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Stonehenge

Stonehenge todayStonehenge was built about 4500 years ago on Salisbury Plain in southern England. It consists of two circles of 82 standing stones, one circle inside another. Large capping stones, called lintels, rest on top of them. The outer circle of standing stones are each around 4.1 metres (13 feet) high, 2.1 metres (7 feet) wide and weigh around 25 tonnes. Surrounding the stone circles are a circular ditch and banks. Many of the stones at Stonehenge still stand today.



Southern ditch and bank of Stonehenge Cursus, earthworks near Stonehenge dating to 3500 BC

Earlier structures 

The earliest structures at Stonehenge—pits in the ground, some of which once held large wooden posts—date back to between 8500 and 7000 BC. At that time, when much of the rest of southern England was covered by woodland, the chalk downland around Stonehenge may have been an open, grassy landscape. This might explain why the location was chosen as a sacred site. Earthworks, including several long barrows (mounds of earth or stone, probably built as tombs), and enclosures, were built in the area around 3500 BC.
A plan showing the first phase of building at Stonehenge: the circular ditch and inner and outer banks. Within the inner bank is...Read More >>A plan showing the first phase of building at Stonehenge: the circular ditch and inner and outer banks. Within the inner bank is a circle of 56 pits, each about a metre (3 ft 3 in) in diameter (shown here as white spots). These are known as the Aubrey holes. They may have been used to erect a circle of bluestones 500 years before the rest of Stonehenge was built.

Circular ditch

Four of the sarsens at Stonehenge are covered with hundreds of carvings. Most of them are depictions of axe-heads as well as a few daggers. They date from about 1750–1500 BC, during the Bronze Age in Britain.

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