Stonehenge was built in Salisbury Plain between 3100 – 1100 BCE. Commonly known as a site of ritualistic activity, it wasn’t until the mid 20th century that archaeologists realized that Stonehenge also served as an astronomical observatory. According to Sacred Sites, “In the 1950s and 1960s, the Oxford University engineer Professor Alexander Thom and the astronomer Gerald Hawkins pioneered the new field of archaeoastronomy–the study of the astronomies of ancient civilizations. Conducting surveys at Stonehenge and other megalithic structures, Thom and Hawkins discovered many significant astronomical alignments among the stones. This evidence indicates that Stonehenge and other stone rings were used as astronomical observatories” to study the observable universe (which is about 46 billion light years or 10+26 meters away from Earth in any direction).
Building Stonehenge required an estimated 30 million hours of labor (10+07). It was constructed from bluestones, weighing up to four tons (10+03 pounds), and Sarsen stones, usually weighing 25 tons (10+04 pounds). We often hear that, during the Bronze Age, man transported the stones from hundreds of miles away in Wales. As comedian Eddie Izzard imagines the situation, at the end of their journey someone gasped, “You never told us two hundred miles! Two hundred miles in this day and age? I don’t even know where I live now!” However, a 2006 article from BBC News reveals that the stones may instead have been moved by Ice Age glaciers (a process that, one might argue, is as slow as man heaving them across land).
To learn more about the glacial theory on Stonehenge reported by the BBC News, click here.
* Blog title from comedian Eddie Izzard’s 1999 video, Dressed to Kill.