• 11 March 2017

Stonehenge is a British icon, a fascinating remnant of the ancient world and an incredible place to visit on a tour of Great Britain. This prehistoric ruin has been drawing visitors to its megalithic stones for centuries and also happens to have a delicious mystery at its core – unlike other famous landmarks, such as the Egyptian pyramids, we’re still not completely sure what purpose it served when it was first erected…

Here’s what we do know: The structure originally comprised 30 upright stones, each approximately 5½ meters in height and 2 meters in width, of which only 17 stones remain standing today. Some have sizable lintels resting on their tops, and there are smaller upright stones (also capped with lintels) that form an inner ring. There also used to be a structure in the shape of a horseshoe at the centre, around a pillar called the altar stone.

Sufficiently intrigued yet? You haven’t heard the half of it! Over the years, plenty of highly qualified (and heavily curious) people, including some of the world’s foremost historians and archaeologists, have poked and prodded around the site to see if they could surmise what exactly its purpose was. Here are some of the most plausible, and somewhat entertaining, theories that exist regarding the intended purpose of Stonehenge:

  • It was used as a burial ground – a theory backed up by the discovery of cremated human remains at the site.
  • It was built by Merlin to commemorate knights slain in battle against Saxon invaders.
  • It was used as an astronomical observatory – supported by the fact that setting midwinter sun and rising midsummer sun shines through the heart of the monument and down the avenue that leads to it.
  • It was a congregation spot for seasonal festivals/gatherings – supported by the fact that nearby archaeological excavations showed that the area was inhabited by vast numbers of people at the time that the stones are thought to have been erected. The cattle remains left behind from the same time have been subjected to chemical analysis, which found that these animals came from all over what is now modern-day Britain and most were slaughtered during midsummer and midwinter.

Whatever theory happens to be correct, it’s also possible that the site was used for a variety of purposes over the course of its lifetime, in much the same way that it fulfils a number of purposes today. These days Stonehenge is not only a well-known tourist attraction, but also a place of religious importance for modern-day Druids, and a destinations for scientific study as we uncover the details of the lives of those who went before us

Take a day-trip to Stonehenge or see it on a tour of Britain to discover this incredible site for yourself!

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