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Free History For Your Report
Stonehenge, located about eight miles from Salisbury in Amesbury, England, is a monument from the Bronze Age. It largely consists of a variety of stones carved from the earth that are arranged in a circle, set in a fashion that reflects the monument’s prehistoric building. It is not known for sure when this monument was built, but archaeologists and scientists believe that it was somewhere between 2500 and 2000 BCE, however the ground surrounding the actual structures was first modified back in 3100 BCE. Part of the mystery surrounding Stonehenge is what it’s original purposes were – and this is confusing even when looking at the actual name, “Stonehenge.” In the old English, “Stone,” of course, means “stone,” but scientists and scholars cannot agree rather “Henge” refers to “something hanging on a hinge” (like a door), or “Hencen,” meaning “gallow.” Back in the Medieval days of Europe (which came far after the building of Stonehenge), gallows were built very similar to how Stonehenge is built – with two supporting sides holding up a central beam.
The creation of Stonehenge, likewise, is not a simple story. Scientists claim that it took over 2,000 years to complete the monument, with it being developed in phases. It is agreed that this site was of some common religious, scientific, or ritual significance, and the actual erection of the stones was just one point in the history of the site. The first development, commonly referred to as Stonehenge I, was created in 3100 BCE and consisted of little more than a large, circular ditch. Placed in this large ditch (for reasons unknown) were bones of animals that had been long-deceased.
The next few phases of the Stonehenge site, commonly referred to as Stonehenge 2 – Stonehenge 3 II, consisted of little more than wood structures being built in rings and horseshoe-shapes, and than finally a few smaller stones that were constructed in the horseshoe shape. The center of the ring featured five, upright stones, that were etched with markings; it is unclear if these markings were scientific or ceremonial in nature. Between 2280 and 1930 BCE, the stones, called Blue Stones, were added, completing a circle
formation and an oval formation in the center of the circle. Not too long after, during Stonehenge V, the northeastern most portion of the circle was removed, for unknown reasons. After this final building phase, Stonehenge remained used well into the Iron Age, as is evidenced by the discovery of Roman coins and skeletal remains, including those of Saxon men who had been decapitated.
The one things that every age, and potential use, of Stonehenge has in common is that no people group kept accurate records of events held at the location or the location’s exact purpose. The burial of long-dead animals, human remains, and the constant modification of the stones themselves lend Stonehenge to a variety of different theories. In the early days of Stonehenge’s discovery by the general public, people believed the surrounding townsfolk’ claims that the Devil or Merlin the Wizard were responsible for the building of these giant stone blocks. It was not until 1630 that the first scientific, academic-oriented study was conducted on Stonehenge, by John Aubrey. He, along with the Reverend William Stukeley, had come to the decision that Stonehenge was built as an astronomical map, and was the creation of a group of Celtic priests called Druids. Ever since then, the archaeological and scientific communities have been trying to find the correct answer, and reasons why, Stonehenge was built. However, the answer still eludes even the most educated of researchers. Today, Stonehenge is a site of continued study, as well as a popular tourists site in England. A new heritage site, to help visitors and locales alike gain a stronger appreciation of the monument, started construction in 2006.
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