Stonehenge is one of the most mysterious and fascinating ancient monuments in the world. Located in Wiltshire, England, it is a prehistoric structure believed to have been built over 4,500 years ago. It has long been the subject of archaeological study, inspiring theories about its purpose and construction. Here are 10 interesting facts about Stonehenge that you may not have known.
1. Stonehenge is a stone circle in Wiltshire, England
Stonehenge is a stone circle made up of 38 stones on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.
2. It was built 5000 years ago
Archaeologists think work started on Stone Henge around 5,000 years ago, in a period of history we call the late Neolithic Age.
3. It took 1,000 years to build
It then took over 1,000 years to build, in four long stages! Archaeologists believe the final changes were made around 1,500BC, in the early Bronze Age.
4. Scientists think that the stones were a way to tell the time of year
Each year, on 21 June, which is the longest day of the year, the sun rises over the Heel Stone at Stonehenge -this is called the summer solstice. The sun also always sets over the Heel Stone on the shortest day of the year.
This means that our ancestors were probably using Stonehenge as a calendar. There are lots of theories about how the placement of the stones would coincide to their months, seasons and years.
5. Stonehenge is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
A World Heritage Site is a landmark with legal protection for having cultural, historical or scientific importance. Stonehenge is one of the most famous prehistoric landmarks in the world and has great historical significance.
6. Nobody knows for sure how the stones were moved to Stonehenge
How the stones were moved to the Stonehenge site is a mystery that still hasn’t been solved.
We know some of the stones came from Wales – that’s a long way to transport stones that weigh more than 4 elephants each .
Some theories are that they were dragged on sleighs before being taken on rafts over water but this has never been proven.
7. In the 12th Century there was a rumour Stonehenge was moved by a wizard
A legend from the 12th century claimed giants placed Stonehenge on a mountain in Ireland before a wizard named Merlin magically moved the stone circle to England.
8. New research suggests Stonehenge was once in Wales
New research shows that this stone circle may have been made and standing in Wales before being moved! This would have been very hard work – and means that these stones must have been very important to them.
9. Each year people gather at Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice and be present at stone henge as the sun rises
Every year on the 21st June around 20,000 people watch the sunrise over Stonehenge.
10. We know Stonehenge was used as a cemetery
Archeologists have worked out that Stonehenge was used as a cemetery and it’s likely funeral ceremonies would have been performed at the site – though why those who passed away were buried here no one is quite sure.
Some people think stone henge was also a place of healing where people believed Stonehenge had powers.
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