Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain, England.

This evening, I am focusing on, arguably,  the world’s most famous stone circle , namely Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain. This is not the largest such site in the British Isles  but is certainly the most enigmatic and should be viewed in context of the local landscape which is rich in sites from prehistory. Stonehenge is deemed to be of such importance that it has been awarded World Heritage status.

Location is about one hundred miles S.W.of London.

The Stonehenge monument was not built as a single project but evolved over a long period of time, from around 3200 BC to 1600 BC.

Here is a summary of the approximate building sequence:

  • Approx 3000 BC: An earthen circular enclosure comprising an irregularly dug ditch with at least two entrances. This would have required great effort by the local community.
  • Shortly after construction of the earth circle a circle of 56 wooden posts was inserted just inside the circumference of the earth ring.
  • Approx 2500 BC: Site transformed with introduction of stones. Sarsens were brought in from the Marlborough Downs and Bluestones from the Preseli Mountains in Wales, with latter requiring a huge logistical effort. Two concentric arcs have been located. Shortly afterwards 75 sarsen stones arrived which were formed into an outer circle within which was set up a horseshoe of massive trilithons.
  • Approx 2300-2000 BC: Repositioning of stones near entrance and rearrangement of bluestones in a circle just inside and concentric with the outer sarsen circle.

The alignments of the circle progressively changed as the site evolved, first to the south and northern most moonrise then to midsummer sunrise and finally the midwinter sunset.

There is an extensive Visitor Centre at Stonehenge.

Other important prehistoric sites in Britain include Callanish, Ring of Brodgar, Avebury and Croft Moraig.

Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain, England.

Stonehenge, England

Be Sociable, Share!