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In the fields of South-western England stands Stonehenge, a unique and dramatic monument shrouded in mystery.

These stones were put up four and a half thousand years ago. Some weigh more than 40 tons, yet they were arranged
with pin-point precision.
Its difficult to understand how they built Stonehenge because theres so little evidence for us to find, but we assume
that these people were good carpenters and so therefore could make wooden sledges which they would have put the
stones on rollers and again they would have used some sort of platform or scaffolding of timber to get the lintels up to
that amazing height.
Stonehenge was an evolving site for 1,500 years. It began in about 3,000BC with a circular ditch and bank. 500 years
later came the stones. Some had travelled enormous distances.
Stonehenge is made of two types of stone. There are Sarsens, hard sandstone that comes from 25 miles from the
north in the Avebury area, and then there are the Welsh stones, the blue stones which come from the Preseli Hills
about 125 miles to the west. We have no idea how they brought them here because nobodys ever found a stone
anywhere along the route, but its a staggering achievement.
Over the centuries, the mysteries of Stonehenge have spawned many wild theories. In the 12th century Geoffrey of
Monmouth claimed that they had been built by Merlin the Wizard. Today, some claim it was constructed by ancient
aliens. The most enduring myth concerns a supposed connection to the Druids.
The association with the Druids is one of the very long-standing ideas about Stonehenge, but it has actually nothing to
do with the Druids because they were priests who came along a thousand years or more after Stonehenge was
finished.
Some theories can be easily dismissed, but the real meaning of the stones remains as elusive as ever.
Why they built Stonehenge is one of the real problems for archeologists because where do we find the evidence for
it? There are three main theories. One is that it is a sort of solar calendar because of the way that it is aligned it does
mark the changing seasons, the winter and the summer solstices. But also it suggested that perhaps its a place for the
dead because peoples remains have been found here and also the suggestion that the stones themselves were
thought to have healing powers, so there are probably over its long 1500 year life, a number of different reasons why
it was built and used.
Stonehenge is the most spectacular site in a landscape full of prehistoric stones, circles, avenues and barrows, the
burial mounds of the Neolithic people. The most imposing and mysterious is Silvery Hill. This 40-metre-high mound is
as old as Stonehenge itself and the largest of its kind in Europe.
The stone circle at Avebury, 1,300 metres in circumference, is also the largest in Europe. Its purpose, too, can only be
guessed at. What these places do tell us is much about the prehistoric society that built them.
What both Stonehenge and Avebury and other sites as well tell us is that this part of the world in the Neolithic was
very rich. There were a lot of people here, it was a very well farmed and organized landscape, and there were
resources here whereby people could come together to build these lasting monuments that have survived four, five
thousand years and which we can still see today.
Today this mysterious landscape continues to intrigue and inspire.
Stonehenge has been both a magnet and an icon for centuries. Its attracted early archeologists, artists like Turner and
Constable, and I think it still inspires people today who come along to marvel at its construction and also have their
own ideas about why it was built.
Each year the summer solstice draws thousands of revelers to Stonehenge. They come to greet the dawn, to worship
old gods or just to have fun. Its vibrant proof of how the stones continue to inspire people in different ways,
something theyve done for thousands of years. This landscape forms a unique link to a megalithic culture that once
spanned the whole of Europe. As such today it is recognized as Unesco World Heritage Site.
Its incredibly important to value sites like Stonehenge and the landscape that surrounds it because they are a
reminder of our deep past, of the fact that people were here shaping the landscape thousands of years before us, and
hopefully these enduring remains will survive for thousands more years.

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