Stonehenge

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Stonehenge, the most famous Neolithic monument, had a great significance to the ancient people of England. The monument, which is located in the Salisbury Plain, was built and reconstructed many times starting in about 3200 BC to about 1650 BC. The stones that were used to construct the monument weighed anywhere from 25 to 50 tons apiece, in some cases the stones had to be dragged to the plain from up to 20 miles away.(Marvin Perry,19) Stonehenge went through three major phases, the first of which was when the ancient people created a bank of chalk and a ditch, inside the bank there was 56 pits. The second phase was when 82 blocks of bluestone, about 4 tons each, were brought to the site. Using the bluestone the ancient people made a double circle in the bank and they formed an avenue leading to the River Avon. The third phase was the ancient people removed the bluestone and replaced it with sandstone, weighing 25 to 50 tons each.(Stonehenge,1) The main reason for Stonehenge being built by the ancient people of England was as a calendar because they needed a way of keeping track of important dates.

The ancient people of England didn't have a formal calendar like today's society does. For this reason they had to rely on other ways of keeping track of the time during the year. In this particular case the ancient people of England used the Stonehenge for record keeping. "In 1964 the American astronomer Gerald S. Hawkins reported findings obtained by supplying a computer with measurements taken at Stonehenge together with astronomical information based on celestial positions in 1500 BC when Stonehenge was in use."(Encarta, 1) Hawkins believed that the ancient people were able to gather information about the sun and the moon, with accuracy. He believed that Stonehenge was used to predict the seasons by examining the position of the sun and moon to the earth. Stonehenge's axis is pointed in the direction of the sunrise at the summer and winter solstices, for this reason some scientists believed that ancient people were able to predict eclipses of the sun and moon by their position in relation to the monument. The ancient people of England had many religious beliefs that they followed and believed in. They also probably had religious holidays that they had some kind of ceremony for. Some people believe that they used Stonehenge to determine what time of the year it was and to figure out what religious ceremonies were coming up.

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