April 30, 2009


Photographer: Karen Houk
Summary Authors: Karen Houk; Jim Foster

The photo above shows a view of the world’s most famous stone ring and one of the world’s most revered archeological sites. Stonehenge is located in southwestern England, on the Salisbury Plain, approximately 82 mi (137 km) southwest of London. A henge is a more or less circular monument constructed with standing stones or wooden pillars; many are enclosed by a ditch or a berm. Stonehenge is the most prominent of the 900 or so henges in the British Isles. Most of these henges were built about 4,000 years ago by ancient Britons, and though theories abound as to their meaning and significance, no written record was left behind. The inner rings consist of 80 dolerite bluestones; whereas the taller (sarsen) stones around the perimeter and in the center are sandstone, weighing as much as 25 tons. The bluestones were brought in from 200 miles (320 km) away and were floated down the Avon River for the majority of their journey. The sarsen stones were transported from a site some 19 miles (30 km) distant. An estimated 20 million man-hours were required to complete this megalithic circle. Stonehenge and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986. Photo taken April 8, 2009.