Few places in the world elicit the mystery and wonder that Stonehenge does.
For hundreds of years archaeologists and historians have puzzled over the ancient ruins, trying
to piece together the truth behind its origin.
At last though modern science has caught up with the ancient mystery, and we finally have
a pretty good idea as to who created this wonder of the ancient world.
For anyone living under a very large rock for the last five hundred years and doesn’t
know, Stonehenge is an ancient site in the UK made up of pillars of rock laid out in
The remains show that the entire site was once ringed with the massive stone columns,
which were themselves topped with slabs of stone that completely encircled the monument.
Inside, scientists suspect that there was once a smaller circle of stones, of which
only a few pillars remain, also topped by a massive stone slab.
While the site is relatively simple in its construction and certainly pales in comparison
with wonders such as the pyramids of egypt, what is impressive is that Stonehenge is estimated
to have been built over five thousand years ago, when humans were thought to have been
largely using nothing more than simple bone and antler tools.
The neolithic monument is also thought to have taken 1500 years to complete, with construction
being taken up by various groups of people who continually added to the original site.
The first stage was a massive circular ditch and bank dug on the Salisbury Plain by neolithic
Britons using deer antlers for tools.
They also included deep pits inside of that circular construction, now known as Aubrey
holes after John Aubrey, the 17th century antiquarian who discovered them.
It's believed that the holes once held up a ring of timber posts standing upright, creating
a circle of timber within the larger circular ditch.
This site remained standing until a few hundred years later, when more builders arrived and
decided to remodel.
Rather than use timbers for their construction, they hauled eighty bluestones, of which forty
three remain standing, and laid them out in either a horseshoe or circular formation around
Lastly, during the third and final phase of construction which took place around 2000
BC, sandstone slabs were arranged into a ring formation around the entire site, with some
being assembled into the iconic three-pieced structures called trilithons.
A few trilithons remain standing inside the formation today, and it's these structures
that have become a visual representation of Stonehenge for millions of people around the
Work would continue for the next four hundred years, with the large stones being repositioned
as new people modified the original site.
What's particularly impressive about Stonehenge is that the majority of the construction took
place well before the invention of the wheel.
That means that the sandstone blocks weighing over forty tons had to be transported from
over twenty five miles away (40 km), while the smaller bluestones which weighed up to
four tons each, where originally sourced over two hundred miles (322 km) away.
How in the world did neolithic builders get these giant stones into position without even
the use of the wheel?
The longest standing theory is that the stones were transported using sledges and rollers
made out of fallen tree trunks, with each stone riding atop a bunch of greased logs,
which would be moved in front of the stone as it traveled over and past a section of
This would have allowed the builders to simply push or drag the huge stones over long distances,
though it would certainly have been incredibly labor intensive.
They then could have transferred the stones onto huge rafts and floated them along the
Welsh coast and up the River Avon towards the construction site.
More modern refinements to the theory has the builders using teams of oxen to drag the
stones along grooved planks or transporting them in giant wicker baskets or on kinds of
However in the 1970s geologists began to get in on the debate of how the mighty stones
They suggested that it wasn't humans who lugged these stones dozens or hundreds of miles,
but rather that it was ancient glaciers.
Well known to uplift rocks and transport them hundreds of miles, these glacial erratics
as they are known pop up all over the world and are remnants from the last Ice Age.
They propose that perhaps glaciers had deposited a large number of the raw stones required
to build Stonehenge, though the theory isn't particularly popular amongst mainstream geologists.
Nevermind how it was built though, who were the people that actually built Stonehenge?
Back when mythology was considered history, it was believed that Stonehenge was the handiwork
of King Arthur's friend and confidant, the wizard Merlin.
Sometime in the mid-fifth century hundreds of British nobles were killed by Saxon barbarians
and buried on the Salisbury plain, which was at the time made out of steaks, and in order
to honor the fallen men King Aureoles Ambrosias, the uncle of King Arthur, ordered that a memorial
be built on the site to honor their deaths.
The King thus sent an army to Ireland to fetch a stone circle known as the Giants' Ring,
which ancient giants had built from magical African bluestones.
The Irish defending the ring were defeated, but the men could not move the massive stones.
Thus Merlin used his magic to move the giant stones across the sea and onto the site they
stand on today.
According to the legend, King Ambrosias and King Arthur's father, Uther, remain buried
there to this day.
When people started believing in myths less and science more, the monument was attributed
to the Saxons, the Danes, the Romans, the Greeks, and even the Egyptians.
Eventually in the 17th century, archaeologist John Aubrey claimed that the monument was
the work of Celtic high priests known as Druids, and the theory largely stuck for hundreds
Even today many individuals who identify as modern druids gather at the site to hold rituals-
yet sadly for them, modern science has at last determined that it was definitely not
the druids who built Stonehenge.
Stonehenge it turns out has an origin as complicated as its construction, and after the careful
observation and dating of bones, tools, and other artifacts discovered on the site, archaeologists
now believe that there was actually no one people who are responsible for building Stonehenge,
but that rather the monument was a community project of sorts, with various groups of people
working on it at different times.
First were neolithic agrarian humans, likely the original inhabitants of the British Isles,
though some genetic research hints that these original inhabitants were actually displaced
by invaders from the mainland.
Then the descendants of the original Britons likely added to the site, followed by immigrants
from the European continent, with some hypothesized to have come from as far as modern day Turkey.
Stonehenge it turns out has no one source, but rather is a hodgepodge of different cultures
who likely all appropriated it to suit their own needs.
We might never know why it was originally built, but it's clear that as new groups of
people came across the site, they were quick to modify or add to the construction in order
to suit their own needs.
The site is thought to have served purposes related to astronomy, calendar-keeping, religious
ceremonies, and even as a royal monument, with its function throughout the years as
varied as its original builders, while today it serves as a tourist destination for people
who come from all over the world to marvel at the ingenuity of our ancestors.
This is of course, the official story, and other sources claim that Stonehenge is- you
guessed it- alien in origin.
Some believe that Stonehenge is part of a global navigation network used by alien ships,
with sites that include the Pyramids and the Nazca Lines in South America.
Apparently ancient aliens needed visual signals by which to navigate the spacecraft they traversed
the galaxy with because they never quite developed GPS technology- a very curious technological
Yet others believe that Stonehenge is the site of a major vortex which spews out...
some kind of... energy from the earth.
These believers claim that ancient humans could identify and tap into these magical
vortexes, yet somehow for some reason despite being able to land spacecraft on Mars, modern
humanity is apparently unable to discover the same magical vortices that primitive humans
For our part, after careful examination by our team of leading researchers, archaeologists,
and historians, we here at The Infographics Show have deduced that Stonehenge is an interdimensional
aperture through which space aliens from the Zeti Reticuli nebula will one day invade in
order to feed on our delicious brains.
And seriously, who are you going to listen to- leading researchers and scientists, or
We thought so.
Who do you think really built Stonehenge?
Is a brain-eating alien apocalypse imminent?
Let us know in the comments!
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