Who built Stonehenge? Why?
This ancient monument of huge stones solitarily standing on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England has captured imaginations for centuries. Theories about who built it have included the Druids, Greeks, Phoenicians, and Atlanteans. Speculation on the reason it was built range from human sacrifice to astronomy.
Investigations over the last 100 years have revealed that Stonehenge was built in several stages from 2800 - 1800 BC. It seems to have been designed to allow for observation of astronomical phenomena - summer and winter solstices, eclipses, and more.
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- 1900 BC - First phase of building at Stonehenge. Circular ditch and 4 holes excavated. The heel stone was erected and the 50 Aubrey holes dug.
- 1750 BC - Second wave of construction. Double circle of bluestones constructed.
- 1650 BC - Third wave of construction. Sarsen Circle and horseshoe of trilithons built.
- 1663 - John Aubrey does the first known systematic inspection of the site. He attributes the construction to the Druids who used the site as a temple.
- 1740 - Dr. William Stuckly, also a proponent of the Druid theory, investigated and measured the site, and was the first to suggest that it was astronomically aligned.