Yesterday's Myths & Mysteries

The Mysteries Of Stonehenge

It has been described as a “domain of the dead.” Perhaps it existed as a place of worship or healing, or a funerary monument of some kind. A temple to the Earth deities, built by ancient druids, or an astronomical observatory that served as a calendar.

Stonehenge, above all else, is a mystery.

Constructed sometime between 3000-2000 BC, Stonehenge is a circular arrangement of standing stones, located in Wiltshire in South West England, that rests at the center of a vast complex of Neolithic monuments and burial mounds.

It, too, once served as a burial ground. Cremated remains and unburnt human bones have been recovered from the site, as well as buried remains. However, it’s difficult to fully date or understand Stonehenge’s true purpose, due to countless disturbances over the centuries and a lack of quality historical records.

The Stonehenge Circle
Image: Flickr/Jen Hunter via CC by 2.0

It is known, however, that Stonehenge experienced many changes and shifts in purpose throughout its history. While it may have been used at certain points as a burial site, its arrangement appears to be astronomically aligned, and the stones may have been used to predict eclipses, solstices, and other astronomical events.

The sun, for example, rises above the Heelstone at the summer solstice.

The Heelstone At Stonehenge
The Heelstone At Stonehenge (Image: Flickr/Ewen Roberts via CC by 2.0)

Ultimately, we do not know who built Stonehenge, and we can only guess as to why. Their craftsmanship, studied today as it is, remains a mystery.

Like the ancient Pyramids of Giza, some theorists believe the ancient builders received help from supernatural forces, or that the stones were placed by mystical beings.

Who were the first to lay the bluestones upon the grassy plains? Why were the sarsen stones, which weigh up to 50 tons each, erected? Somewhere in the veils of time, the answers await. But for now, we can only wonder.

Image: Flickr/Jen Hunter via CC by 2.0

Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.