SU1242 : Stonehenge

taken 9 years ago, near to Larkhill, Wiltshire, Great Britain

This is 1 of 68 images, with title Stonehenge in this square
Stonehenge is probably Britain’s most important and famous prehistoric monument in the whole of Britain (indeed, one of the most famous sites in the World) and has attracted and continues attract thousands of visitors every year from across the globe.

Stonehenge is composed of a circular setting of large standing stones set within earthworks. It is at the centre of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.

Radiocarbon dating in 2008 suggested that the first stones were erected in 2400–2200 BC whilst The dating of cremated remains found in the surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have indicated that this was in existence from as early as 3000 BC.

Stonehenge’s original purpose and is unclear to us. Some have speculated that it was a temple made for the worship of ancient earth deities; it has been called an astronomical observatory for marking significant events on the prehistoric calendar; others claim that it was a sacred site for the burial of high-ranking citizens from the societies of long ago. The stones are aligned almost perfectly with the sunrise on the summer solstice, adding credence to the idea that Stonehenge was built as a spectacular place of worship and, although the faith of the Stonehenge builders predates any known religion, the site has become a place of pilgrimage and worship for Neopagans who identify themselves with the Druids or other forms of Celtic paganism. It is also popular with New Age devotees.

The true meaning of this ancient, awe-inspiring creation has been lost in the mists of time and we can't say with certainty what its original purpose was. However, it must have been something very important to the ancients to make it worth the enormous investment of energy and effort that must have gone into the construction Stonehenge. How did our ancestors manage to carry the mighty stones from so far away and then, using only the most primitive of tools, build this amazing structure?

The current site, awe-inspiring as it is, is only part of the original Stonehenge. The original construction has suffered a great deal from both weather damage and human pillage. Many of the original stones have fallen or been removed by previous generations for home construction or road repair. There has been serious damage to some of the smaller bluestones resulting from close visitor contact. When Stonehenge was first opened to the public it was possible to walk amongst and even climb on the stones, but the stones were roped off in 1977 as a result of serious erosion. Visitors are no longer permitted to touch the stones, but are able to walk around the monument from a short distance away (which has the added benefit of making it easier to photograph the monument).

Stonehenge and its surroundings are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nationally, it is a legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage, while the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.

LinkExternal link Stonehenge (English Heritage)
LinkExternal link (Archive LinkExternal link )
LinkExternal link Stonehenge (Wikipedia)
LinkExternal link Stonehenge (Sacred Destinations)
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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SU1242, 353 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Tuesday, 7 August, 2012   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 14 August, 2012
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Religious sites  Burial ground, Crematorium 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 1224 4221 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:10.7397N 1:49.5766W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 1223 4223
View Direction
South-southeast (about 157 degrees)
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Image classification(about): Geograph
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