Stonehenge

 

Written by Lexie Graf

 

Though it still stands today, Stonehenge has remained a mystery archaeologists and researchers have been trying to crack.

 

This structure made of extremely heavy stones arranged in a circular position resides in southern England. Researchers are stumped as to how people made this structure without the help of modern technology.

 

Since recent news has broke that there is evidence that Stonehenge may have originally been an ancient graveyard, we decided to take a dive into the history of this interesting UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

The Mystery of Stonehenge

Since the wheel wasn’t even thought to be invented when Stonehenge was built, researchers are perplexed on how an ancient civilization build such a structure. Scientists found that the bluestone that the inner ring of the structure is made out of can be traced 200 miles away from Stonehenge.

 

The most likely explanation is that the ruin was built in multiple phases. They believe the first builders started it around 3000 B.C. and that it was finished around 1600 B.C.

 

Since the sarsens used to build Stonehenge weigh up to 40 tons, there are multiple theories as to how these early builders transported them to Salisbury Plain. Some think it was the builders fashioning sledges and ropes to help them. Some believe the mysterious bluestones were brought over by a force of nature, such as glaciers.

 

The Builders of Stonehenge

Throughout the past few centuries, there have been many theories as to who built Stonehenge. In the 12th-century, some believed it was built by the wizard Merlin. Centuries later, it was believed the Egyptians, Greeks, and Saxons were some of the many potential groups responsible for it.

 

Today, archaeologists’ best guess is that Neolithic agrarians started the first phase of the building and that it was eventually finished by either immigrants or native Britons.

 

What Was Its Purpose?

Recently, researchers have found evidence that suggests it was originally used as a burial ground for ancient elite families. It is believed that these families were buried 500 years before Stonehenge was built. A larger stone circle may have been there prior. However, researchers believe that Stonehenge was used as a burial ground for only part of its history.

 

Stonehenge was also potentially used as a ceremonial site, a place to connect spiritually with ancestors, a destination for religious pilgrimages, or as a place of healing.

 

Modern-Day Stonehenge

Today, Stonehenge brings in hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Over the years, it has undergone various restorations and construction to prevent any further deterioration.

 

Have you ever visited Stonehenge? Share your experience in the comments below!