I found this weeks discussion on Stonehenge very interesting and eye-opening. I had no idea that Stonehenge was a part of such a large landscape composed of so much more than just the standing stones we often see in media/ popular culture. It was intriguing to learn about what archaeologists believe this grand site was used for, and how there still is no known definitive answer.

For this blog post I initially decided to search Stonehenge online to find an interesting article relating to it. Most likely an article about some theory as to what Stonehenge’s purpose was or who built it, etc. However, upon my search of Stonehenge, in the right hand side of the screen, a list of 991 Google reviews showed up. Overall, Stonehenge was “rated” 4.3 stars.

I found this pretty odd that Stonehenge was something that could be rated and reviewed on Google as would a business or shop. And then this got me to wondering as to what criteria people were reviewing and rating Stonehenge. It also reminded me of about mass flock of people who come o visit Stonehenge during the Summer Solstice that we discussed in class.

The reviews ranged from people enjoying learning about the history and in awe of such an incredible site; to, “Just a bunch of stones on the ground. Also I didn’t see a McDonalds anywhere NEAR the site! Where am I gunna get my fat American food from?! And like, where are the Aliens?!” (Yes, that’s an actual quote from a review I found…I’m hoping its sarcasm and a sad attempt to funny…)

Many reviewers seemed to be displeased with the increased commercialism that has taken over Stonehenge, supposedly causing it to become “overpriced” and “overrated”. Others claimed that by being at the site the experienced a spiritual enlightenment of sorts. Another pattern that I found humorous among the reviews was displeasure in Stonehenge itself, calling it basically just a bunch of rocks, but many seemed to really like that cafe nearby.

According to many of the reviewers, security is very strict. One person even posted, “Terrible it was so stupid I kicked one of the stones and the it fell over and I was put in a jail in england for 3 years huge waste of time.” (Not sure if true or not…but humorous none the less.) Most people said that it cost them 15 pounds to enter on a typical day  plus parking. To put this in perspective; 15 pounds is equivalent to about 22 U.S. dollars. Many people viewed this as much to expensive.

Overall; most of the reviewers thought it was an amazing, incomparable experience and said that they would love visit again.

Side note; after reading the reviews for Stonehenge, I searched the Pyramids and the Giza Plateau as well and found reviews like, “This place sucks. Where’s the snack bar? Why don’t they tear it down and build something fun like a roller coaster? Terrible customer service. STAY AWAY!”

It’s disappointing that some people can’t find the beauty and significance in these archaeological and historical sites.

5 thoughts on “Stonehenge…reviews?

  1. I’m almost certain that first review you quoted is just a bad joke, people like think they’re comedians in the making when they’re anything but. The other reviews though are just idiotic enough to be real I believe on both sides of comments. For the people complaining about commercialism, it’s asinine to say that one of the most popular monuments in a country is used for purposes that enhance its visibility to the world and get Britain and the local area more tourist exposure in turn. It’s just common sense on the parts of the government. And at the same time the people complaining about the simplicity of it don’t understand the significance of Stonehenge in the first place, which makes me wonder why they even bothered going; I mean what did you expect beyond rocks and a relatively preserved landscape of the past? It’s not like the ancients had forms of communication or entertainment anywhere similar to our own.

    Complaining over security is just as bad; I have no idea why people think they’re entitled to stalk around famous landmarks as if they own the place without supervision. Heck, from what I got from the lecture and my own readings security isn’t strict enough if anything. It’s truly baffling how the people who actually take the effort to go to these places don’t have any sense of respect for the locations themselves.

  2. I think that this post is hilarious! People rated visiting an archaeology site… I am kids upset about the commercialism. I don’t think they should be charging such high prices to view history. I understand charging more if it was a walking tour with a tour guide – but that’s not necessary – they wouldn’t be able to tell people anything that they couldn’t read off a pamphlet. I think that the price should be reduced, because all the landowner has to pay for is security and people to take other people’s money. There isn’t crazy land upkeep other than cutting the grass – the stones really don’t need much upkeep because, hello – they’ve stood up by themselves for YEARS. I don’t think the owner should be making a huge profit off of Stonehenge. As for other commercialism, it’s hard for me to pick a side on that. On one side, I think it cheapen the entire experience. On the other side, can I really be mad at shop owners see an opportunity to fill a need and make a huge profit off of it? If there was a way to shift the importance off the coffee and food and back on to the mysterious and unanswered Stonehenge story, that would be the best.

    I do think the possible fake review of kicking a rock and spending 3 years in jail is hilarious. Whether true or not, it shows the overall lack of respect for Stonehenge or any other archaeology site. When I was doing research for my blog, I remember reading that 3 of the large stones fell over because tourists. If all the stones get knocked over, then the site turns into a bunch of rocks. I guess people don’t truly understand that the stone have a substantial weight and some of the stones came from Wales.

  3. I found this post so amusing! First off, I can’t believe almost 1,000 people took the time to write reviews, whether humorous or not. Secondly, this whole “rating” system seems like complete garbage. How are you supposed to give one to five stars on a historical site? And what do you even base these ratings off of? From the reviews, it seems like most tourists want cheap and commercial entertainment, which kind of contradicts what they’re trying to do: see historical culture. Just imagine a snack bar or food court at these historical sites. They would have cheesy names like The Hard ROCK Cafe (for Stonehenge), and probably sell a mixture of greasy food and crappy souvenirs.

    On another note, I’m right with you – I can’t tell if some of these “reviews” are actually serious or more along the lines of sarcastic and ironic. Are people really upset that there’s no nearby McDonald’s? Does someone really want an Egyptian themed amusement park to replace the Giza Plateau?

    I think these urges for commercialism stem from our society, and a lack of concern for culture and heritage. I live in the DC Metropolitan area, and I’ve grown accustomed to seeing large tourist groups wander around the city, especially during the summer. It always disappoints me to see (typically middle school aged) people not appreciating the history of DC. They always seem more concerned with the trinkets in the gift shops instead of the monuments or museum exhibits. Washington DC has so much culture and history that it’s a shame to see people missing out and not taking advantage of it, much like the authors of these reviews seem to be.

  4. I think you bring up some very good points here! It is interesting how people seem to expect so much of home when they are away in another continent and culture. Why do people feel the need for a snack bar or Mcdonald’s when they are supposed to be taking in their surroundings and experiencing the wonders of the ancient world. The reason to go to these sites should be so much more about the experience and putting oneself in the shoes of an ancient civilization, but sadly it seems like many tourists just want to take a selfie and brag to their friends and family at home about how cool they are for going where many others wish they could. Rating a site on a scale of one to five is honestly silly in my opinion as well. What is the criteria that the raters use? Why does their opinion matter in the first place? It seems like sometimes we want others to make up our minds for us instead of us forming our own opinions.

    My family and I took a trip to Europe last spring and visited London, Paris, and Rome. We really wanted to have a unique experience and some family bonding time, so we staid in rented apartments or bed and breakfasts while sticking to local cuisine in generally less explored sections of the cities. This is not to say that we did not see the essentials; we just really wanted to go at our own pace and explore wherever we felt like going. This turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life and really opened my eyes to the other cultures that one does not normally get to see. I think a portion of why people write negative reviews is the unattainable hype surrounding things like the Mona Lisa. Many people who have visited the Louvre and saw the famous da Vinci painting were let down due to the fact that it is incredibly hyped up. In reality it is a small painting behind a thick sheet of glass and a rope-fence. The only real way to see it is to try to maneuver through the crowd of people with huge iPads and the closest one will ever get is at least twenty feet away. It also does not help that some of the other art in the room is arguably more impressive and there is another da Vinci painting in the hallway outside that can be walked right up to without such a hassle.

  5. I find your blog post very interesting, as you didn’t just read an article and write a report of what you read. Exploring the reviews is a creative idea, and I enjoyed reading your post. However, I will say I’m not entirely surprised by the types of comments you cited reading about. Growing up, I traveled a lot with my family. Even when we were visiting beautiful, historic sites, I would often overhear people complaining about some aspect of the site or another. I personally believe that some people just like complaining for complaining’s sake. The people more concerned about the nearby cafe or the admission prices may just like complaining, or they, as you mentioned, might really not see the historic importance of such sites.

    I also found this week’s discussion on Stonehenge to be eye-opening. I simply thought it was an isolated circle of old rocks that were important simply because of their arrangement and age. I had no idea that they are people today who consider the site sacred according to their religious beliefs.

    Another part of the discussion that I found interesting was that people flock to the site on the Summer and Winter solstices. Prior to this week, I was under the impression that you could visit Stonehenge any time of the year, and I most definitely did not believe there were party-like gathering thrown on the historic site. Even though Ethan clarified that you can visit Stonehenge throughout the year but cannot touch the stones or go into the site except for on the solstices, I am still baffled at the thought of thousands of people gathering there as if for a concert.

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