Stonehenge: An Extravagant Tourist Area

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Stonehenge: An Extravagant Tourist Area

Brianna Dees, Writer

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Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England two miles west of Amesbury, attracts tourists from around the world. It consists of a ring of standing stones with each standing stone around 13 feet high, seven feet wide, and weighing around 25 tons.

The Stonehenge part of the World Heritage Site covers 2,600 hectares (6,500 acres) of chalk down-land and arable fields, covering an area seven-and-a-half times as big as Central Park in New York City.

Built in several stages, Stonehenge began about 5,000 years ago as a simple earthwork enclosure where prehistoric people buried their cremated dead. These natives erected it in the monument’s center in the late Neolithic period around 2,500 B.C..

A circle of 56 pits, known as the Aubrey Holes named after John Aubrey who identified them in 1666, sits inside the enclosure. Its purpose remains unknown, but some believe the pits once held stones or posts. Natives built stone settings at Stonehenge at a time of “great change in prehistory,” says English Heritage, “just as new styles of ‘Beaker’ pottery and the knowledge of metalworking, together with a transition to the burial of individuals with grave goods, were arriving from Europe”.

Purchased at an auction for £6,600 by local businessman Cecil Chubb, he reportedly came to the auction to buy some dining chairs. Three years later, Chubb gave the monument to the nation, and afterwards, the Ministry of Works cared for it.

A series of major restorations and excavations took place from 1919 to 1929, and another major program occurred between 1958 – 1964. Extensive work continued over recent years, and now Stonehenge sits within a restored landscape that gives a sense of its original setting.

The first guidebook claimed Stonehenge survived Noah’s flood as written by Henry Browne and published in 1823, conjectured from a historical, Biblical view. The guidebook regarded Stonehenge as one of the few ancient structures that survived the Old Testament flood. Guests can see it in the exhibition at the visitor center, and it has kindly been lent by Julian Richards.

Explorers found about 1,500 Roman objects at Stonehenge, such as coins, pins, jewelry, and pottery fragments.. Some scholars state that Roman tourists may have left these items when visiting Stonehenge as a shrine. They also found large pits dug inside the monument.

Stonehenge–quite an extravagant tourist area to visit while in Amesbury, Salisbury in the United Kingdom!


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