Location: 3 mi (2 mi) West of Amesbury, Wiltshire Map

Construction: 2500 BC

Info: 01980 622833

Open: Apr & May: 9:30am- 6pm

Jun- Aug: 9am- 7pm

Sep & Oct: 9:30am- 6pm

Nov- Mar: 9:30am- 4pm

Closed: 20- 22 June, 24- 25 Dec


Description of Stonehenge


Stonehenge is the most famous Neolithic structure situated 3 mi (2 mi) West of Amesbury, Wiltshire county in United Kingdom. The construction of this formation began around 2500 BC. The megalithic complex of Stonehenge, Avebury and related sites was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1986.


The construction

Stonehenge is formed by large blocks of metamorphic rocks distributed in four concentric circles. The exterior, thirty meters in diameter, is formed by large rectangular stones of sandstone that, originally, were crowned by lintels, also of stone, being today only seven in its same place. Inside this outer row is another circle of smaller blocks of bluish sandstone. This encloses a structure with a horseshoe shape built with sandstone stones of the same color. In its interior remains a slab of micaceous sandstone known as «the Altar».

The whole complex is surrounded by a circular moat measuring 104 m in diameter. Within this space there is a terrace with 56 pits known as the "Aubrey holes". The terrace and the moat are cut by «the Avenue», a processional road 23 meters wide and approximately 3 kilometers long. Nearby is the "Stone of Sacrifice." Opposite is the «Stone Heel». Stonehenge is composed of a large circle of large megaliths whose construction dates to around 2500 BC. The circle of sand surrounding the megaliths is considered the oldest part of the monument, having been dated about 3100 BC. In its beginning it was a circular monument of ritual character surrounded by a slope and a moat, in a similar way to many others located in the south of England.

Finally, the monument took on its current appearance, for which 32 blocks of sandstone were transported from the Preseli Mountains to the southwest of Wales and the stone of the "Altar" was brought from a region near Milford Haven. It is currently speculated that they could have been moved using wooden or stone balls or bearings as bearings, and not with logs as originally thought.


The complex

Stonehenge was part of a large complex, which included stone circles and ceremonial avenues. The excavations carried out by the Stonehenge Riverside project, led by the archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield, allowed us to discover an ancient settlement of close to a thousand houses, according to the evidence found. These houses were only used a few days a year and it was not a permanently inhabited village.

A little over three kilometers from Stonehenge, at Durrington Walls, extensive circular work was found in the field, twenty times more extensive than Stonehenge, surrounded by a ditch and a bench, where a wooden construction was erected, now called Woodhenge, with a design similar to that of Stonehenge and built around the same time. Woodhenge was linked to the River Avon by a ceremonial avenue lined with stones.


Purpose of Stonehenge

The purpose of the construction of this great monument is unknown, but it is supposed to be used as a religious temple, funerary monument or astronomical observatory that served to predict the seasons. At the summer solstice, the sun went right through the axis of the construction, which suggests that the builders had safisticated knowledge of astronomy. The same day, the Sun was hiding through the axis of the Woodhenge, where they have found many animal bones and objects that show that great parties were celebrated, probably at nightfall.

There have been found over 300 burials of human remains previously cremated, dated between 3030 and 2340 BC. Given the small number of burials for such a long period, it is estimated that it is not a cemetery of Stonehenge for the general public but for certain chosen people. The stone was the symbol of the eternal life; it served to mark or delimit terrestrial (telluric) energy points and even to house elemental spirits. So Stonehenge could have been used along with Woodhenge in religious ceremonies of cult to the dead and to life, perhaps symbolized by the wooden circle.