You may have heard of it, you may not have. Stonehenge in considered
by many to be an important landmark in space and time. We will
many thousands of years back in time to explore this great monument.
Anyone who visits Stonehenge will probably be confused, and with good reason! They will have come through the car parking tunnel and then across a path, and they may not notice that they have just crossed the line of a bank, a ditch, and a ring of white concrete markers. They will probably be either staring up at the soaring stones above them or at the jumble of rocks at their feet.
"Who built it and why?" they will ask. People have wondered about Stonehenge for hundreds of years. We wonder who built it. Stonemasons wonder how the stones were cut to their rectangular shape. Engineers wonder how the stones were dragged to the site and placed upright. Jewelry and tools have been found near Stonehenge. Archeologists wonder at these. They wonder who made these things and who they made them for.
Anthropologists, too, wonder. What were the people like? Were they farmers, or did they hunt? Were they friendly, or war like? Some people believe that the people who built Stonehenge, were, as they say, Stone age Einsteins!
Now, you may ask, why was it built? Well, we're not exactly sure, but many think that its main purpose was to be used as some kind of calender. It marked important astrological events. It may also have had a religious purpose.
In the 1950's, archaeologists began excavations at Stonehenge. These proved that Stonehenge was built in three main stages from 2800 to 1500 B.C. Over the many years between then and now, many of the stones fell or were dragged away to be used as bridges or dams. Scholars have learned what Stonehenge really looked like because of the stones remaining. This is a photograph of Maryhill Stonehenge, a monument built by Sam Hill as a tribute to soldiers who fought and died in World War I. It is a life-size replica of the original Stonehenge.
A wall of earth, 320 feet in diameter, surrounded Stonehenge.
Inside of the wall, thirty blocks of sandstone each 13 1/2 feet or 4 meters above the ground and weighing about 28 tons average, stand. On top, stones were placed end to end, balancing in a perfect circle. Then came 60 blue stones, about 4 tons average. Inside of this, 2 horse shoe forms were built, one inside of the other. A stone, 76 feet tall, stands 80 yards, or 73 meters, to the east of Stonehenge. This was put up in the first stage of building.
Some people think that it took 30,000 hours as well as hundreds of years to complete Stonehenge.
The British government began to restore Stonehenge not long ago, so now many generations can wonder at Stonehenge.
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