Stonehenge is undoubtedly the UK’s most famous prehistoric monument. Although we may never know exactly who built it and when, Stonehenge is believed to be at least 4,500 years old, though probably closer to 5,000. But this Neolithic site is famous for much more than just its grand age.
So, why does Stonehenge hold such a pivotal place in archaeology? And why do you need to add this landmark to your must-visit list? Below, we look at a few reasons why Stonehenge is a British icon that’s famous the world over. And don't miss to look at our unforgettable Stonehenge Tours to see this breathtaking site for yourself.
Stonehenge is the world’s only remaining lintelled stone circle
Stonehenge is unique as being the only surviving stone circle of its kind. We may not know its exact purpose or why it was built, but we do know that Stonehenge is home to one of Neolithic Britain’s largest cremation cemeteries. Human remains, fossils, ancient tools, and more have been excavated at Stonehenge and surrounding sites. These findings have placed Stonehenge at the forefront of archaeological innovation.
It’s an architectural masterpiece for its time
Why do we say Stonehenge is an architectural masterpiece? Well, the fact that this monument is still standing after 5,000 years or so backs up our claim. But there’s more. The stones weigh tonnes and yet were dragged up to 150 miles to the site of Stonehenge. How the stones were dragged remains debated. Additionally, each stone was dressed using highly sophisticated techniques. And they were erected using precisely interlocking joints, which haven’t been seen at any other prehistoric monument.
Stonehenge forms part of an ancient landscape
Stonehenge isn’t a standalone monument. Rather, it forms part of a unique, ancient landscape comprising over 350 early Neolithic, late Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments. Other notable sites near Stonehenge include Stonehenge Avenue, Woodhenge, the Cursus and Durrington Walls. If you want to step back in time while visiting the UK, you need to visit Stonehenge. The best way to get to know this monument is by booking a guided tour (look out for inner-access tours).
Stonehenge still holds many mysteries
As mentioned above, we still don’t definitively know who built Stonehenge, when it was constructed, or for what purpose. Many archaeologists claim the site was a burial ground, but others contest it was used for sacrificial purposes. Some people have theorised that Stonehenge was a Druid temple, a ‘computer’ for predicting eclipses, a coronation place for Danish kings, a site of worship, or a cult centre for supernatural healing. Most historians agree that the stones are aligned with the sun’s movements.
Stonehenge attracts over a million visitors annually
Stonehenge is one of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions, enticing over a million visitors annually. For conservation purposes, visitors can only look at the monument from a distance. However, inner access is permitted on certain days of the year, such as the summer and winter solstices. Regardless of when you visit, you won’t fail to be impressed by this ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fancy learning more about the UK’s most famous Neolithic monument? Browse our range of Stonehenge tours.
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Visit Stonehenge on a fantastic day tour from London