanations were mooted in the 12th century by Geoffrey of Monmouth (below), who extolled the curative properties of the stones and was also the first to advance the idea that Stonehenge was constructed as a funerary monument. Whatever religious, mystical or spiritual elements were central to Stonehenge, its design includes a celestial observatory function, which might have allowed prediction of eclipse, solstice, equinox and other celestial events important to a contemporary religion

"Heel Stone," "Friar’s Heel" or "Sun-Stone"


The Heel Stone
Heelstone
right|thumb|250px|Southwest face of HeelstoneThe Heelstone is a single large block of sarsen stone standing within the Avenue outside the entrance of the Stonehenge earthwork, close to the main road . In section it is sub-rectangular, with a minimum thickness of 8 ft , rising to a tapered top...

 lies just outside the main entrance to the henge, next to the present A344 road. It is a rough stone, 16 feet (4.9 m) above ground, leaning inwards towards the stone circle. It has been known by many names in the past, including "Friar's Heel" and "Sun-stone". Today it is uniformly referred to as the Heel Stone or Heelstone. When one stands within Stonehenge, facing north-east through the entrance towards the heel stone, one sees the sun rise above the stone at summer solstice.

A folk tale
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

, which cannot be dated earlier than the seventeenth century, relates the origin of the Friar's Heel reference.
The Devil
Devil
The Devil is believed in many religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly...

 bought the stones from a woman in Ireland, wrapped them up, and brought them to Salisbury plain. One of the stones fell into the Avon
River Avon, Hampshire
The River Avon is a river in the south of England. The river rises in the county of Wiltshire and flows through the city of Salisbury and the county of Hampshire before reaching the English Channel through Christchurch Harbour in the county of Dorset....

, the rest were carried to the plain. The Devil then cried out, "No-one will ever find out how these stones came here!" A friar replied, "That’s what you think!," whereupon the Devil threw one of the stones at him and struck him on the heel. The stone stuck in the ground and is still there.


Some claim "Friar's Heel" is a corruption of "Freyja's He-ol" from the Nordic
Teutons
The Teutons or Teutones were mentioned as a Germanic tribe by Greek and Roman authors, notably Strabo and Marcus Velleius Paterculus and normally in close connection with the Cimbri, whose ethnicity is contested between Gauls and Germani...

 goddess Freyja and the Welsh word for track. The Heel Stone lies beside the end portion of Stonehenge Avenue.

A simpler explanation for the name might be that the stone heels, or leans.

The name is not unique; there was a monolith with the same name recorded in the 19th century by antiquarian Charles Warne at Long Bredy
Long Bredy
Long Bredy is a village in west Dorset, England, situated in a small valley seven miles west of Dorchester. The village has a population of 202 . The village has some notable history, being located near the strategic chalk hills it has some Iron Age and Roman history, including a stone circle,...

 in Dorset.

Arthurian legend



In the 12th century, Geoffrey of Monmouth
Geoffrey of Monmouth
Geoffrey of Monmouth was a cleric and one of the major figures in the development of British historiography and the popularity of tales of King Arthur...

 included a fanciful story in his work Historia Regum Britanniae
Historia Regum Britanniae
The Historia Regum Britanniae is a pseudohistorical account of British history, written c. 1136 by Geoffrey of Monmouth. It chronicles the lives of the kings of the Britons in a chronological narrative spanning a time of two thousand years, beginning with the Trojans founding the British nation...

that attributed the monument's construction to Merlin
Merlin
Merlin is a legendary figure best known as the wizard featured in the Arthurian legend. The standard depiction of the character first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written c. 1136, and is based on an amalgamation of previous historical and legendary figures...

. Geoffrey's story spread widely, appearing in more and less elaborate form in adaptations of his work such as Wace's
Wace
Wace was a Norman poet, who was born in Jersey and brought up in mainland Normandy , ending his career as Canon of Bayeux.-Life:...

 Norman French Roman de Brut
Roman de Brut
Roman de Brut or Brut is a verse literary history of Britain by the poet Wace. Written in the Norman language, it consists of 14,866 lines....

, Layamon's
Layamon
Layamon or Laghamon (ˈlaɣamon; in American English often modernised as ; ), occasionally written Lawman, was a poet of the early 13th century and author of the Brut, a notable English poem of the 12th century that was the first English language work to discuss the legends of Arthur and the...

 Middle English Brut
Brut (Layamon)
Layamon's Brut , also known as The Chronicle of Britain, is a Middle English poem compiled and recast by the English priest Layamon. The Brut is 16,095 lines long and narrates the history of Britain: it is the first historiography written in English since the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle...

, and the Welsh Brut y Brenhinedd. According to Geoffrey, Merlin directed its removal from Ireland, where it had been constructed on Mount Killaraus
Mount Killaraus
Mount Killaraus is a legendary mountain in Ireland, most famous for being the source of the stones of Stonehenge in Arthurian legend.Geoffrey of Monmouth records the story in his Historia Regum Britanniae. He describes how Aurelius Ambrosius returned from his exile in Brittany and burnt Vortigern...

 by Giant
Giant (mythology)
The mythology and legends of many different cultures include monsters of human appearance but prodigious size and strength. "Giant" is the English word commonly used for such beings, derived from one of the most famed examples: the gigantes of Greek mythology.In various Indo-European mythologies,...

s, who brought the stones from Africa. After it had been rebuilt near Amesbury, Geoffrey further narrates how first Ambrosius Aurelianus
Ambrosius Aurelianus
Ambrosius Aurelianus, ; called Aurelius Ambrosius in the Historia Regum Britanniae and elsewhere, was a war leader of the Romano-British who won an important battle against the Anglo-Saxons in the 5th century, according to Gildas...

, then Uther Pendragon
Uther Pendragon
Uther Pendragon is a legendary king of sub-Roman Britain and the father of King Arthur.A few minor references to Uther appear in Old Welsh poems, but his biography was first written down by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae , and Geoffrey's account of the character was used in...

, and finally Constantine III
Constantine III (usurper)
Flavius Claudius Constantinus, known in English as Constantine III was a Roman general who declared himself Western Roman Emperor in Britannia in 407 and established himself in Gaul. Recognised by the Emperor Honorius in 409, collapsing support and military setbacks saw him abdicate in 411...

, were buried inside the ring of stones. In many places in his Historia Regum Britanniae
Historia Regum Britanniae
The Historia Regum Britanniae is a pseudohistorical account of British history, written c. 1136 by Geoffrey of Monmouth. It chronicles the lives of the kings of the Britons in a chronological narrative spanning a time of two thousand years, beginning with the Trojans founding the British nation...

Geoffrey mixes British legend and his own imagination; it is intriguing that he connects Ambrosius Aurelianus with this prehistoric monument as there is place-name
Toponymy
Toponymy is the scientific study of place names , their origins, meanings, use and typology. The word "toponymy" is derived from the Greek words tópos and ónoma . Toponymy is itself a branch of onomastics, the study of names of all kinds...

 evidence to connect Ambrosius with nearby Amesbury.

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the rocks of Stonehenge were healing rocks, called the Giant's dance, which giants brought from Africa to Ireland for their healing properties. Aurelius Ambrosias (5th century), wishing to erect a memorial to the 3,000 nobles, who had died in battle with the Saxons and were buried at Salisbury, chose Stonehenge (at Merlin's advice) to be their monument. So the King sent Merlin, Uther Pendragon (Arthur's father), and 15,000 knights to Ireland to retrieve the rocks. They slew 7,000 Irish but, as the knights tried to move the rocks with ropes and force, they failed. Then Merlin, using "gear" and skill, easily dismantled the stones and sent them over to Britain, where Stonehenge was dedicated. Shortly after, Aurelius died and was buried within the Stonehenge monument, or "The Giants' Ring of Stonehenge".

In another legend of Saxons and Britons, in 472 the invading king Hengist invited Brythonic warriors to a feast, but treacherously ordered his men to draw their weapons from concealment and fall upon the guests, killing 420 of them. Hengist erected the stone monument—Stonehenge—on the site to show his remorse for the deed.

16th century to present


Stonehenge has changed ownership several times since King Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 acquired Amesbury Abbey
Amesbury Abbey
Amesbury Abbey, also known as the Abbey of St Mary and St Melor, was a Benedictine abbey at Amesbury in Wiltshire, founded by Queen Ælfthryth in about the year 979 on what may have been the site of an earlier monastery....

 and its surrounding lands. In 1540 Henry gave the estate to the Earl of Hertford. It subsequently passed to Lord Carleton
Baron Carleton
Baron Carleton is a title that has been created three times in British history, once in the Peerage of Ireland and twice in the Peerage of Great Britain. The first creation came in the Peerage of England in 1626 when Sir Dudley Carleton was made Baron Carleton, of Imbercourt in the County of...

 and then the Marquis of Queensbury. The Antrobus family of Cheshire bought the estate in 1824. During World War I an aerodrome
Aerodrome
An aerodrome, airdrome or airfield is a term for any location from which aircraft flight operations take place, regardless of whether they involve cargo, passengers or neither...

 had been built on the downs just to the west of the circle and, in the dry valley at Stonehenge Bottom, a main road junction had been built, along with several cottages and a cafe. The Antrobus family sold the site after their last heir was killed serving in France during the First World War. The auction by Knight Frank & Rutley
Knight Frank LLP
Knight Frank LLP is a multinational real estate and property service firm founded in London in 1896. Knight Frank together with its New York-based affiliate Newmark Knight Frank is one of the world's leading independent global property consultancies....

 estate agents in Salisbury was held on 21 September 1915 and included "Lot 15. Stonehenge with about 30 acres, 2 rods, 37 perches of adjoining downland." [c. 12.44 ha]

Cecil Chubb
Cecil Chubb
Sir Cecil Herbert Edward Chubb, 1st Baronet was the last private owner of Stonehenge, which he donated to the British government in 1918....

 bought the site for £6,600 and gave it to the nation three years later. Although it has been speculated that he purchased it at the suggestion of—or even as a present for—his wife, in fact he bought it on a whim as he believed a local man should be the new owner.

In the late 1920s a nation-wide appeal was launched to save Stonehenge from the encroachment of the modern buildings that had begun to appear around it. By 1928 the land around the monument had been purchased with the appeal donations, and given to the National Trust in order to preserve it. The buildings were removed (although the roads were not), and the land returned to agriculture. More recently the land has been part of a grassland reversion scheme, returning the surrounding fields to native chalk grassland.

Neopaganism


Throughout the twentieth century, Stonehenge began to be revived as a place of religious significance, this time by adherents of Neopagan
Neopaganism
Neopaganism is an umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements, particularly those influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe...

 and New Age
New Age
The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational...

 beliefs, particularly the Neo-druids
Neo-Druidism
Neo-Druidism or Neo-Druidry, commonly referred to as Druidism or Druidry by its adherents, is a form of modern spirituality or religion that generally promotes harmony and worship of nature, and respect for all beings, including the environment...

: the historian Ronald Hutton
Ronald Hutton
Ronald Hutton is an English historian who specializes in the study of Early Modern Britain, British folklore, pre-Christian religion and contemporary Paganism. A reader in the subject at the University of Bristol, Hutton has published fourteen books and has appeared on British television and radio...

 would later remark that "it was a great, and potentially uncomfortable, irony that modern Druids had arrived at Stonehenge just as archaeologists were evicting the ancient Druids from it." The first such Neo-druidic group to make use of the megalithic monument was the Ancient Order of Druids
Ancient Order of Druids
The Ancient Order of Druids is a fraternal organization founded in London, England in 1781 that still operates to this day. It is the earliest known English group to be founded based upon the iconography of the ancient druids, who were priest-like figures in Iron Age Celtic paganism...

, who performed a mass initiation ceremony there in August 1905, in which they admitted 259 new members into their organisation. This assembly was largely ridiculed in the press, who mocked the fact that the Neo-druids were dressed up in costumes consisting of white robes and fake beards.

Between 1972 and 1984, Stonehenge was the site of a Stonehenge Free Festival
Stonehenge Free Festival
The Stonehenge Free Festival was a British free festival from 1972 to 1984 held at Stonehenge in England during the month of June, and culminating on the summer solstice on June 21. The festival was a celebration of various alternative cultures...

. After the Battle of the Beanfield
Battle of the Beanfield
The Battle of the Beanfield took place over several hours on the afternoon of Saturday 1 June 1985 when Wiltshire Police prevented a vehicle convoy of several hundred new age travellers, known as "The Convoy" and referred to in the media as the "Peace Convoy" from setting up at the 11th Stonehenge...

 in 1985 this use of the site was stopped for several years, and currently ritual use of Stonehenge is carefully controlled.

Setting and access


As motorised traffic increased, the setting of the monument began to be affected by the proximity of the two roads on either side – the A344
A344 road
The A344 is an A road in the English county of Wiltshire. It runs from its junction with the A303 road at Stonehenge north west to its junction with the A360 road, away....

 to Shrewton
Shrewton
Shrewton is a village in Wiltshire, England, located around 9 km west of Amesbury and north of Salisbury. It lies on the A360 road between Stonehenge and Tilshead. It is close to the source of the River Till, which flows south to Stapleford. Its population at the 2001 Census was 1,826, as...

 on the north side, and the A303 to Winterbourne Stoke
Winterbourne Stoke
Winterbourne Stoke is a village in Wiltshire, England, located around 5 km west of Stonehenge. It is sited on the A303 road, close to its junction with the B3083.-External links:...

 to the south. Plans to upgrade the A303 and close the A344 to restore the vista from the stones have been considered since the monument became a World Heritage Site. However, the controversy surrounding expensive re-routing of the roads have led to the scheme being cancelled on multiple occasions. On 6 December 2007, it was announced that extensive plans to build Stonehenge road tunnel
Stonehenge road tunnel
The Stonehenge road tunnel was a controversial tunnel in Wiltshire, England proposed by the Highways Agency to upgrade the A303 road. It would have moved the A303 into a tunnel under the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and close the A344 road...

 under the landscape and create a permanent visitors' centre had been cancelled.
On 13 May 2009, the government gave approval for a £25 million scheme to create a smaller visitors' centre and close the A344, although this was dependent on funding and local authority planning consent. On 20 January 2010 Wiltshire Council granted planning permission for a centre 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to the west and English Heritage confirmed that funds to build it would be available, supported by a £10m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund
Heritage Lottery Fund
The Heritage Lottery Fund is a fund established in the United Kingdom under the National Lottery etc. Act 1993. The Fund opened for applications in 1994. It uses money raised through the National Lottery to transform and sustain the UK’s heritage...

. Approval is still needed for the closure of the A344 and two nearby byways
Byway (road)
A byway in the United Kingdom is a minor secondary or tertiary road. In 2000 the legal term 'restricted byway' was introduced to cover roads on which it is possible to travel by any mode but not using 'mechanically propelled vehicles'.-Byway Open to All Traffic :In England & Wales, a Byway Open to...

, which are popular with off-road enthusiasts and whose objections may further jeopardise the scheme.

When Stonehenge was first opened to the public it was possible to walk amongst and even climb on the stones, but the stones were roped off in 1977 as a result of serious erosion. Visitors are no longer permitted to touch the stones, but are able to walk around the monument from a short distance away. English Heritage does, however, permit access during the summer and winter solstice, and the spring and autumn equinox. Additionally, visitors can make special bookings to access the stones throughout the year.

The current access situation and the proximity of the two roads has drawn widespread criticism, highlighted by a 2006 National Geographic survey. In the survey of conditions at 94 leading World Heritage Sites, 400 conservation and tourism experts ranked Stonehenge 75th in the list of destinations, declaring it to be "in moderate trouble".

Archaeological research and restoration


Throughout recorded history Stonehenge and its surrounding monuments have attracted attention from antiquarians and archaeologists. John Aubrey
John Aubrey
John Aubrey FRS, was an English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer. He is perhaps best known as the author of the collection of short biographical pieces usually referred to as Brief Lives...

 was one of the first to examine the site with a scientific eye in 1666, and recorded in his plan of the monument the pits that now bear his name
Aubrey holes
The Aubrey holes are a ring of fifty-six Late Cretaceous Seaford Chalk pits at Stonehenge named after the seventeenth-century antiquarian John Aubrey. They date to the earliest phases of Stonehenge in the late fourth and early third millennium BC...

. William Stukeley
William Stukeley
William Stukeley FRS, FRCP, FSA was an English antiquarian who pioneered the archaeological investigation of the prehistoric monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury, work for which he has been remembered as "probably... the most important of the early forerunners of the discipline of archaeology"...

 continued Aubrey’s work in the early 18th century, but took an interest in the surrounding monuments as well, identifying (somewhat incorrectly) the Cursus and the Avenue. He also began the excavation of many of the barrows in the area, and it was his interpretation of the landscape that associated it with the Druids Stukeley was so fascinated with Druids that he originally named Disc Barrows
Disc barrow
A disc barrow is a type of tumulus or round barrow, a variety of fancy barrow identified in English Heritage's Monument Class Descriptions.A disc barrow comprises a circular or oval-shaped flat platform, defined by a continuous earthen bank and inner ditch; sometimes the platform is raised above...

 as Druids' Barrows. The most accurate early plan of Stonehenge was that made by Bath architect John Wood
John Wood, the Elder
John Wood, the Elder, , was an English architect. Born in Twerton England, a village near Bath, now a suburb, he went to school in Bath. He came back to Bath after working in Yorkshire, and it is believed, in London, in his early 20s...

 in 1740. His original annotated survey has recently been computer redrawn and published. Importantly Wood’s plan was made before the collapse of the southwest trilithon, which fell in 1797 and was restored in 1958.


William Cunnington
William Cunnington
William Cunnington was a pioneering English antiquarian and archaeologist of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. His work centred on excavating the barrows of Salisbury Plain. The first recorded excavations at Stonehenge were done by William Cunnington & Richard Colt Hoare in 1798...

 was the next to tackle the area in the early 19th century. He excavated some 24 barrows before digging in and around the stones and discovered charred wood, animal bones, pottery and urns. He also identified the hole in which the Slaughter Stone once stood. At the same time Richard Colt Hoare
Richard Colt Hoare
Sir Richard Colt Hoare, 2nd Baronet FRS was an English antiquarian, archaeologist, artist, and traveller of the 18th and 19th centuries, the first major figure in the detailed study of the history of his home county, Wiltshire.-Career:Hoare was descended from Sir Richard Hoare, Lord Mayor of...

 began his activities, excavating some 379 barrows on Salisbury Plain
Salisbury Plain
Salisbury Plain is a chalk plateau in central southern England covering . It is part of the Southern England Chalk Formation and largely lies within the county of Wiltshire, with a little in Hampshire. The plain is famous for its rich archaeology, including Stonehenge, one of England's best known...

 before working with Cunnington and William Coxe
William Coxe
William Coxe , English historian, son of Dr. William Coxe, Physician to the Royal Household, was born in London. After his father's death his mother Martha married John Christopher Smith, who was Handel's amanuensis ....

 on some 200 in the area around the Stones. To alert future diggers to their work they were careful to leave initialled metal tokens in each barrow they opened.

In 1877 Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

 dabbled in archaeology at the stones, experimenting with the rate at which remains sink into the earth for his book The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms
The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms
The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms, with Observations on their Habits is an 1881 book by Charles Darwin on earthworms. It was his last scientific book, and was published shortly before his death...

.
William Gowland
William Gowland
William Gowland was an English mining engineer most famous for his archaeological work at Stonehenge and in Japan. He is known in Japan as the "Father of Japanese Archaeology", which is an exaggeration. He was a major founding figure....

 oversaw the first major restoration of the monument in 1901 which involved the straightening and concrete setting of sarsen stone number 56 which was in danger of falling. In straightening the stone he moved it about half a metre from its original position. Gowland also took the opportunity to further excavate the monument in what was the most scientific dig to date, revealing more about the erection of the stones than the previous 100 years of work had done. During the 1920 restoration William Hawley
William Hawley
Lieutenant-Colonel William Hawley was a British archaeologist who most famously undertook pioneering excavations at Stonehenge....

, who had excavated nearby Old Sarum
Old Sarum
Old Sarum is the site of the earliest settlement of Salisbury, in England. The site contains evidence of human habitation as early as 3000 BC. Old Sarum is mentioned in some of the earliest records in the country...

, excavated the base of six stones and the outer ditch. He also located a bottle of port
Port wine
Port wine is a Portuguese fortified wine produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. It is typically a sweet, red wine, often served as a dessert wine, and comes in dry, semi-dry, and white varieties...

 in the slaughter stone socket left by Cunnington, helped to rediscover Aubrey's pits inside the bank and located the concentric circular holes outside the Sarsen Circle called the Y and Z Holes
Y and Z Holes
right|thumb|400px|A plan of the Y and Z Hole circuits at Stonehenge in relation to the central stone structureThe Y and Z Holes are two rings of concentric circuits of near identical pits cut around the outside of the Sarsen Circle at Stonehenge. The current view is that both circuits are...

.

Richard Atkinson
Richard J. C. Atkinson
Richard John Copland Atkinson CBE was a British prehistorian and archaeologist.-Biography:He was born in Evershot, Dorset and went to Sherborne School and then Magdalen College, Oxford, reading PPE...

, Stuart Piggott
Stuart Piggott
Stuart Ernest Piggott CBE was a British archaeologist best known for his work on prehistoric Wessex.Born in Petersfield, Hampshire, Piggott was educated at Churcher's College and on leaving school in 1927 took up a post as assistant at Reading Museum where he developed an expertise in Neolithic...

 and John F. S. Stone re-excavated much of Hawley's work in the 1940s and 1950s, and discovered the carved axes and daggers on the Sarsen Stones. Atkinson's work was instrumental in furthering the understanding of the three major phases of the monument's construction.

In 1958 the stones were restored again, when three of the standing sarsens were re-erected and set in concrete bases. The last restoration was carried out in 1963 after stone 23 of the Sarsen Circle fell over. It was again re-erected, and the opportunity was taken to concrete three more stones.
Later archaeologists, including Christopher Chippindale
Christopher Chippindale
Christopher Chippindale is a British archaeologist. He works at the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. He is the author of the book Stonehenge Complete, published in 2004.-References:...

 of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge
The MAA : Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge houses the University's collections of local antiquities, together with archaeological and ethnographic artefacts from around the world...

 and Brian Edwards of the University of the West of England
University of the West of England
The University of the West of England is a university based in the English city of Bristol. Its main campus is at Frenchay, about five miles north of the city centre...

, campaigned to give the public more knowledge of the various restorations and in 2004 English Heritage included pictures of the work in progress in its book Stonehenge: A History in Photographs.

In 1966 and 1967, in advance of a new car park being built at the site, the area of land immediately northwest of the stones was excavated by Faith and Lance Vatcher. They discovered the Mesolithic postholes dating from between 7000 and 8000 BC, as well as a 10 metres (32.8 ft) length of a palisade
Palisade
A palisade is a steel or wooden fence or wall of variable height, usually used as a defensive structure.- Typical construction :Typical construction consisted of small or mid sized tree trunks aligned vertically, with no spacing in between. The trunks were sharpened or pointed at the top, and were...

 ditch – a V-cut ditch into which timber posts had been inserted that remained there until they rotted away. Subsequent aerial archaeology
Aerial archaeology
Aerial archaeology is the study of archaeological remains by examining them from altitude.The advantages of gaining a good aerial view of the ground had been long appreciated by archaeologists as a high viewpoint permits a better appreciation of fine details and their relationships within the wider...

 suggests that this ditch runs from the west to the north of Stonehenge, near the avenue.

Excavations were once again carried out in 1978 by Atkinson and John Evans during which they discovered the remains of the Stonehenge Archer
Stonehenge Archer
The Stonehenge Archer is the name given to a Bronze Age man whose body was discovered in the outer ditch of Stonehenge. Unlike most burials in the Stonehenge Landscape, his body was not in a barrow, although it did appear to have been deliberately and carefully buried in the ditch.Examination of...

 in the outer ditch, and in 1979 rescue archaeology
Rescue archaeology
Rescue archaeology, sometimes called "preventive" or "salvage" archaeology, is archaeological survey and excavation carried out in areas threatened by, or revealed by, construction or other development...

 was needed alongside the Heel Stone after a cable-laying ditch was mistakenly dug on the roadside, revealing a new stone hole next to the Heel Stone.

In the early 1980s Julian Richards
Julian Richards
Julian Richards FSA, MIFA is a British television and radio presenter, writer and archaeologist with over 30 years experience of fieldwork and publication.-Early career:...

 led the Stonehenge Environs Project, a detailed study of the surrounding landscape. The project was able to successfully date such features as the Lesser Cursus, Coneybury henge and several other smaller features.

In 1993 the way that Stonehenge was presented to the public was called 'a national disgrace' by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee. Part of English Heritage's response to this criticism was to commission research to collate and bring together all the archaeological work conducted at the monument up to this date. This two year research project resulted in the publication in 1995 of the monograph Stonehenge in its landscape
Stonehenge in its landscape
Stonehenge in its landscape: Twentieth century excavations by R. M. J. Cleal, K. E. Walker and R. Montague is an archaeological report on Stonehenge published in 1995...

, which was the first publication presenting the complex stratigraphy and the finds recovered from the site. It presented a rephasing of the monument.

More recent excavations include a series of digs held between 2003 and 2008 known as the Stonehenge Riverside Project
Stonehenge Riverside Project
The Stonehenge Riverside Project is a major AHRC-funded archaeological research study of the development of the Stonehenge landscape in Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain...

, led by Mike Parker Pearson. This project mainly investigated other monuments in the landscape and their relationship to the stones — notably Durrington Walls, where another ‘Avenue’ leading to the River Avon was discovered. The point where the Stonehenge Avenue meets the river was also excavated, and revealed a previously unknown circular area which probably housed four further stones, most likely as a marker for the starting point of the avenue. In April 2008 Professor Tim Darvill of the University of Bournemouth and Professor Geoff Wainwright of the Society of Antiquaries, began another dig inside the stone circle to retrieve dateable fragments of the original bluestone pillars. They were able to date the erection of some bluestones to 2300 BC, although this may not reflect the earliest erection of stones at Stonehenge. They also discovered organic material from 7000 BC, which, along with the Mesolithic postholes, adds support for the site having been in use at least 4,000 years before Stonehenge was started. In August and September 2008, as part of the Riverside Project, Julian Richards and Mike Pitts excavated Aubrey Hole 7, removing the cremated remains from several Aubrey Holes that had been excavated by Hawley in the 1920s, and re-interred in 1935. A licence for the removal of human remains at Stonehenge had been granted by the Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Justice is a ministerial department of the UK Government headed by the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, who is responsible for improvements to the justice system so that it better serves the public...

 in May 2008, in accordance with the Statement on burial law and archaeology issued in May 2008. One of the conditions of the licence was that the remains should be reinterred within two years and that in the intervening period they should be kept safely, privately and decently.

A new landscape investigation was conducted in April 2009. A shallow mound, rising to about 40 centimetres (16 in) was identified between stones 54 (inner circle) and 10 (outer circle), clearly separated from the natural slope. It has not been dated but speculation that it represents careless backfilling following earlier excavations seems disproved by its representation in 18th- and 19th-century illustrations. Indeed, there is some evidence that, as an uncommon geological feature, it could have been deliberately incorporated into the monument at the outset. A circular, shallow bank, little more than 10 centimetres (4 in) high, was found between the Y and Z hole circles, with a further bank lying inside the "Z" circle. These are interpreted as the spread of spoil from the original Y and Z holes, or more speculatively as hedge banks from vegetation deliberately planted to screen the activities within.

In July 2010, the Stonehenge New Landscapes Project discovered what appears to be a new henge less than 1 kilometre (0.621372736649807 mi) away from the main site.

See also



Other monuments in the Stonehenge ritual landscape
  • Bluestonehenge
    Bluestonehenge
    "Bluestonehenge" or "Bluehenge" is a prehistoric henge and stone circle monument that was discovered by the Stonehenge Riverside Project about south-east of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England...

  • Bush Barrow
    Bush Barrow
    Bush Barrow is a site of the early British Bronze Age , at the western end of the Normanton Down Barrows cemetery. It is among the most important sites of the Stonehenge complex. It was excavated in 1808 by Sir Richard Colt Hoare and William Cunnington...

  • Normanton Down Barrows
    Normanton Down Barrows
    Normanton Down is a Neolithic and Bronze Age barrow cemetery located south of Stonehenge in the county of Wiltshire, England. It dates from between 2600 and 1600 BC and consists of a Neolithic long barrow and Bronze Age round barrows.- Excavations :...

  • Woodhenge
    Woodhenge
    Woodhenge is a Neolithic Class I henge and timber circle monument located in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site in Wiltshire, England. It is north-east of Stonehenge in the parish of Durrington, just north of Amesbury.-Discovery:...



About Stonehenge
  • Archaeoastronomy and Stonehenge
    Archaeoastronomy and Stonehenge
    The prehistoric monument of Stonehenge has long been studied for its possible connections with ancient astronomy. Archaeoastronomers have claimed that Stonehenge represents an "ancient observatory," although the extent of its use for that purpose is in dispute...

  • Cultural depictions of Stonehenge
    Cultural depictions of Stonehenge
    The Prehistoric landmark of Stonehenge is distinctive and famous enough to have become frequently referenced in popular culture. The landmark has become a symbol of British culture and history, owing to its distinctiveness and its long history of being portrayed in art, literature and advertising...

  • Excavations at Stonehenge
    Excavations at Stonehenge
    -Early research:The first known excavations at Stonehenge were undertaken by Dr William Harvey and Gilbert North in the early 17th century. Both Inigo Jones and the Duke of Buckingham also dug there shortly afterwards. In 1666 the antiquarian John Aubrey could still see the central sunken hollow...

  • Stonehenge replicas and derivatives
    Stonehenge replicas and derivatives
    This is list of Stonehenge replicas and derivatives that seeks to collect all the non-ephemeral examples together. The fame of the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge has led to numerous efforts to recreate it, using a variety of different materials, around the world...

  • Stonehenge Free Festival
    Stonehenge Free Festival
    The Stonehenge Free Festival was a British free festival from 1972 to 1984 held at Stonehenge in England during the month of June, and culminating on the summer solstice on June 21. The festival was a celebration of various alternative cultures...

  • Stonehenge Landscape


Fiction
  • Stonehenge (novel)
    Stonehenge (novel)
    Stonehenge is a novel in which noted historical novelist Bernard Cornwell imaginatively reconstructs the events of forty centuries ago, when the ancient temple and observatory in what is now called Stonehenge was ambitiously rebuilt, with stone monoliths replacing wooden poles.The main characters...


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Museums with collections from the World Heritage Site
  • Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
    Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
    Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum, commonly known as Salisbury Museum is a museum in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. It houses one of the best collections relating to Stonehenge and local archaeology....

  • Wiltshire Heritage Museum
    Wiltshire Heritage Museum
    The Wiltshire Heritage Museum, formerly known as Devizes Museum, is a museum, archive and library and art gallery in Devizes, Wiltshire, England. The museum was established and is still run by, the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society , a registered charity founded in 1853. After...



External links



  • Stonehenge English Heritage – General information
  • Stonehenge Landscape The National Trust
    National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty
    The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, usually known as the National Trust, is a conservation organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

     – Information about the surrounding area.
  • Ancient Places TV: HD Video of Stonehenge Excavations of 2008
  • Stonehenge Today and Yesterday By Frank Stevens, at Project Gutenberg
    Project Gutenberg
    Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works, to "encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks". Founded in 1971 by Michael S. Hart, it is the oldest digital library. Most of the items in its collection are the full texts of public domain books...

    .
  • The History of Stonehenge BBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

     animation of the monument's construction.
  • Stonehenge, a Temple Restor'd to the British Druids By William Stukeley, at Sacred Texts
    Internet Sacred Text Archive
    The Internet Sacred Text Archive is a website dedicated to the preservation of electronic public domain texts, specifically those with significant cultural value...

    .
  • Stonehenge, and Other British Monuments Astronomically Considered By Norman Lockyer, at Sacred Texts
    Internet Sacred Text Archive
    The Internet Sacred Text Archive is a website dedicated to the preservation of electronic public domain texts, specifically those with significant cultural value...

    .
  • Stonehenge Laser Scans Wessex Archaeology
    Wessex Archaeology
    Wessex Archaeology is one of the largest private archaeological organisations operating in the United Kingdom, based near Salisbury in Wiltshire.-Background:...

     information about the scanning of the Sarsen carvings.
  • Glaciers and the bluestones of Wales British Archaeology essay about the bluestones as glacial deposits.
  • Stonehenge 20th Century Excavations Databases An English Heritage
    English Heritage
    English Heritage . is an executive non-departmental public body of the British Government sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport...

     commissioned report by Wessex Archaeology
    Wessex Archaeology
    Wessex Archaeology is one of the largest private archaeological organisations operating in the United Kingdom, based near Salisbury in Wiltshire.-Background:...

    on the 20th Century excavations.
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