Stonehenge is a mysterious structure in the center of Wiltshire, England. Its colossal sandstone blocks, intricately arranged in concentric circles, have intrigued visitors for centuries. Who were its builders? Why did they build it? What does it mean? Are there any clues as to its true purpose?

This article looks at the science and history of Stonehenge, uncovering its origins and some of the theories surrounding its construction and purpose. From modern-day archaeologists to Neolithic farmers, discover the possible explanation behind this mysterious megalith.

Location and Layout of Stonehenge

Stonehenge is located just off the A360 on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England. Built on a bank and ditch surrounding the henge, the visible stone circle is what remains of the arrangement of stones that make up Stonehenge. Initially consisting of just a ditch and bank, it is thought that the ditch would have been constructed first to enclose a region of open ground before then using stones to create standing and fallen circles of stones making up the inner and outer circles of Stonehenge.

Constructing Stonehenge

Archaeologists have long debated how the megaliths of Stonehenge were constructed and transported. One of the most significant theories is that the stones were quarried in the Preseli Mountains and then transported by a combination of river, sea and land routes onto the site.

The stones were then thought to be hauled alive with a system of roller logs, numerous ropes, and a large, wooden causeway. These logs would have been cut into small pieces, making them easier to move and manipulate, making it possible for the huge stones to be moved with relative ease over a number of miles.

The stones are thought to have been then placed in various positions by possibly hundreds of men, who would have used pulleys, levers, and muscle as well as ingenuity.

Theories About Who Built Stonehenge

While it is unknown who was responsible for Stonehenge’s construction, history sheds light on many theories about those responsible for this colossal feat of engineering.

Modern Archaeologists

Modern Archaeologists believe the structure was built by Neolithic farmers between 3000 and 2000 B.C. They suggest the stones were a part of a special religious ceremony and could have been used both to honor the dead and to observe the sun.

Early Historians

Early historians often cited giants and druids as being responsible for Stonehenge’s construction. This was thought to followed the building of the classic circles of Wat’s Dyke, a defensive earthwork to the north of the Salisbury Plain, of the same construction as Stonehenge.

Proponents of this theory suggested that the druids moved the stones to their current location following the Dyke’s construction and used them to commemorate their work.

Modern Druids

Modern Druids continue to visit Stonehenge every year at the Summer Solstice and suggest it was a temple for the practice of their ancient religion.

The Popular Theories About the Purpose of Stonehenge

While it is unknown why exactly Stonehenge was built, there are several popular theories about the purpose of this wondrous structure.

Ceremonial Center

The most common theory is that Stonehenge was used as a ceremonial center or a place of worship. It is believed that the stones were positioned in such a way that allowed people to observe the sun, moon and stars but there is no definitive evidence as to who, or what they were worshipping.

Astronomical Observatory

Some scientific researchers suggest that Stonehenge was used to observe the celestial movements, to predict the movement of animals, forecast harvests, and even forecast the weather.

Burial Ground

Stonehenge is also thought to have been megalithic burial ground, with the remains of some 60 humans discovered scattered among the stones. It is theorized that these remains belonged to those involved in Stonehenge’s construction and thought to be of noble birth.

Stonehenge is a fascinating structure with an interesting history and has puzzled archaeologists and historians for centuries. Who knows what mysteries remain hidden within the megaliths – hopefully one day the extraordinary history of Stonehenge will be completely understood.