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Quick Facts on Stonehenge

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Wiltshire  county
England  country
United Kingdom  country
Europe  continent
Main date(s)
c. 3000-2000 BCE
51.178862° N, 1.825951° W
£7.50 adult; £6.80 concessions; £4.50 children
0870 333 1181

Description of Stonehenge

Awe-inspiring as it is, the Stonehenge that stands today is only part of the original construction, which has suffered a great deal from both weather damage and human pillage of its rock. Archaeologists believe the construction of the site was carried out in three main stages, which have been labeled Stonehenge I, Stonehenge II and Stonehenge III. See the Timeline for details.

Stonehenge stands in a grassy field in the Wiltshire countryside, and must have been a highly atmospheric site over the millennia since its construction. Unfortunately, the site has lost a great deal of this atmosphere due to the intersection of two major highways nearby and the inevitable tourist infrastructure. When it comes to setting, Avebury remains superior to Stonehenge.

However, Stonehenge is such a magnificent monument that it would impress no matter where it stands. The astonishing scale and beauty of the stones, the great care and labor in construction, and the mystery surrounding its original purpose are just some of the reasons Stonehenge is one of the most popular sights in England. Add stormy skies, a fresh snowfall, a rainbow, a full moon, or the rising sun on the summer solstice, and it becomes a mystical site indeed.

A visit to Stonehenge begins across the highway from the monument, at the large and efficiently-run Visitor's Centre. There is a fee for parking as well as for admission, which includes an optional audio guide. A pedestrian subway leads under the highway to Stonehenge itself, where a designated path allows for views from all sides. For conservation reasons, visitors are no longer allowed to approach the stones except on the summer solstice, but access can be arranged by appointment or as part of some guided tours.

Holly Hayes
October 8, 2011

Historical Timeline of Stonehenge

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