Stonehenge is one of the most mysterious and interesting sights in the UK and perhaps even around the world.
Its fame is built on the mystery and legends around the purposes for which it was built. History Extra has made a list of 10 interesting information about this ancient construction.
1. It was built in stages
Archaeologists have concluded that the construction of the Stonehenge took place in stages. Thus, 5,000 years ago, it was just a simple flat structure where the ashes of the dead were buried. Only around 2500 BC, the stone monoliths that formed the complex were brought in.
2. Two types of stone were used in its construction
After analyzing the mineral structure and chemical composition of the stones that make up Stonehenge, the researchers concluded that two types of rocks were used in its construction. The first comes from a quarry at Malborough Downs, 32 miles away, while the second type of stone was extracted from Preseli Hills – a quarry situated 225-mile away, in Wales.
It is not known exactly the method used, the historians advancing several variants. Of all of the proposed variants, the most likely is the river transportation of the stones and on land, using logs or animals, from the place of extraction.
3. The sanctuary had two entrances
Experts working for English Heritage, the agency that deals with the cultural and archaeological heritage of Great Britain, explain that the sanctuary initially had two entrances. A large one towards the northern part and a smaller one, towards the southern part.
4. Includes 56 holes inside
The 56 holes are known as “Aubrey holes”, named after the person who in 1666 identified them. However, their purpose remains unclear, as experts believe they contained smaller stones.
5. It marks the beginning of major cultural changes in the lives of the inhabitants of the British Archipelago
The Stonehenge Sanctuary was built in a time when the material and spiritual life of prehistoric British people changed dramatically. Coming from Europe, the British learned new pottery and metallurgy techniques. There is also a change in the funeral rites. Thus, in the graves of the deceased, the relatives put objects for later life.
6. Roman artifacts discovered after archaeological excavations
A report from English Heritage reveals that as a result of the archeological excavations at Stonehenge, fewer medieval artifacts were discovered compared to those of the Roman period – a sign that the Middle Ages marked a more sporadic use of the sanctuary.
7. Stonehenge can be used as a calendar
Various studies on how the monoliths of the sanctuary are arranged suggest that it could be used as a calendar. In fact, using the magnetic deviation and the position of the Sun at certain times of the year, Dr. Halley managed in 1771 to estimate the age of the complex.
8. The medieval period did not leave the monument in oblivion
Studies on literary creations and documents from the Middle Ages show that it was mentioned by different sources, even under different names.
9. Charles Darwin explained the mystery of sinking monologues
In 1880, Charles Darwin concluded that the monolithic sinking phenomenon is caused by earthworms.
10. The twentieth century saw Stonehenge in a state of profound degradation
At the beginning of the century, the sanctuary was in a sad state and only after Cecil Chubb, the owner of the land on which Stonehenge is located, donated the area, historians and archeologists were able to start the conservation work.