The earliest construction of Stonehenge may have begun in 3100 BC. The purpose of Stonehenge is not clearly known. Evidence indicates that it was used as a burial ground. Other theories suggest that it was a healing place or an astronomical calendar.
Photo: England’s Stonehenge may date back to 3100 BC (Creative Commons: Neil Howard).
Periods of Construction
Stonehenge is located in Wiltshire, England. It is just one of many other monuments in the area. These monuments were created during the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. The first phase of construction took place in 3100 BC. At that time, Stonehenge was not much more than a round earth bank and ditch.
The second phase of construction occurred in 3000 BC. The English monument had now become a burial ground. It held the cremated remains of about 60 individuals. Post holes indicate that some kind of wooden structure existed within the burial ground.
The third phase of construction took place in 2600 BC. At that time, the well-known stone monoliths were erected. As many as 80 stones were erected. Each of these stones were about 2 meters high and up to 1.5 meters wide. One of the entrances was aligned to the sunrise in mid-summer and sunset in mid-winter. Stonehenge’s design now included the ability to predict celestial events such as the solstices.
Later, much larger stones were erected. These stones stood 4.1 meters high and 2.1 meters wide. In the centuries that followed, the stones were rearranged.
Purpose of Stonehenge
The evidence clearly indicates that Stonehenge was a burial site. Some scientists believe that Stonehenge could also have been a healing site. This is based on the fact that some of the skeletal remains show deformities.
Others suggest that the monoliths is some sort of an astronomical calendar. The calendar was able to predict the longest and shortest days of the year.
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Stonehenge Landscape, National Trust.
The Secret Behind Stonehenge Mystery: Ringing Rocks, Forbes.
Who Built Stonehenge? History.