Stonehenge

Make sense of Stonehenge

10,000

Slip into a 10,000 year investigation that’s when people were living at Blick Mead and putting up pine posts nearly two and a half feet thick in today’s visitor centre’s car park.

Mesolithic posts. A mark in the car park at the Stonehenge site in Wiltshire, England. This circle marks the spot where one of three large Mesolithic post once stood.
Mesolithic posts. A mark in the car park at the Stonehenge site in Wiltshire, England. This circle marks the spot where one of three large Mesolithic post once stood.

This is around the time Aurochs (11,000) and Irish elk (9,000) are going extinct. Mammoths went extinct 14,000 years ago in the UK. In northern Mesopotamia, now northern Iraq, cultivation of barley and wheat begins at around 10,000 years ago.Stonehenge started 10,000 years ago Click To Tweet

9,000

8,500 years ago Doggerland is flooded and Britain becomes an island. It was fast flooding, happening over a few generations.

Doggerland approximately 11,650 years before present, after the last glacial period
Doggerland approximately 11,650 years before present, after the last glacial period

6,000

6,000 years ago they built a causewayed enclosure at Robin Hood’s Ball. Causewayed enclosures are the first big monuments in England. Just recently, a new causewayed enclosure at Larkhill, Wiltshire was discovered with a date of 5,650 years ago.

Robin Hood's Ball. A causedway enclosure
Robin Hood’s Ball. A causedway enclosure

It’s thought that more are in the area awaiting discovery as they’re usually found in threes or fours. Also, these causeway enclosures are thought to have been built throughout southern Britain over just one generation, then they go out of fashion, then around 5,550 years ago there’s another boom in causeway enclosure building. Around this time they were burying chiefs, women and children in long barrow tombs. The West Kennet Long Barrow 16 miles (26 km) north of Stonehenge is a fine example. Although there are 302 barrows around Stonehenge, most do not date from before Stonehenge.

5,630 years ago they started to dig The Cursus (Google Earth). And the Lesser Cursus is dated to around 5,000 years ago.

Bear in mind, 6,050 years ago farming was introduced into England by 5,850 years ago it’s spread nationwide. Carnac, France, the site of more than 10,000 Neolithic standing stones, started 5,300 years ago. Newgrange, Ireland is 5,200 years old. Skara Brae in Orkney 5,180 years old.

Newgrange entrance stone with megalithic art
Newgrange entrance stone with megalithic art

5,000

Around 5,100 years ago the builders began with the ditch at Stonehenge. Then they added some form of timber structure within the enclosure. 4,600 years ago they added around 80 bluestones and moved them around – quite a lot.

Stonehenge in use for 1,500 years, the landscape for 6,400 years of continual ritual use. Click To Tweet

It’s important to know that The Avenue started off as a natural feature (solutional rills) – aligned to the summer and winter solstices. Could it be that this was more pronounced in Neolithic times and was the reason the area was chosen in the first place?

The earliest of the Egyptian pyramids were built 4,630 years ago.

Seven hundred years after the start of the ditch – 4,400 years ago – the builders brought megalith sarsens to the site. Some eight hundred years later – 3,600 years ago – it all stopped. That’s 1,500 years of being in use!

Think how much has happened in the last 1,500 years.

Or, if you take those wooden posts are the starting point of the ‘ritual landscape’ then, it was in constant use for 6,400 years.

General view looking south west showing stones of the outer circle propped with timbers. Photo taken in 1919. The tallest upright, Stone 56 of the fallen T3, the central trilithon, straightened in 1901.
General view looking south west showing stones of the outer circle propped with timbers. Photo taken in 1919. The tallest upright, Stone 56 of the fallen T3, the central trilithon, straightened in 1901.