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World Mysteries – Stonehenge of England

Updated on January 17, 2015
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Stonehenge, England:
Stonehenge, Amesbury, Wiltshire SP4 7DE, UK

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Where Is Stonehenge?

Stonehenge is a huge stone monument located in the Salisbury plains of England. It was estimated to be built about 5000 or more years ago. Stonehenge is the largest monolithic construction found from the pre-historic period and still remaining without much damage. It was believed to be constructed by some semi-nomadic people lived in the Salisbury plain in Neolithic period and completed in different stages. It is a massive undertaking which have used thousands of laborers for its construction. Huge manpower might have been used for its constructional work such as bringing the stones from faraway places, shaping and erecting them.

Exact time of its construction, original creators of this stone work, purpose of this work etc. are still remaining as mysteries to the modern world. To unveil these mysteries, this stone structure have been excavated, x-rayed and surveyed many times, but still many questions are remaining unsolved. Many theories about these topics were put forwarded by the academics who have studied about this monument in detail, but any logical explanations which are acceptable to the majority of the scholars are still pending.

Stonehenge

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When Was Stonehenge Built?

The original work of Stonehenge was started more than 5000 years ago. First stage of construction was the digging of 56 holes in the shape of a ring and that was around 3100 BC. The first stone placed at the site was the Heel stone. After a few years (about 1000 years later) 80 huge blue stones were brought from the mountains of Wales (Prescelly Mountains), which was 240 miles away from this place. How they have transported these huge stones (some of these stones weighed as much as 25 tones) in that period is still remaining as a mystery because the concept of using wheels for transportation was not invented in that time. Only logical explanation for the successful passage of these stones is the use of rivers for transportation to some nearby place of the construction site.

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In about 2000 BC, more stones were brought from Marlborough Downs, which was 25 miles away from this site. Next stage of construction was after 500 years after and then these massive blue stones were arranged in a specific shape of horseshoe and circle as we can see today.

The complete construction was made out of stones only and without the use of any metallic parts; the use of metals may not be popular in those times. Joints and sockets have been carved into each stone to make it fit with one another. All the stones have shaped into flat sided blocks. A large number of people might have been participated in its construction because the shaping of this large number of huge stones itself needed a whole group of army.

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Stonehenge Facts and Theories

Since there was no written history is available about the period of the construction of Stonehenge, the purpose of the creation of this huge stone structure is still under debate. Many scholars have studied and published their views about why this structure was built. But nobody knows for sure why the primitive people have taken so much trouble to construct this mammoth structure.

A large number of burials have been found around the area around Stonehenge. Researchers unearthed dozens of burial mounds and a massive wooden building, which may have been used for burial rituals. Nearly 20 shrines also have been discovered near Stonehenge. These finding indicates that Stonehenge might have been used as a burial ground in some period.

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Remains of many pig bones without their head were found from the site. So one argument is that this place was used for some religious purpose and the beheaded animals were brought to this place for cooking as a part of the religious worships.

Some studies were conducted to find out about the astronomical value of the construction. The study by Gerald Hawkins, using computer, describes the relation of the Stonehenge with Moon, Sun and other objects of sky. As common in many pre-historic people, this Neolithic people also might have worshiped the different objects of the sky as their gods. Stonehenge might have been used as an observatory in that time, so that they could observe and worship their gods.

Gerald Hawkins and another researcher named Hoyle developed some theories to predict lunar eclipses with the construction of Stonehenge. Although this theory is found to be correct, it needs more mathematical and astronomical ability to construct this type of mammoth structure based on these principles. The old Neolithic community, who lived in complete dark ages, might not have the ability to use these principles in their constructions. So this argument was not supported by many.

Some studies based on the purpose of the creation of Stonehenge points out its relation with heavenly bodies. The supporters of this theory believed that the Stonehenge was built with some astronomical purpose to help the people to predict agricultural seasons.

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Today the Druid religion is using Stonehenge for its religious activities. But as per the historical facts, druid religion was formed many years after the Neolithic period. The blue stones used for its construction were believed to be having some healing properties and the human remains of people buried in this plains display signs of serious disease or injury. So Stonehenge can be considered as a place of pilgrimage or a temple in Neolithic period where healing miracles were taken place. This place, the Salisbury Plain, itself was considered as a sacred place even before the construction of Stonehenge.

The many mysteries surrounding Stonehenge are still remaining unsolved. Which is the exact period of its construction? Who were the original creators of this massive stone monument? Though many theories have been put forwarded by the scholars, the actual purpose of the construction of Stonehenge is also unknown.

Whether it was burial ground? Or it was a sacred place for religious activities? We are never going to realize the exact reason of its building because no written documents or other solid evidences can be collected from that period. Because of the same reason, many new theories will be published explaining the purpose of its creation in future also.

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    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      3 years ago from SW England

      Stonehenge is indeed a fascinating place. It's not far from where I live and I've seen it many times. I saw it first when I was about 8 and it seemed huge, then later as an adult I was disappointed as it seemed so much smaller! It is a mystery but much more research is being done.

      Such a shame that we can no longer walk up to and among these stones; the tourist trail has spoilt it a little.

      Interesting details in this hub.

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