Stonehenge was created between the Neolithic Age and Bronze Age (Between 3000 - 2000 BC). There are no written records about its creation, which is why much of the Stonehenge is shrouded in mystery. Over the years, however, experts have been able to unearth some of its secrets.
There was once a widespread theory that Druids, (Celtic high priests) created the Stonehenge. However, radiocarbon dating showed that the monument was erected at least a millennia before the Celts were in the area, thus debunking the theory.
It is believed that different tribes contributed to the different stages of its construction and that Neolithic agrarians were the first to start. The identity of the other tribes is still under debate.
The megaliths are sarsen stones. It was discovered that the sarsen megaliths came from Marlborough Downs, which is about 32 kilometers away from the monument. The largest megalith is the Heel Stone, which weighs about 30 tons - a little higher than the average 25 tons of the other stones.
Bluestones are the smaller stones present at Stonehenge. They are called as such due to the blue hue they get when wet or freshly broken. The bluestones at Stonehenge all come from Preseli Hills, Pembrokeshire, Wales. There is much debate about how the bluestones were brought from Wales to the Salisbury Plain. Some believe that glaciers brought along the stones, while others think that humans carried them, but remain unsure about how.
We know that these massive stones were artificially cut, as hammerstones made of sarsen and flint were found just north of Stonehenge London. The larger hammerstones would have been used to roughly cut the stone into shape, while the smaller ones would have been used to give them a smooth finish.
To make the sarsen stand straight, the people constructing Stonehenge dug a large hole with a slope. The back of the hole was lined with wooden stakes. The megalith was then erected in this hole using ropes made of plant fiber. It is theorized that weights and wooden A-frames were used to help secure the stones. Once the stone was erect, the hole was packed with rubble to ensure the stone remained upright.
The people who constructed Stonehenge also ensured that the outer ring of stones is at equal height, even though the area is not flat and level.
The sarsens that lay horizontally on the standing ones are called lintels. These were connected using tongue and groove joints, which was unusual for that era. It is believed that timber platforms were used to bring them up and set them into position.
Stonehenge was created in three major stages, which were further divided into several smaller stages. Initially, the Stonehenge was simply an earthwork enclosure where the dead were cremated. The monument with the stones was constructed much later.
The nearest town is Amesbury, which is a 15-minute drive away.
The construction of the landmark started roughly around 3000 BC.
Stonehenge is visited by about a million people every year. Here's everything you need to know to plan your visit to Stonehenge.
Yes, Stonehenge is open to the public during the summer solstice.
Stonehenge is mostly derived from Old English; stan meaning 'stone' and hencg referring to 'hinge' or hen(c)en, which means 'to hang'.
Stonehenge is on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England.