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Stonehenge is one of Britain’s largest and most
recognisable monuments, celebrated throughout the world its mystery, creation and tremendous
size.

Stonehenge is
a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England consisting of
a ring of large standing
stones or megaliths set
within earthworks in the middle of a dense collection
of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments and burial mounds. It
is believed to have been constructed from around 3000 BC with the surrounding
bank and ditch being dated to this period and overall the site took over 1500 years
to develop into something similar to what we see today.

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Stonehenge
was formed in several phases and this has meant dating the whole site
accurately can be difficult as the various phases of activity, complicated by
disturbance of stones, moving and resetting over years,
early excavation records and human disturbance over the years, all
mean specific dating could be compromised. The monument is now managed by English
Heritage and UNESCO and has been legally protected from the 1800’s. Although
visitors can go to the site the stones have suffered erosion, both from nature
and people climbing and rubbing the stones as well as thousands walking through
the site and so the main stone circle is roped off for most of the year with
special appointments possible to enter the circle and open access during the
summer and winter solstice. The site and the surrounding monuments were
added to UNESCO’s list
of World Heritage Sites in 1986.

What makes Stonehenge iconic and important is not just its use or
construction, but the fact that people over a course of thousands of years visited
a site seemingly important, undertaking the gargantuan task of constructing,
re-constructing, amending and forming such an area, showing us without the importance
of the site. Yet, all of this was done before written records, without
instruction and with skills which today would be impossible without the use of
huge machines. There is also the question of communication, during a time when
language is not known about, and shows somehow people were communicating and
working as a community on mass, to form this area. Also, during a time of
hunting and gathering and introducing domesticated animals and farming, people
would have been needed as a priority at home in order to survive and yet people
were spared and sent to produce this monument also adding to the importance.  

This ongoing development has fuelled a growing story about the site, the
surrounding area and the people involved which has captured the minds of Britain
and the world through the years fuelling interest in why this was ever created.
With ongoing public interest inevitably comes funding and analysis as we try to
understand our ancestors and the reasons for the creation of this outstanding
huge monument.

 

 

 

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