Stone Henge

Man has always been interested in mystery. Stonehenge is one of the most mysterious places that man has been interested in. Construction began on Stonehenge at about 2200 B.C. (Abels 9). The origin and uses of Stonehenge are still a great mystery.

Stonehenge is a ruin of a stone building. Stonehenge is the oldest pre-historic structure in western Europe. The name "Stonehenge" is Saxon in origin and means hanging stones. Stonehenge is visible from around one to two miles (Chippindale 12). It has a plain structure and at first glance Stonehenge appears to be a large pile of rocks. But when looked at more closely, it is a structure of great mystery. (Abels 5).

Stonehenge contains close to one hundred and sixty-five stones. All of the stones are arranged in a plain and simple manner. Stonehenge is not very large. It is only about thirty five paces or eighty feet wide. Stonehenge is three hundred and thirty feet above sea level and is eighty miles west of London. Stonehenge is located in Wiltshire in south central England. The closest town to Stonehenge is Amesbury. It is in the center of Salisbury Plains (Chippindale 10).

The pillars at Stonehenge are extraordinary. All of the stones appear gray in color, but their natural colors vary from mostly orange to brown or blue. Many lichens grow all over the stones. About one half of the original stone pillars are missing today. All of the joints that join the stone pillars together are dry stone joints. There was no wet sand or clay used to join the pillars together (Chippindale 12).

At Stonehenge there are five different types of stone circles. The five types are: outer sarsen circle, outer bluestone circles, inner sarsen trilithons, inner blue horseshoe, and the altar stone. The outer sarsen circle is one hundred feet in diameter. Each stone is about thirteen and a half feet tall and seven feet wide. The space between each of the stones is approximately four feet apart (Chippindale 12). The outer bluestone circle is close to seventy-five feet in diameter. Most of the stones height are six and a half feet or taller. The stones width are between three and four feet. The stones color is blue. Only six of the original sixty stones still remain standing straight. The others either lean or lie on their side. The inner sarsen trilithons lie just inside of the bluestone circle. Some call the inner sarsen trilithon the sarsen horseshoe. The trilithon is arranged symmetrically in a horseshoe shape and is about forty-five feet across. Their overall height is about twenty-four feet high. Three of the original trilithons still stand in tact today. All of the original stones that make up the trilithons are still at Stonehenge today (Chippindale 14).
Just inside the inner sarsen trilithon is the inner bluestone horseshoe. The stones start out at around six feet and increase in size moving south-west until they reach a maximum of eight feet. Six of the original nineteen stones that made the horseshoe are still in place (Chippindale 15). Towards the apex of the inner bluestone horseshoe is a single large slab of gray-green sandstone. This stone is called the altar stone. It is approximately sixteen feet long and lies on its side. It is broken into two pieces. The stone was believed to have once stood upright. The stone has been given nicknames like "Slaughter", "Heel", and "Station" (Chippindale 16).

The uses for Stonehenge has always been a vast mystery. No one knows for sure what Stonehenge uses were. A few possible uses for Stonehenge are as a temple, a burial site, and as a sundial. Some scientists believe that Stonehenge was once used as a temple. The scientists came to this conclusion due to the circular shape and the towering stones. Many people consider Stonehenge a holy place.

Over the last three hundred years druids have come to worship at Stonehenge. The druids consider Stonehenge their Religious Temple (Roop 38). From early digs at Stonehenge we know that Stonehenge was at least at one time used for burial ceremonies because of the human remains that were found at Stonehenge (Roop 30). Some scientists believe that Stonehenge was used as some sort of sundial to tell the time ,