Many places in this world receive many visitors and are considered important tourist attractions. Some places are popular due to their natural beauty, while others are popular as they have some unique man-made features in them. There are still other places that are a combination of both these qualities. Stonehenge is a monument that belongs to the prehistoric era.
The word Stonehenge actually comes from the old English words. The term literally means stone hinge. This name was given to this monument because the lintels of stone actually hinge on the other stones standing upright. Many scientists and archeologists have studied this piece of work in great detail. It is noticed by a lot of them that there are signs of remaking this monument. The changes that have occurred as a result of this are evident. Stonehenge's current shape and form have been reached by going through a lot of changes and phases.
A World Heritage Site
The site is a famous tourist attraction. It is considered one of those important sites not only to the local area but also to humankind. This is the reason that the site is on the list of World Heritage Sites. It was added to the list by UNESCO, and that was back in 1986. This monument is legally protected. It entered the list of World Heritage Sites alongside another similar site. Overbuy henge monument is also a legally protected site. English Heritage is managing Stonehenge as the official managing body. The owner of the surrounding land of this site is National Trust.
This monument is located in Wiltshire, which is a county in England in the UK. The monument is located at a distance of almost 8 miles from Salisbury in the north. Stonehenge happens to be one of the oldest and well maintained prehistoric sites in the world. It is a top-rated tourist resort, and many people from all parts of the globe come to visit it. Actually, Stonehenge is made up of Earthworks. These Earthworks are surrounding some standing stones. These standing stones are arranged circularly. It is believed that this monument is prehistoric, and the stones are there from 2200 BC.
Directly from ancient history
The earliest phase of the monument is believed to belong to 3100BC. Even if Stonehenge is generally considered a hinge site, many archeology definitions are proof against this statement. It is not a true hinge site, in fact. The technical reason behind this fact is that the bank of this hinge site is within its ditch. In this situation, archeologists do not call such a site a hinge site. Apparently, it does look like a hinge site, but Stonehenge is not a true hinge site.
Although in appearance, Stonehenge has many things in common with the typical hinge monuments, it has many features which make it unique. Stonehenge stands out of the crowd due to many specific features. The Trilithons are one of the examples. These are unique features possessed by Stonehenge, which is not always there in the hinge monuments of the world.
As per the historical evidence, the Stonehenge complex took many years and many phases to reach its current form. It was built in many eras. The construction phases have been several. These phases are spread over a period of more than three thousand years in all. The site has been important in one way or the other for the past sixty-five hundred years. The major part of the construction took place in the past 3000 years, but evidence proves that people were interested in this site, and some parts of this monument were built even earlier than that.
Complex archeological site
From the point of view of Archeology, Stonehenge is not a very simple site. It is usually not very easy to judge the age of such a monument. It is even more difficult in the case of this monument as it has historical proof of being built in several phases. The archeologists have to conduct in-depth studies to prove any small part of this monument's actual age. The task in itself is challenging, and it has been made more difficult by the problems like the records which have not been kept properly.
Stonehenge developed through many phases. It has reached its current form over a period of more than three thousand years. This is a huge time span to talk about. The monument was first built after 8000 BC. There is no proof of the existence of any part of this monument before that. The first phase of construction of this monument was somewhere around 3100BC. It was reconstructed and expanded in 3000BC. There are proofs that Stonehenge's reconstruction and expansion took place in almost 4 or 5 other phases till 1600 BC.
Legends and myths
The site is not only a beautiful and unique site of its kind; it is also one of those sites which have lots of myths attached to it. One of the famous stones in this monument, the Hell stone, has a myth attached to it: a Devil got that stone from Ireland. It was in possession of a woman then brought her to this plain area. The devil was happy that no one would judge where this stone came from, but a friar said that people would know about it. The devil was angry and threw a stone towards that friar. That stone still stands there. Many other myths are related to Stonehenge.