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When was it built?
Radiocarbon dating puts the construction from about 3000 BC through 1500 BC. It is thought to pre-date the wheel in Europe!  The Celts came in 2 waves - one Bronze Age and then again in the Iron Age, so the Celts had nothing to do with the original construction.

Did Stonehenge always have the big Sarsen stones?
Not at all.  The first of the three stages of development was a circle of wood posts surrounded by both a ditch and a bank.  The 56 holes discovered which date back to this period are know an Aubrey Holes, in honor of a 17th century Stonehenge researcher, John Aubrey.  This was around 3100 BC (broken bits of antler used to dig the holes give us the date).  There are 2 more concentric rings of holes, closer to the monument, called Z holes and Y holes.

In about 2500 BC, the Bluestones were brought in from the Prescelli Mountains.  Each stone weighs about 5 tons and they were most likely set in concentric circles.

200 years later, it looks like the stones were re-arranged and the larger Sarsen stones were brought over from nearby Marlborough Downs.  The heaviest of these stones weighs about 45 tons.  They replaced some of the bluestones and in the center set up 5 trilithons (2 uprights and one across) and an outer ring of upright stones connected by lintels across the top.  

The bluestones were continuously included and moved about the site while the sarsens were in use.

There is a path which leads to the outer ditch and rings of stones, called the Avenue.   Within this path, and probably pre-dating the path, is the heel stone.


How was it built?
Good question!  Haven't a clue.  Actually that is an exaggeration; we have clues, but we can't quite put all of the pieces together.  We know the inner circle of Bluestones came from Wales and were floated over the Celtic Sea and River Avon to get to England and the final location and we know the large Sarsen stones are from the local quarry but
would not be easily transported.

The holes for the stones were dug into the chalk just beneath the ground.  That strong foundation has helped keep them in place (for the most part) over millenia.

Stonehenge is the only stone sircle built with stones when are not from the area.

What are ley lines and are they at Stonehenge?
Ley lines are energy lines which criss-cross the earth.  Not everyone believes the exist, I know I seriously doubted it, until I experienced them.  I was able to see Stonehenge up close, with permission from English Heritage of course, and dowsed for ley lines here as well as Avebury with several other people.  (This comprises of walking with dowsing rods
around an area.  If the rods cross and uncross naturally, you have walked over a ley line.  At one point, one of my dowsing rods was spinning in counter-clockwise circles!)   We were all convinced by the end of our trip.

Is it true that Stonehenge is a giant astronomical calendar?
We know that it tracks solar movements, because the sunrises for both the summer and winter solstices appear to rise directly over the heel stone when you stand in the center of the circle.   There is a new theory espoused in Hengeworld by Michael Pitts which is interesting.  It states the stones represent the dead, and the wood represented the living.  Also the living come from the east and dead go off to the west, which follows the path of the sun.  There is a wooden monument, names Woodhenge, which lies to the east of Stonehenge and the stones come from the west.  I personally think he's stretching things a bit, but is on the right track.

The axis of Stonehenge though is undeniably facing NE - which for its latitude means the midsummer sunrise.

 

 

9 Neolithic Houses Discovered at Stonehenge:

October 15, 2006 -
the remaine of 9 neolithic houses have been excavated in very close proximity to
Stonehenge.  The buildings all appear to have been homes and date back to between 2600 and 2500 BC.  
This is contemporary to the first importation of stones, namely the Bluestones from the Prescelli Mountians.

All of the buildings had plaster floors and timber walls.  Most of the houses had a hearth as the center of the
structure.  2 of the buildings were enclosed by their own ringed ditches, leaving experts to believe that these
belonged to a political or religious leader in the community.  The larger of the 2 rings was 131 feet in diameter
but the smaller was enclosed by a wooden fence.

Additional evidence found at the site, including grooved pottery and tools, implies that there was a much larger
community living at Stonehenge during this period.

Missing Stone from Stonehenge Recovered:

February 20, 2007 -
Welsh Archaeologist, Dennis Price, has located the orginal Alter Stone to
Stonehenge.  "We have a woodcut of an easily carved stone with a distinctive shape being cut in two at
Stonehenge, and we have accounts of a curious altar stone as described by Inigo Jones being
transported to somewhere called St James. We have drawn a blank at the Palace of St James, but when
we look at the nearby village of Berwick St James, we find two standing stones that once formed two
bridges across a stream, and if we mentally reunite the parts, they bear an uncanny resemblance to the
stone in the woodcut."


 

 

   
 
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