STONEHENGE. The great and ancient stone circle of Stonehenge is one of the wonders of the world.

Stonehenge is a Neolithic and Bronze Age megalithic monument located near Amesbury in the English county of Wiltshire, about 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury. It is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones and is one of the most famous prehistoric sites in the world. ~ HOME

Across the British Isles can be found prehistoric remains which date from the period 3,000 BC to 1,500 BC, and take the form of a number of stones standing in a circle. The reason for their construction, and the role they played in the society of the time are now unknown. The most famous stone circle is Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, but in all there are almost 1,000 other stone circles.

PLANS for the new £27.5million visitor centre and facilities at Stonehenge have been given the go ahead by Wiltshire Council. More.......

The Blue Stones were from the Prescelly Mountains, located roughly 240 miles away, at the southwestern tip of Wales. More......

Many early historians were influenced by supernatural folktales in their explanations. Some legends held that Merlin the wizard had a giant build the structure for him or that he had magically transported it from Mount Killaraus in Ireland, while others held the Devil responsible. Henry of Huntingdon was the first to write of the monument around 1130 soon followed by Geoffrey of Monmouth who was the first to record fanciful associations with King Arthur which led the monument to be incorporated into the wider cycle of European medieval romance.
» Silbury Hill
Silbury Hill
Silbury Hill was begun sometime between 2500 and 2900 BC. The base of the hill covers 5 1/2 acres
(2.2 ha), and the hill rises some 130 feet (40 metres).

Enigma - according to Websters Dictionary the word means "something hard to understand or explain; a mystery". I don't know if the linguists at Websters were thinking of Silbury Hill when they wrote that definition, but they might well have been, for this mysterious conical hill on the Wiltshire plains near Marlborough, defies all the efforts of modern scientists to discover its purpose.

Silbury Hill
Aerial view of Silbury Hill
Silbury Hill is the largest human-built mound in Europe. In sheer volume of material it rivals the Great Pyramids of Egypt. It has been estimated that it would have taken a team of 500 men about 15 years to complete Silbury Hill, and then only if they were working continually.

Yet unlike the Great Pyramids, we have no clear idea of the purpose for which Silbury Hill was built. It was assumed by many early investigators that the hill is a massive burial mound, a monument to the colossal ego of some long-dead Neolithic chieftain.

It seems a fair assumption, yet no grave has ever been found at Silbury. Channels have been cut into the hill on several occasions, but nothing resembling a tomb has been found - indeed no human remains of any kind have been discovered at Silbury.

So if it isn't a tomb, what is it? That question has puzzled generations of archaeologists. One of the unproved theories is that it was a form of sun dial, or astronomical observatory, and that at one time it may have had a large pole upon its summit that cast a long shadow across the fields below.

Facts and Figures
Silbury Hill was begun sometime between 2500 and 2900 BC. The base of the hill covers 5 1/2 acres (2.2 ha), and the hill rises some 130 feet (40 metres).

We do know that the Silbury Hill was built in three distinct phases. The first was a mound some 20 feet (5.5 m) high, which was then capped with a covering of chalk rubble. This layer was then built up with a final covering of chalk excavated from the 25 foot deep (7m) ditch which surrounds the base of the hill.

Seeing Silbury Hill for the first time can something of an anticlimax, for it appears without fanfare as you approach along the busy A4, which sweeps by within feet of the hill's base. There is a parking lot at Silbury Hill, just before you reach the monument. It has room for about 20 cars and also room for coaches. Sadly, this is as close as you can (legally) get to the hill, as a fence keeps people at bay.

The hill has been the unfortunate victim of its own popularity, and has suffered erosion from enthusiastic visitors climbing to the peak. There are now signs warning people not to approach the hill, but as there is no supervised access, some people ignore the warning and climb it anyway, causing further erosion.

Just across the A4 from Silbury Hill lies West Kennet Long Barrow, one of the best preserved of the numerous ancient barrows in Wessex. West Kennet can be approached by a path from a pull-by across the A4 from Silbury Hill. And just a few miles away is the Neolithic stone circle of Avebury, one of the most remarkable ancient remains in Britain.



Burial Mounds
Avebury Stone Circle
Silbury Hill
Chalk Hill Figures
West Kennet Long Barrow
Crop Circles
Old Sarum Hillfort

Stonehenge gift shop souvenirs


English Heritage provides Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice and works closely with the many agencies, and people from all sectors of the community, in order to create a peaceful occasion - ensuring an event that can be safely enjoyed by all and protects Stonehenge and its surrounding Monuments. Further details on the entry conditions are available from English Heritage. Each year on the 21 June visitors from around the world gather at Stonehenge overnight to mark the summer solstice and to see the sunrise above the stones. At dawn the central Altar stone aligns with the Slaughter stone, Heel stone and the rising sun to the northeast. Stonehenge is definitely one of England's greatest icons. Its original purpose is still somewhat unclear, but some have speculated that it was a temple made for worship of ancient earth deities. It has also been called an astronomical observatory for marking significant events on the ancient prehistoric calendar. Others claim that it was a sacred site created by Merlin and King Arthur for the burial of high-ranking citizens from societies of long ago. Falling on June 21st or 22nd, the Summer Solstice is a time of light and of fire. It is a time to reflect upon the growth of the season: the seeds that were planted in the earth and the seeds planted in our souls. It is a time of cleansing and renewal. It is a time of love and growth as well.


Stonehenge. Mystery surrounds this 5,000 year old monument in the centre of the World Heritage Site. Visit this prehistoric South West site and decide for yourself whether Stonehenge was a place of sun worship, a healing sanctuary, a sacred burial site, or something different altogether!