Erecting a column of more than 25 tons is no easy task, especially when the only tools at your disposal are made of stone, wood, and bone. Such was the inconceivable task facing the prehistoric builders of Stonehenge. The labor involved in quarrying, transporting, and erecting the massive columns points to a vast amount of resources and huge numbers of people. The fact that the entire operation took place over a millennium is evidence of the people’s intense commitment to the task.
Built in several stages, this iconic site predates any written records, leaving many of the aspects of how and why it was built up for debate. What rituals took place here? What ties does it have to the sun? Why are there bodies buried at the site? All these questions and more remain unanswered. What we can presume is that the circle is somehow connected to the sun. In fact, the heal stone, or the first in a single line of stones pointing toward the larger circle, casts a shadow straight to the center on Midsummer’s Day. The alignment is so precise it is almost certainly tied to the sunset of the winter solstice and the opposing sunrise of the summer solstice. The shadow is so exact that these prehistoric builders would have had to have a very sophisticated understanding of math and astronomy.
Today, Stonehenge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Europe’s most famous prehistoric monument. While only 17 of the 30 original upright pillars are still in place, it still mystifies and fascinates visitors from across the globe. You can visit Stonehenge on YMT Vacations’ Best of England Tour. This 10-day journey takes you from Sherwood Forest to the home of William Shakespeare, Windsor Castle to the birthplace of the Beatles. Enjoy a heritage steam train ride through the English countryside, see the sites of London and tour Blenheim Palace. For information, or to make your plans to join this journey, call your travel professional or YMT Vacations at 1-888-756-9072