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Uncover the Mystery of Stonehenge

by Akhil Kalepu

Nov 13, 2014

Stonehenge, United Kingdom © Albo | Dreamstime


When European history is discussed, it is often centered on empires and the Age of Discovery. English and European history stretches far before the empires of the second millennium, and the prime example of this time is Stonehenge, the pre-historic monument located in Wiltshire, England.


Stonehenge is what remains from a set of standing stones, with radiocarbon dating suggesting they were erected between 2400 and 2200 BC. The site is located in a complex filled with monuments and burial mounds from the Neolithic and Bronze Age. The people that built the monument left behind no records, making the function and construction an unsolved mystery.


There are a number of hypotheses about what Stonehenge was used for. Two leading theories suggest the site was either a healing site or used for funerals. There are a high number of burial mounds around the area, and remains have been uncovered on the site. Isotope analysis revealed remains coming from all over Europe, many of them with trauma disfigurement, leading some to theorize that the site was believed to have healing properties.


The healing hypotheses tie into theories surrounding the site’s use of bluestones.  The term is a catchall for stone that is foreign to the area. Stonehenge is known for having interesting acoustics, with some of the stones giving off a ringing sound when struck. Some ancient cultures believed rocks with such musical properties had mystical powers, explaining why some of these bluestones were transported from almost 200 miles away.


Other theories suggest the site was a sort of calendar, with features designed to predict celestial events like the equinox, which might have been central to the religions at the time. Others believe Stonehenge was more ritual in nature, due to the fact that at the time of construction, the Neolithic people of England were experiencing a cultural unification.


Stonehenge is now owned by the Crown and is managed by English Heritage. Due to erosion, visitors are no longer permitted to touch or walk amongst the stones. English Heritage does allow access for private bookings, as well as special events held during the summer and winter solstice, and the spring and fall equinox. To learn more about visiting Stonehenge, visit the site’s portal on English-Heritage.com.



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