Stonehenge has always been a mystery and even now, although there are a lot of theories and speculations, scientists could not figure out its true purpose, who and how build it.
There are a lot of great facts about it, and below, I have shared 10 of the most interesting.
1. Its construction took 1500 years.
The oldest elements date back to around 3000 BC, when a ditch 6 feet deep was dug in a field to form a circular enclosure. The first stones started appearing around 2500 BC, with a refresh of rearranging of bluestones and digging of additional holes has continued until around 1500 BC.
2. It is made of exotic materials.
Within Stonehenge, there are two main types of stones. The large verticals and arches are made of sarsen, a type of sandstone that is common in the region. The smaller stones are known as bluestones. They are not actually blue, but have a blueish tint. The giant three-piece arches for which Stonehenge is known are called trilithon.
3. It is said that some of the stones are brought from 150 miles away.
Some of the materials used in Stonehenge could not be found locally. The bluestones (the small rocks that are used), each one weighing around 4 tons have been geologically linked to the Preseli Mountains in Wales. Archeologists think that these giant stones had to be moved 150 miles to become part of Stonehenge. It is supposed that they have been shipped by ship, and then dragged using logs to reduce friction, but how they got here is still a mystery.
4. In the early days, Stonehenge was a cemetery.
Although nobody knows it’s true purpose, anthropologists can say for sure is that in the period before the first large stones appeared, the monument served as a resting place for cremated remains. The 56 pits or “Aubrey holes” in the area are now known to have housed the remains of at least 64 Neolithic people.
5. Its true purpose is still a mystery.
There are a lot of theories about the use of Stonehenge, ranging from Druid temple to early observatory, ceremonial location for Danish kings. More controversial theories speculate that Stonehenge was a model of solar system built by ancient aliens. Some people believe that Stonehenge is actually a giant clock.
6. The first written record of its existence was in the 12-nd century.
Historian and explorer Henry of Huntingdon made what is believed to be the first written mention of Stonehenge, which dates to 1130 CE: “Stanenges, where stones of wonderful sizes have been erected after the manner of doorways, so that doorway appears to have been raised upon doorway, and no one can conceive of how such great stones have been so raised aloft, or why they were built there.”
7. Visitors were allowed to walk between the stones.
After 1977, the mounting of Stonehenge’s rock structures became prohibited due to the erosion that occurred to the stones.
8. Stonehenge used to be a perfect circle.
People often wondered whether Stonehenge was ever a complete circle or not. Archaeologists figured this out after a drought in 2014. Conservators did not manage to hose out all the water from the grass around the monument and observed odd marks in the turf that were caused by the previous position of the stones that were present during the years.
9. Stonehenge was owned for 3 years by a civilian in the 1910s.
Stonehenge has been the property of the British state for most of the last century, but this was not always the case. In 1915, Cecil Chubb, has bid on the land where the monument is placed after the death of the last surviving representative of the Antrobus family and bought it for £6600. After 3 years, he has donated it to the state on the condition that it would be preserved, and it would remain opened for public. As a form of gratitude, he was granted the knighthood title.
10. In 2015 a commemorative bid was held.
On the centennial of Chubb’s momentous real estate purchase, English Heritage has offered an interactive reenactment of the 1915 auction called “Sale of the century”, where visitors have bid as if the monument was on the market.