Whoever thought a group of stones could be so fascinating? One of the most famous and enigmatic monuments in the world, Stonehenge has been captivating people for thousands of years. Built by prehistoric people for reasons that historians still can’t agree upon, the structure is made up of gigantic stones that form a broken circle.
Located on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, in the English countryside, Stonehenge is as full of mystery today as it ever was. But there are some facts that we do know for certain about the iconic stone circle. Keep reading to find out what they are!
10 The Structure Was Once A Complete Circle
Stonehenge, as it appears today, is one of the most recognizable sights in the world. But you might not recognize it if you lived thousands of years ago since it looked a little different. Archeologists discovered evidence that suggests the structure was once a complete circle.
In 2014, there was a drought in the area, the conditions of which revealed several patchy marks in the land around the structure where there were once other stones. There’s much we still don’t know about the landmark, but experts are pretty sure it was once a circle!
9 The Stones Have Great Acoustics
As it turns out, the monument might be one of the best places to hold a concert. The stones possess their own distinct acoustic properties. When they are hit, they emit a loud sound that resembles a big ring.
Sometimes referred to as “ringing rocks”, these stones were revered in some ancient cultures because it was believed that they possess strong healing powers. This characteristic could have something to do with the origins of the monument, as well as its original intended purpose. Some historians believe it was once a place thought to heal people who visited.
8 Nobody Knows For Sure How It Was Assembled
Much of the facts surrounding Stonehenge remain a mystery. As it stands, nobody in the modern world knows for sure exactly how the stones came to take their current position. The lighter stones of the structure weigh the same as two cars, while the bigger ones are equivalent to four fully grown African elephants. Without advanced industrial technology, how did they assemble these stones together?
Medieval folk believed that the wizard Merlin moved the stones to England from Ireland. Modern archeologists theorize, however, that the stones were dragged on sledges or water rafts.
7 It Wasn’t Built All At Once
With our modern technology, we’re used to buildings being constructed over a matter of months or years. It’s hard to grasp that in past eras, structures took a lot longer to build and fully develop. In the case of Stonehenge, we’re talking about 1000 years between the time prehistoric people started building it and the time the final touches were made.
Archeologists believe that Stonehenge was built in four stages, beginning in the late Neolithic period. The finishing stage took place in the early Bronze Age, around 1,500 B.C.
6 The Stones Attract Many Types Of Birds
Just ask those who work at the Stonehenge Visitor Center and they’ll tell you that the stones seem to attract birds of every kind. This is probably more to do with the fact that they provide a convenient perch rather than that they have any kind of magical allure, but you never know!
Among the birds that routinely flock to the stones are rooks, who also recognize the faces of workers who feed them regularly. While visiting the monument, you might also happen across seagulls, kestrel, swallows, pigeons, bustards, goldfinches, carrion crows, and buzzards.
5 Ancient People Used It As A Cemetery
There is so much that we don’t know about the history of Stonehenge—and so much that we might not ever know. But there is one thing that experts do agree on and know for a fact: the grounds were used as a cemetery at some point. According to Nat Geo Kids, there are around 200 people buried on the grounds, including men, women, and children.
It’s been suggested that not only were people (and their ashes) buried at the site, but funeral ceremonies were also held here in ancient times.
4 There Was A Battle Over It
Like other famous landmarks, Stonehenge has been the subject of tension, controversy, and even conflict. A battle was fought over the monument in 1985, which lasted for several hours. Known as the Battle of the Beanfield, it was essentially a clash between police and travelers who were trying to set up the Stonehenge Free Festival. They were stopped at a roadblock nearby on their way to the stones, and that’s where confrontation broke out.
The incident ended up being one of the biggest mass arrests in history. In the end, 537 travelers were arrested and eight police officers were hospitalized.
3 A Businessman Bought Stonehenge At Auction
It’s difficult to believe that there was a time when an average citizen actually owned Stonehenge. Cecil Chubb purchased the landmark in the early 20thcentury. The businessman only intended to buy a few dining chairs at the auction. He definitely walked away with more than he bargained for!
Chubb bought Stonehenge for £6,600 but only owned it for three years before handing it over to the Ministry of Works. It was only under his possession for three years, but that’s still pretty remarkable.
2 There Was A Time Where Tourists Could Climb On The Stones
Not only was it once possible for everyday people to own Stonehenge (if they had enough money), but tourists were once able to get a lot more up close and personal with the monument than they’re allowed to today. People were actually allowed to climb on the stones all the way up to 1977 when it became prohibited.
The decision to prohibit climbing on the stones was made after archeologists realized that the stones were eroding significantly due to their constant interaction with humans. Early in the 1900s, people were even given chisels of the stones to take as souvenirs.
1 The Romans Visited Stonehenge
Stonehenge is certainly a fascinating and iconic site in the modern world, and it was also a point of interest for ancient people. We know that Romans were present at the monument because excavations have brought up pottery, coins, stones, and metal items from Roman society.
The medieval people knew about Stonehenge as well and had their own theories as to how it originated—most commonly revolving around the wizard Merlin. But there were fewer medieval artifacts discovered at the site, suggesting that people from this period used or visited Stonehenge less frequently.