World Reviewer rating

Worth a trip
Rating 3.0 (269 votes)

Stonehenge

Listed under Sacred Spaces in South East England, United Kingdom.

Pin It

More than nine hundred stone rings exist in the British Isles and twice that number may originally have been built. These megalithic structures are more accurately called rings rather than circles because they often display non-circular elliptical shapes; Stonehenge, however, is circular. It is difficult to precisely date the stone rings because of the scarcity of datable remains associated with them, but it is known that they were constructed during the Neolithic period, which in southern England lasted from approximately 4000 to 2000 BC.

Before the development of archaeological dating methods, 17th century antiquarians assumed that Stonehenge and other megalithic structures were constructed by the Druids. The Druids, however, had nothing to do with the construction or use of the stone rings. The Celtic society, in which the Druid priesthood functioned, came into existence in Britain only after 300 BC; more than 1500 years after the last stone rings were constructed. Historians in the 19th century often attributed the stone rings to Egyptian travelers who were thought to have infused Europe with Bronze Age culture. With the development of Carbon-14 dating techniques, the infusion-diffusion concepts of European Neolithic history were abandoned and the megalithic structures were shown to predate Egyptian culture.

Mid-20th century archaeology generally assumed stone rings were used for ritual activities and recent research has deepened our understandings. Beginning in the 1950’s, Oxford University engineer Professor Alexander Thom and astronomer Gerald Hawkins pioneered the study of the astronomies of ancient civilizations, or archaeoastronomy. Conducting precise surveys at hundreds of stone rings, archaeoastronomers discovered significant celestial alignments indicating that the stone rings were used as astronomical observatories. These studies also revealed the extraordinary mathematical sophistication and engineering abilities with which the stone rings were built.

Stonehenge, the most well known stone ring, is a composite structure built during three periods from 3100 to 1100 BC. Constructed with massive stones weighing as much as twenty-five tons and transported from quarry locations hundreds of miles away, Stonehenge was a structure with multiple purposes. It was a monument of nearly imperishable nature located at a specific site of terrestrial energetic power and celestial significance. It was an astronomical observation device used to predict, in advance of their occurrence, particular periods in the annual cycle when the earth energies were most highly influenced by the sun, moon and stars. It was a temple, built by and for the people, in which festivals of renewal were held at those energetic periods determined by astronomical observations. It was a structure built with certain types of stones, positioned according to sacred geometry, which functioned as a sort of battery for gathering, concentrating and emanating the earth energies of the site. It was also an eclipse predictor of astonishing accuracy.

Stonehenge on the Sacred Sites Website.

Written by  Martin Gray.

Other expert and press reviews

“Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites”

'Stonehenge and Avebury, in Wiltshire, are among the most famous groups of megaliths in the world. The two sanctuaries consist of circles of menhirs arranged in a pattern whose astronomical significance is still being explored. These holy places and the… Read more...

Written by press. UNESCO

“Inside Stonehenge”

The stones of Stonehenge were erected around 2950BC and is one of 25 major archaeological sites in the vicinity, which include the stone rings at Avebury, the unexplained conical Silbury Hill and the burial chambers of West Kennet Long Barrow. Read more...

Written by press. Times Online 19 March 2007

“So What on Earth's the Big Attraction?”

It seems the allure of mysterious ancient constructions or feats of elegant engineering are easily diminished by the inconvenience of traffic, crowds and hawkers for the Britons [at] Stonehenge, which topped the table of the most disappointing attractio… Read more...

Written by press. The Guardian 17 August 2007

“Stonehenge up close”

By: Ginny McGrath for Times Online First published: 27th March, 2009 There was no red carpet, no tour guide, not even a leaflet. Just 12 of us and a chatty security guard on a blustery Monday morning in Wiltshire. We wove between the stones, ran our f… Read more...

Written by press. Continue reading on timesonline.co.uk

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

My tour of Stonehenge

Stonehenge is full of mysteries and theories based on the creation of the stones. The stones were brought from hundreds of miles away at Pembrokeshire, Wales and brought to the site. The stones were erected here by a culture that left no records of their being. The mystery of Stonehenge lies both in the people that built them and how they were raised and transported. The stones were most likely used as a religious sight or an astronomy observatory. Some abandon all science and blame aliens or the supernatural.

Our stop at Stonehenge was short but very interesting. We walked around the stones completely and got to see all the angles of the sight. There was an audio tour as well that helped us better understand the stones and their mystery. The massive stones have an effect on the visitor, making them feel small and able to see the larger picture of life.

I also, understand that Stonehenge has much more history eg. a pagan worshipping ground. I say this, as I am online looking for more info. regarding this spectacular

place!

Laya

1 Reply

That's true, there are all sorts of stories about how it was built and what it may mean and may have been used for. Let us know what you find out.

I also, understand that Stonehenge has much more history eg. a pagan worshipping ground. I say this, as I am online looking for more info. regarding this spectacular

place!

Laya

Stonehenge

Stonehenge is probably the most important prehistoric monument in Britain. It is unique amongst the world's stone circles in being the only one with lintels connecting the tops of the stones.

It is thought the site was first used around 3100BC for ceremonies based on lunar and solar worship, but at this time the area was marked with shafts dug into the clay, rather than the famous standing stones. The most dramatic stage in Stonehenge's history occurred around 2150BC when 82 bluestones, some over four tonnes in weight, from the Preseli mountains in Wales were transported 240 miles to the site and arranged to form an incomplete double circle. Later the 50 tonne Sarasen stones, brought from the Marlborough Downs were added and the bluestones rearranged into the positions we see them in today.

While some stones have been removed or broken up, enough stones remain standing to make it an impressive place to visit.

1 Reply

I agree. I visited the site in Aug 2009. Stonehenge truly impressed me.

Post a comment, review or question

I want to
Question
My comment - optional
Rating - how would you rate this place or experience?
 

Who's been here

Similar Experiences

  • Angkor Wat

    There are two great complexes of ancient temples in Southeast Asia, one at Bagan in Burma, the other at Angkor in Cambodia. The…

  • The Great Pyramid

    The Great Pyramid is the most substantial structure of the ancient world, and one of the most mysterious. Constructed from appr…

  • The Parthenon

    The supreme expression of ancient Greek architectural genius, the Parthenon has enchanted painters and poets for two thousand y…

Nearby Experiences

  • Stonehenge Solstice and Equinox Parties

    Stonehenge is a symbol of many concepts: the glorious heritage of a nation, knowledge obfuscated by time, 'alternative' faiths,…

  • Salisbury Cathedral

    Magnificent example of 13th century English Gothic, this soaring cathedral towers over the Avon River and town of Salisbury in …

  • The Onion Store

    "Rustic romance for the wild at heart - book at least a year in advance"

Related links

Contribute to this page