Stonehenge – A mystery of pre-history

There is so much history and there are so many theories behind Stonehenge that this blog could run for hundreds of pages, but of course I won’t do that here.

I was lucky enough to visit Stonehenge and it really is something to see. Located in the county of Wiltshire, England, the stone structure is one of the most famous sites in the world. With stones so large and the bottoms buried deep in the earth, it’s a wonder how pre-historic humans in 2000-3000 BC built this structure.

I couldn’t help but feel sad that this beautiful monument is sandwiched between two highways. Cars are swishing by and the stones stand in the middle of an open field. Hundreds of visitors fill the car park and then take the underground passage over to Stonehenge. There is a rope barrier (restricted access only implemented since 1978) which keeps visitors a good distance away from the stones. I wouldn’t want to get so close that I could touch the stones because to me they seem like a sacred object of humanity. Having studied anthropology I know that humans tend to destroy historic sites just by walking on the land, leaving garbage behind and touching things that should be left in peace.

Before you go through the passage under the highway, you are given an audio guide. There are numbered markers that go around the perimeter of Stonehenge and you learn about the history and see other landmarks in the surrounding area when you are in the right spot.

There are a few specifically placed stones around Stonehenge. For example, the Heel Stone, also known as the Friar’s Stone or Sun Stone, lies outside the main entrance of the monument leaning inwards and when standing in Stonehenge and facing northeast towards the Heel Stone, the sun can be seen rising above the stone during summer solstice.

Heel Stone

Huge burial mounds can be seen in the distance and there are other pre-historic structures in the region, such as Woodhenge. Excavations at Stonehenge over the years have lead to more information, including the retrieval of axes, daggers, charred wood, animal bones, and pottery. What I find fascinating in the naturally occurring avenue leading to the entrance of Stonehenge. It could be that the avenue was already showing through the ground in pre-history and perhaps this is why Stonehenge was built where it was.

burial mound

Some very interesting facts about the structure are the details. In the outer circle, the upright stones has two “bumps” carved to fit into the two “holes” carved into the top stones. They look like a giant’s lego pieces. Furthermore, the top stones were carved into a curve so that they formed a circle. There are also carvings on the stones of many axes, a knife and dagger. There is evidence that Stonehenge was pre-planned. It started with excavations of the ditch for the upright stones and then the building followed in stages.

"A giant's lego pieces"

Many theories have been proposed for the purpose of the Stonehenge. People question as to whether it was it to study astronomy or for a religious purpose?

I encourage you to go visit it while you can because it seems that the original monument will soon be left to only a few standing stones. Perhaps they will restore it again one day, but it will never be the same as it once was: mysteriously constructed by our ancestors.

Have you visited a historic site? What impression(s) did it leave on you?

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About Nicole Basaraba

Nicole Basaraba is a Canadian writer focusing on topics of travel (Mondays), writing and literature (Wednesdays), lifestyle (Fridays) and her experiences living in the capital city of Europe: Brussels, Belgium.
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8 Responses to Stonehenge – A mystery of pre-history

  1. STUNNING!! I’ve never been and have always wanted to visit Stonehenge. Now I feel like I got to see it through your eyes. What it must have been like to be there in person. Wow.
    I’ve never been to any historic sites and would love to. They are so incredibly fascinating with our questions of “how” and “WHY”?!?!?! Amazing!

  2. Doug says:

    “I encourage you to go visit it while you can because it seems that the original monument will soon be left to only a few standing stones.”

    How do you figure this? Stonehenge will always be as it is now….no bigger….no smaller. In the unlikely event that any stones collapse, they will almost certainly be re-erected. They will never restore it back to how it was 4000 years ago, that is not what archaeologists do these days. It would cause more harm than good.

    Incidentally, the road that goes right past the circle is due to be closed down and turfed over.

    • Its good to know that they will probably re-erect the stones if they fall, but like you said the original will never stand as it once did. I’m also glad to hear that they plan to close the road, I guess that will help preserve it quite a bit. Thanks for the comment.

  3. I visited Stonehenge in 2007 and it was magical. There’s definitely an energy around the place. Like you, I’m sad that the freeways are so close to this historic landmark. The corrosion the cars must be doing to the stones makes me sad. Why couldn’t they build them farther away? I mean, they are RIGHT there! When we drove up to the monument, it was Bam! Stonehenge is here. Still, once you go under the bridge you drift back in time and wonder again and again, how could they build it and why? I don’t think we’ll ever know, but it’s fun trying to figure it out.

  4. Very cool post. Thanks for sharing 🙂
    I’ve always wanted to visit Stonehenge. There is something very magical and breath taking about historical sites. I went to visit Mesa Verda in Colorado a few years ago and that’s a place that will stay with me forever. An ancient city built into a massive cave. It makes you realize how amazing human beings are 🙂

  5. Ambrosius says:

    Yes our incredible world heritage site Stonehenge 🙂
    Did you know that 140 human remains or more, have already been removed/returned and removed again by archaeologist 2008 from inside the henge at Stonehenge. Some of which, the Ancestors had ceremonially placed in the holes left in the ground when the ancients first lifted the bluestones and moved them in, closer to the sarsen stones?
    Did you know that there are many more people still buried in stonehenge but not for much longer as the archaeologist intend to dig them up as well…. with the main archaeologist on the project willing to campaign for them to never returned again to ground where the ancestors had intended them to be!
    And did you know that most(if not all) the Sarsen stones Have Concrete Base’s & cast iron steel under them put there when they did reconstruction between 1900 – 1962?
    Over the years they have even had cranes in Stonehenge to lift & readjust the lintels here and there ??..
    Peculiar that most people we talk to do not even realise Stonehenge itself is an ancient burial ground.
    You are right this place deserves our respect only we believe that these places, our world heritage sites, have been plundered enough and should, as much as possible be kept as our ancient ancestors intended!
    We feel it is not the people you should worry about damaging this ancient site any further, its the Archaeologist !!…

  6. Julie Glover says:

    This was fascinating, Nicole. I love history. I would also love to visit Stonehenge. Maybe someday.

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