How Did They Do That?

The mys­tery of the pre­his­toric site con­tin­ues to cap­ture the world’s imag­i­na­tion

History Revealed - - FROM THE EDITOR -

Find out why the mys­te­ri­ous Stone­henge was re­ally built

Con­struc­tion of Stone­henge is be­lieved to have started about 5,000 years ago. Ini­tially, a timber cir­cle was erected, which was re­placed with stones around 2600 BC dur­ing the late Ne­olithic pe­riod. The mon­u­ment sits at the cen­tre of an an­cient rit­ual land­scape, and is joined to an­other nearby henge via both an earth­work av­enue and the River Avon. Dur­ing the Bronze Age, de­pic­tions of axe-heads and dag­gers were carved into its stones – a pre­his­toric dis­play of power. De­bate rages over who ex­actly built it and for what pur­pose. Most ex­perts be­lieve its chief func­tion was as a tem­ple for so­lar wor­ship.

THE LAY­OUT The cen­tral mon­u­ment was built to align with key ce­les­tial events and nat­u­ral phe­nom­ena. NE­OLITHIC CAL­EN­DAR The mon­u­ment’s ori­en­ta­tion frames the ris­ing Sun dur­ing the sum­mer sol­stice and the set­ting Sun dur­ing the win­ter sol­stice. Th­ese pre­dictable events were clearly of tremen­dous sig­nif­i­cance to Stone­henge’s cre­ators. FIRST RING The course of the Sun The course of the Moon SEC­OND RING AL­TAR STONE THIRD RING NE­OLITHIC ART Sev­eral stones fea­ture carv­ings of pre­his­toric tools and weaponry. SARSEN STONE The larger stones are a type of sand­stone com­mon across south­ern Eng­land. IN­NER RING

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