Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites. Outstanding Universal Value Brief synthesis The World Heritage property Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites is internationally important for its complexes of outstanding prehistoric monuments. Stonehenge is the most architecturally sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the world, while Avebury is the largest. Together with inter-related monuments, and their associated landscapes, they demonstrate Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and mortuary practices resulting from around 2000 years of continuous use and monument building between circa 3700 and 1600 BC.
As such they represent a unique embodiment of our collective heritage. The World Heritage property comprises two areas of Chalkland in southern Britain within which complexes of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and funerary monuments and associated sites were built. Stonehenge is the most architecturally sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the world. Avebury prehistoric stone circle is the largest in the world. BBC History - Ancient History in depth: The healing stones. 10 facts about Stonehenge. Using advanced metal detectors and ground-penetrating radar, investigators from Birmingham and Bradford universities and from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute in Vienna uncovered 17 previously unknown wood and stone temples and shrines.
Here, ahead of a two-part BBC Two documentary about the discovery, we bring you 10 things you need to know about Stonehenge – possibly the most famous prehistoric monument in the world. • Built in several stages, Stonehenge began about 5,000 years ago as a simple earthwork enclosure where prehistoric people buried their cremated dead. The stone circle was erected in the centre of the monument in the late Neolithic period, around 2500 BC • Two types of stone are used at Stonehenge: the larger sarsens, and the smaller bluestones. . • There were originally only two entrances to the enclosure, English Heritage explains – a wide one to the north east, and a smaller one on the southern side. What Lies Beneath Stonehenge? We walked the Avenue, the ancient route along which the stones were first dragged from the River Avon. For centuries, this was the formal path to the great henge, but now the only hint of its existence was an indentation or two in the tall grass.
It was a fine English summer’s day, with thin, fast clouds above, and as we passed through fields dotted with buttercups and daisies, cows and sheep, we could have been hikers anywhere, were it not for the ghostly monument in the near distance. Faint as the Avenue was, Vince Gaffney hustled along as if it were illuminated by runway lights. A short, sprightly archaeologist of 56, from Newcastle upon Tyne in northeast England, he knows this landscape as well as anyone alive: has walked it, breathed it, studied it for uncounted hours. He has not lost his sense of wonder. Stopping to fix the monument in his eyeline, and reaching out toward the stones on the horizon, he said, “Look, it becomes cathedralesque.” Gaffney’s voice lifted. Stonehenge. Stonehenge is surely Britain's greatest national icon, symbolizing mystery, power and endurance.
Its original purpose is unclear to us, but some have speculated that it was a temple made for the worship of ancient earth deities. It has been called an astronomical observatory for marking significant events on the prehistoric calendar. Others claim that it was a sacred site for the burial of high-ranking citizens from the societies of long ago. While we can't say with any degree of certainty what it was for, we can say that it wasn't constructed for any casual purpose. Only something very important to the ancients would have been worth the effort and investment that it took to construct Stonehenge.
The stones we see today represent Stonehenge in ruin. Construction of the Henge In its day, the construction of Stonehenge was an impressive engineering feat, requiring commitment, time and vast amounts of manual labor. NEW - More information on the Stonehenge Bluestones! Who Built Stonehenge? Stonehenge: Facts & Theories About Mysterious Monument. Stonehenge is a massive stone monument located on a chalky plain north of the modern-day city of Salisbury, England. Research shows that the site has continuously evolved over a period of about 10,000 years. The structure that we call “Stonehenge” was built between roughly 5,000 and 4,000 years ago and that forms just one part of a larger, and highly complex, sacred landscape.
The biggest of Stonehenge’s stones, known as sarsens, are up to 30 feet (9 meters) tall and weigh 25 tons (22.6 metric tons) on average. It is widely believed that they were brought from Marlborough Downs, a distance of 20 miles (32 kilometers) to the north. Smaller stones, referred to as “bluestones” (they have a bluish tinge when wet or freshly broken), weigh up to 4 tons and come from several different sites in western Wales, having been transported as far as 140 miles (225 km).
It’s unknown how people in antiquity moved them that far. Building Stonehenge Hunting played an important role in the area. Stonehenge - British History. According to the 12th-century writer Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose tale of King Arthur and mythical account of English history were considered factual well into the Middle Ages, Stonehenge is the handiwork of the wizard Merlin. In the mid-fifth century, the story goes, hundreds of British nobles were slaughtered by the Saxons and buried on Salisbury Plain. Hoping to erect a memorial to his fallen subjects, King Aureoles Ambrosias sent an army to Ireland to retrieve a stone circle known as the Giants’ Ring, which ancient giants had built from magical African bluestones. The soldiers successfully defeated the Irish but failed to move the stones, so Merlin used his sorcery to spirit them across the sea and arrange them above the mass grave. Legend has it that Ambrosias and his brother Uther, King Arthur’s father, are buried there as well.