During our trip, we paid a visit to Stonehenge. This huge stone circle was very impressive and definitely worth seeing. Unfortunately, vandalism and general wear and tear have taken their toll, and visitors are no longer allowed to walk among the stones. It’s always sad when monuments and sites that have played such a huge role in human history are damaged or even destroyed by present-day humans.

Even though we couldn’t walk through the monoliths, what we were able to see from the places we were allowed to go was imposing and fascinating. Stonehenge is probably one of the best known sites in England. The huge stone structures have stood in the same place for thousands of years; it’s believed that the stones were erected in about 2500 B.C.

Even before that, Stonehenge was an important site to the ancient people of England. For about five hundred years, the place consisted of a ditch dug into the earth, with timber or stone posts. It’s believed it was used as a crematory until the current standing stones were put into place.

Scientists aren’t entirely sure how the current stones were brought to Stonehenge. The larger ones, called sarsen stones, are believed to come from a location about 20 miles from Stonehenge, while the smaller ones, bluestones, are believed to be from Wales. While it’s possible that glaciers moved the bluestones, scientific research indicates that they were moved by men over the 250 kilometer distance--but no one is sure how this might have been done.

Another thing that research has been unable to definitively establish is what Stonehenge was originally intended for. The one thing that is definite is that part of it was originally used for cremations. But as for the standing stones, theories and interpretations vary.

Some believe it might have been constructed to predict certain astronomical phenomena, such as eclipses. People have also theorized that it might have been a Druidic temple, a site for healing, or a location for the ancient people to worship their ancestors. Nowadays, most scientists and researchers agree that Stonehenge was a temple designed to align with movements of the sun.

Because of the historical significance of Stonehenge, in 1986 it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. As part of the preservation efforts, some improvements have been planned, like diverting ugly roads and the tourist tunnels, with an aim toward restoring a more natural look by 2009, ten years after our visit.

Johnny Monsarrat: Amy at Stonehenge. Amy at Stonehenge. Johnny Monsarrat: Stonehenge Stonehenge
Johnny Monsarrat: A tourist horde, including us,
A tourist horde, including us, prevented quiet reflection on the ancient people who built Stonehenge
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