Who Built Stonehenge?

The history of Stonehenge is a long one and since its creation it has intrigued those who have come across it. The first known mentioning of Stonehenge appeared in a writing from the 12th century and it has been continually studied. It is now known that Stonehenge was constructed in phases over hundreds of years during which stone were added, removed, and repositioned. Initial construction begins around 8000 B.C. with wooden posts being placed in pits. Later, construction of the circular ditch dates to around 2975 BC during the late Neolithic period. Welsh bluestones were then added around 2200 BC. These are in pairs in the center of the circle, forming a horse-shoe shape. There have been many theories about how the builders moved the stones all the way from Wales to Stonehenge’s location in Wessex, but as of now there is no official conclusion. The next step in construction was the addition of the Sarsen stones, which is a type of sandstone was brought from about 20-30 miles away. Initially there were thirty upright stones in a circle formation and these stood about 22 feet tall. These stones were topped with capstones, and seventeen of these Sarsen stones are still standing today.   In addition to the Welsh bluestones and the sarsen stones forming the circle, there is also a heel stone outside of the circle. It is believed that this stone was used for alignment purposes during the solstices.

Because Stonehenge has stood for so long there have been multiples groups of people who habited the area and worked on the structure. The earliest group is believed to be the Windmill Hill people. This group had a strong admiration for circles and symmetry. Archaeologists suggest that they are responsible for building the large circular furrows and mounds. The Windmill Hill people inhabited the area around 3000 BC. Next the Beaker people lived near Stonehenge around 2000 BC. The Beaker people are believed to be the ones who used Stonehenge for sun worship and aligned the stones to the solstices. Last the Wessex people lived near Stonehenge around 1500 BC. This was a very advanced culture, who most likely moved the stone to their final positions. It is also believed that the Wessex people were the ones who carved a dagger into one of the Sarsen stones. Despite the evidence found that supports the theories of these three peoples living around Stonehenge at various times, there is still no answer to who the original creators of the structure are. Although many believed that the Druids were responsible, the evidence does not support this. Even if the original architects of Stonehenge are unknown, it is clear that many groups of people used the structures throughout the centuries and people are still intrigued by Stonehenge today.