Sure, seeing it in person is great, but this will tide you over until you can plan a trip.
Stonehenge has all the makings of a bucket list destination: history, a dash of mystery, and a prime photo opp. The rock formations have been around for more than 5,000 years, according to History.com.
The entire site is made up of 100 upright stones all arranged in a circle. Scientists and researchers have not decided on one specific use for this site (enter: the mystery!), but many think it served as some sort of burial ground.
All in all, archeologists have estimated that the construction of this site took around 1,500 years to complete and was carried out by a number of people. Those people, according to The Bradshaw Foundation — an organization specializing in historic rock art and cave paintings — were the Windmill Hill people, who originated in the area where you can now find Stonehenge; the Beaker people, hailing from what is now Spain; and the Wessex people, a nomadic group known as the most advanced culture located outside of the Mediterranean region during the Bronze Age.
The origin of the stones is also a bit of a mystery. According to the Bradshaw Foundation, some of the first stones were tracked back to the Preseli Mountains in Southwest Wales. This would have been quite a move given the transportation of these stones was completed in a time when the modern wheel had not yet been introduced.
Another note about the construction of the stones: All of the rock formations are perfectly horizontal to the ground, despite a slight slope, displaying an impressive knowledge of carpentry without a selection of tools. The top stones — called lintels — were lifted and carefully placed atop pairs of stones that are anchored in the ground. This surely required a creative placement method. To ensure that the lintels stayed in place for centuries to come, small “mortises,” or tabs, were added to the anchored stones and placed in a carved hole in each lintel.
And it seems that Stonehenge isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, the local government attempted to receive a green light for building a tunnel underneath Stonehenge to help create a better environment for visitors (less honking cars, more meditative views). The verdict is still out on that — researchers and archaeologists are worried about damaging the surrounding area — but here’s hoping this world wonder has a long lifetime of visitors ahead.
This should add a little more reference (and fuel) to your Stonehenge wanderlust. But if you’re looking for more, read on for some stunning photos of Stonehenge.