Stonehenge is a megalithic Crómlech monument, which is believed to have been erected during the end of the Neolithic period. Located near Amesbury, in the county of Wiltshire, England, this ancient monument, composed of various massive stone slabs, attracts millions of tourists each year.
Stonehenge is distributed in four concentric circles.
The exterior, thirty meters in diameter, is formed by large rectangular slabs of sandstone, that originally, were crowned by lintels, also made of stones. Today only seven of them remain.
Within this outer row is another circle of smaller blocks of bluish sandstone. This encloses a structure with a horseshoe shape, built with sandstones of the same color.
In its interior, we find a slab of micaceous sandstone known as «the Altar».
The whole complex is surrounded by a circular moat measuring 104 m in diameter.
The circle of sand surrounding the megaliths is considered the oldest part of the monument, having been dated about 3100 BC. C.
Within this space, there is a terrace with 56 pits known as the “Aubrey holes”.
The terrace and the moat are cut by «the Avenue», a professional road approximately 23 meters wide and 3 kilometers long.
Located some 77.4 meters from the center of Stonehenge circle is the Heel Stone. It leans towards the southwest nearly 27 degrees from the vertical. The stone has an overall girth of meters and weighs about 35 tons. It is surrounded by the Heelstone Ditch.
It is believed that Stonehenge was part of a large complex, which included numerous stone circles and ceremonial avenues.
Excavations carried out by the Stonehenge Riverside project, led by archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield have shown that a settlement consisting of around one thousand houses existed near Stonehenge in the distant past.
According to the evidence found, these houses were only used a few days a year and the settlement was not a permanently inhabited.
The purpose of the construction of this great monument is unknown, but it is supposed to have been used as a religious temple, funerary monument or astronomical observatory that served to predict the seasons.
And despite the fact that we know a lot about Stonehenge, there are many things most of us have never heard of.
One of the most fascinating details regarding Stonehenge is that it was rebuilt several times, and dozens of images prove that the standing stones we see today, in fact, dates back less than 50 years.
As reported by indymedia.org.uk, from approximately 1901 to 1964, the majority of the stone circles at Stonehenge were restored in a series of makeovers which have left it, in the words of one archaeologist, as ‘a product of the 20th-century heritage industry’.
And while the standing stones of Stonehenge are a product of ancient man’s ingenuity, the monument we see today was rebuilt as far back as 1901 when restoration process caused great outrage but was rarely referred to in official guidebooks.
Cambridge University archeological archivist and leading Stonehenge author Christopher Chippindale admitted:
“Not much of what we see at Stonehenge hasn’t been touched in some way. And historical research student Brian Edwards, who recently revealed that the nearby Avebury Monument had been totally rebuilt, has found rare pictures of Stonehenge being restored.”
He added: “It has been as if Stonehenge had been historically cleansed. For too long people have been kept in the dark over the Stonehenge restoration work. I am astonished by how few people know about it. It is wonderful the guidebook is going to tell the full story in the future.”