Stonehenge - The Oldest Surviving Human-Made Structure on Earth

Stonehenge needs no introduction. It's deemed to be the oldest surviving human-made structure on Earth, predating even the Egyptian pyr...

Stonehenge needs no introduction. It's deemed to be the oldest surviving human-made structure on Earth, predating even the Egyptian pyramids. This engineering marvel is sitting at the heart of England for almost 5,000 years, yet its purpose still remains a mystery. Considering the age of Stonehenge, it's not exactly clear how prehistoric people managed to bring and raise these huge stones without modern construction equipment. But let's try to unveil some of those unknowns and see Stonehenge up close.

Stonehenge attracts about a million visitors a year. Most people, myself included, make it from London on a day trip. The easiest way to get to Stonehenge is by train from London Waterloo to Salisbury, and then by a tour double-decker bus. European public transportation system does not stop amazing me as you can get virtually anywhere without a need to rent a car.
A nice 1/2 hour ride from Salisbury train station will take you to the most famous English Heritage site. Rain, fog, rolling hills and ivy climbing up the trees are the main ingredients of the English countryside. 
A nice visitor centre with exhibits explains the history of Stonehenge and what had predated it.
A free shuttle bus that runs every 10-15 minutes will take you to the stones. A full ride is only about 5 minutes. A spacey parking lot and shuttle buses were introduced to reduce crowds at the stones. There is a stop halfway between a visitor centre and Stonehenge from where you can take an interpretive hiking trail to the stones. Although I haven't tried it myself as I was short of time, but I encourage you to do it as it sounds fun. 
The land surrounded Stonehenge is owned by the National Trust, a largest conservation membership organization in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 
A rectangular near Stonehenge ditch had been dug about 1,000 years before Stonehenge was erected. Scientists believe that the ditch acted as a barrier to prevent people and animals from entering this area. 
Why? Still not clear. I watched a documentary movie by National Geographic, and the author thinks that Stonehenge was a burial place where general public was prohibited except on special occasions. So the ditch was a clear boundary where people were not allowed.
All stones were erected in a specific order to follow the sun movement. Some scientists believe that Stonehenge might have been a celestial observatory that was used to predict events such as solstice, eclipse, equinox and others.
 The stones are believed to have been brought from a quarry located 29 km / 18 miles away. 
Stones rolling along a track of logs is supposedly the way they were carried to their final destination. 
The age of Stonehenge was determined by a radiocarbon dating, a standard method used in archaeology. It measures organic materials in an object by using a radioactive isotope of carbon.
Stonehenge was reconstructed between 1919 and 1964. As a result, some fallen stones were re-erected, some were sealed with cement or hardened with a metal pole to prevent further damage. 
Walking within the circus is only possible after hours on a special tour. The restriction helps save this fragile soil from erosion. 
You can tell these sandstones are very old.
This is Heel Stone weighting about 40 tons. Although it is not part of the Stonehenge circus, some people believe it's size and shape might have inspired prehistoric people to erect Stonehenge here.
Aubrey Holes (56) are the pits that may have been used to make a timber circle.
I want to give a credit to this gentleman who was very polite and pleasant to talk to. He also feeds these crows and knows most of them by name.

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