This post is part of the series England
Other posts in this series:
- 58 Fascinating Facts about Windsor Castle
- Visit Bath ~ Probably the Most Beautiful City in England
- Bucket List ~ Stonehenge (Current)
Travel Stories to Inspire Your Wanderlust
Learn more about the United Kingdom!
The year of 2017 was holy kind to me by giving me the opportunity to visit many places that have been sharing the status Bucket List – London, Singapore here, Kuala Lumpur here, Bali, Dubai here … But I have something like the Original Bucket List going on in my perception. My Original Bucket List is based literary on my very first „History of the World – Children’s Encyclopedia“. This book was my absolute favourite “media” during my early childhood as it comprises the “best” pictures (for that time in Bulgaria) and stories from around the World.
So you can imagine I was flipping through the pages of this book over and over again and some of the images stuck in my memory till nowadays – my Original Bucket List! This list includes the Egyptian Pyramids, Great Wall of China, Great Canyon (you can read my blog post here), Uluru in Australia, Colosseum in Rome (blog post coming soon), Easter Island Statues and Stonehenge!
Yes, Stonehenge! Many people were really sceptical when I was talking about visiting Stonehenge in England:
“Stonehenge? You want to visit some stones, really?” (Translated: … instead of shopping in London, #häää!?)
Well, there is no point to discuss with people “Why” and “Wherefore” I’m into something. I think everyone else can save some extra minutes of his life as well…
So, 25 years later I was sitting on the bus driving through the absolutely stunning nature of Salisbury! Since I’m living in Innsbruck I’m surrounded by numerous Mountain Chains (which do not allow a direct view beyond the horizon besides you’re on the top of the mountain) I became the greatest Horizon Seeker… So travelling through Salisbury was definitely a hedonistic experience to me.
Stonehenge is located on Salisbury Plain, ca 130 km southwest of London. As we arrived at the prehistoric monument, I was expecting to see a bunch of people which are often removed from photos. But to be honest, I was positively surprised by the number of people on that day. I was lucky to be here during the springtime when you can see the endless fields of beautiful red Poppies right next to Stonehenge, which was kind of special to me. All in all, the feeling of being here was very unique and even a bit creepy, having in mind some of the conspiracy theories about Stonehenge and its purpose from back in the days:
The History of Stonehenge and its Construction
Many scientist and historians have considered Salisbury as a sacred area thousands of years before Stonehenge was even constructed (10500 BC). Numerous archaeological pieces of evidence, such as the large pine totem poles, animal bones, thousands of flint tools dating from 7500 B.C. to 4700 B.C were found in Salisbury area, not that far away from Stonehenge. About 5000 years ago, the ancient civilization who was living in this area, decided to edify the world’s probably most famous prehistoric monument.
There are four stages of construction in the history of Stonehenge. According to numerous studies, the first stage of building Stonehenge was during the late Neolithic period around 3100 BC. The original circle was made by some pits in the chalk, ca 87 meters in diameter, in which were found cremated human bones. Dozens of burial mounds dating back to 3000 B.C. were also discovered in this area.
The second and most important stage happened 1000 years later – the arrival of the Bluestones! Around 2150 B.C. 82 bluestones were transported from the Preseli Mountains in west Wales in order to build the double circle of Stonehenge. Some of the Bluestones weight 4 tonnes each! There are a lot of theories on how the stones were transported from Wales to Salisbury – a distance over 385 km. During this time a pair of Sun-Stones were also erected depending on the direction of the midsummer sunrise.
The third stage of Stonehenge happened about 2000 B.C. – the arriving of the main Sarsen Stones! The Sarsen Stones were brought from north Wiltshire which is about 40 km from Stonehenge. Having in mind that the biggest of those stones weights more than 50 tonnes and is up to 9 meters tall, make this period of construction even more interesting than the story of the Bluestones. According to some scientific investigations, more than 600 men were needed to move one stone. The sarsens were erected in an inner horseshoe and an outer circle. The bluestones from the previous stage were set up between them in a double arc.
The final stage of Stonehenge took place 3500 years ago as the bluestones were relocated in what we can still see today – the circle made of five trilithons in a horseshoe arrangement. Unfortunately, not all Bluestones remain in the circle, some of them were removed, some may be broken up, some are still lying on the ground.
Theories on “why” Stonehenge was Constructed?
Many people believe the Stonehenge was the place to celebrate the winter solstice. The location of the stones, and especially of the Heelstone is aligned with the sunrise during the summer solstice and the sunset during the winter solstice.
As already mentioned above, in this area were found cremated human bones and some objects like incense bowl and a mace (ancient symbol for elite society) so it might be that Stonehenge was a burial ground for the elite.
Because of the fact that many of the skeletons found near Stonehenge were from people with some kind of illness or injury, some of the scientists guess that the purpose of Stonehenge was to be a sacred place for ancient healing.
And some of my favourite hypothesis:
Merlin the Wizard created Stonehenge
During medieval times, many people believed that Merlin the Wizard created Stonehenge. This abstruse claim remained a trusted hypothesis for centuries.
Of course, the Devil itself. What else?
Because nobody could explain the transportation of the giant stones back in the days. So the most logical explanation was to prompt another paranormal explanation: the Devil Itself transported the stones from Wales to Salisbury.
… Stonehenge was an astronomical computer used to predict eclipses
… Stonehenge was built as a symbol of peace and unity
… Stonehenge was a landing pad for ancient space aliens
… Stonehenge was part of a ritual landscape which celebrated the path from life to death
And what is your theory to believe? Here is the latest archaeological research reported by BBC “We may have cracked the mystery of Stonehenge” – maybe the truth is out there?!
Continue reading this series:
30 Fascinating Facts About Oxford
On the second day of our Phi Phi Islands trip, we joined a full day speed boat tour to Bamboo