Stonehenge: Past Present Fact & Fiction

Stonehenge: Past Present Fact & Fiction

The world is surprisingly full of man made objects, the function or use of which has long been forgotten. The mysterious stone heads found on Easter Island and the Great Pyramids of Egypt among others. However, one such site stands head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to a real mystery. This site is Stonehenge.

Easter Island

flickr image by Arian Zwegers

Most other world mysteries can be quite logically explained. For example, there are several theories on the actual use of the Great Pyramids. One theory is that they are tombs of long dead kings (although no bodies have actually ever been found in them), another states that they make up part of a huge astronomical map of Sirius, which covers the entire Nile Valley. No such simple (or not so simple) explanation has been put forward for the reason that Stonehenge was constructed.

Great Pyramids of Egypt

flickr image by Arch_Sam

Stonehenge is a dramatic historical attraction, entirely unique. It is located in Wiltshire, close to the village of Amesbury and the city of Salisbury on the A303 road.

Stonehenge: The Past

Stonehenge The Past

flickr image by neilalderney123

Proof exists to confirm that Stonehenge was built during prehistoric times, probably around 2500 BC. However, the actual site which Stonehenge covers is not limited to the stone monuments most people usually conjure to mind when discussing the site. Circular earthworks and ditches radiate out from the main central stones, and these are thought to have been originally dug around 3100 BC. Consider this for a moment, this would mean that Stonehenge in its entirety took approximately 600 years to build.

Stonehenge: The Present

Stonehenge The Present

flickr image by wallyg

Stonehenge is a protected Ancient Monument. Currently the entire Stonehenge site, including most of the earthen works, are owned by the Royal Family. Since 1977 the stones themselves have been roped off from the public, and it is only possible to view them from a distance. The National Trust has operated the small visitor center on the site for over twenty years, a new visitor center is planned, and construction began in 2011. The site is open on most days, but it can be dependant on the weather. It is worth calling ahead to check whether the site is accessible on the day you wish to visit. Additional funding has been promised to explore the option of re-routing or closing the major road routes which pass close to the site, to prevent further damage. Stonehenge was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1986.

Stonehenge: The Facts

Stonehenge The Facts

flickr image by Steve Parker

Although there is currently no proper answer to the question of what Stonehenge is and why it was built, we do know some hard facts. The bluestones (the name given to a certain type of stone used in the construction of Stonehenge) were transported from Wales, some 240km away. These stones each weight several tones each and would have needed to be moved by hand. Quite a feat. The Altar Stone was transported from either Carmarthenshire or the Brecon Beacons, once again this would have need to been done by hand. Many burial mounds have been found in and around the site, which suggests that Stonehenge has always been a spiritual center, even though its ultimate real reason for existing may not be so. These are just a few of the often startling facts which surround the construction of Stonehenge.

Stonehenge: The Fiction

King Arthur

flickr image by Marcio Cabral de Moura

No other historical site in the world is part of so many myths and legends. Possibly the most well-known of these, and oddly enough the one most easily disproven, is attached to the legend of King Arthur. Geoffrey of Monmouth, a prolific Arthurian author, put forth the fictional story that Merlin the Magician constructed Stonehenge. This is purely a fiction presented in the story set forth in his book Historia Regum Britanniae, although it is the single legend which is so often repeated.  A more recent myth is that Stonehenge was constructed as some kind of landing pad for Alien Spacecraft. This is probably due to the circular shape of Stonehenge, and the fact it would fit the modern myth of UFO so well.

This has been a very basic introduction to the fascinating topic of Stonehenge. We have only really brushed the surface in this short article. However, there can be no doubt that the mystery of Stonehenge continues to stump mankind. To close this article with a question, consider this. Stonehenge is a vast monument, one which took over six centuries to complete. All of the construction work was performed by hand with no modern machinery. How do we as a species forget the history of something on this scale entirely?

Date posted: 13th June, 2015

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