Stonehenge Summarised Useful Facts For The Attention Of Visitors
Each statement is furnished with a reference to the particular pages
in this book, where fuller information and arguments for and against
may be found.
I. WHEN AND BY WHOM STONEHENGE WAS BUILT
(a) Stonehenge was erected about the year 1700 B.C. (See page 51.)
(b) It was built by a race or men who had only a slight knowledge
of the use of bronze, and no knowledge o
iron. (See pages 40-49.)
II. STONEHENGE CONSISTS OF
(a) A circular earthwork, 300 feet in diameter. (See page 34.)
(b) An avenue bounded by earthworks approaching it on the
north-east. (See page 34.)
(c) One large unworked Sarsen Stone, called the Hele Stone, or
Friar's Heel. (See page 28.)
(d) A recumbent slab within the earthwork called the Slaughtering
Stone. (See page 31.)
(e) Two small unhewn Sarsens lying north-west and south-east of the
Circle of Stones. (See page 27.)
(f) A ring of hewn Sarsen stones with imposts or lintels mortised
to them. The lintels are fitted together with toggle joints. Sixteen
out of the original thirty uprights of these Trilithons are now
The diameter of this circle is about 108 feet, or that of the dome of
St. Paul's. (See page 12.)
(g) A ring of less perfectly hewn Foreign Stones (i.e. stones
not to be found in Wiltshire at the present day).
These numbered between thirty and forty. Only seven are standing
to-day, nine are overthrown. (See page 20.)
(h) Five great Trilithons, arranged in a horseshoe, with the opening
to the north-east. These Trilithons rise gradually in height towards
the south-west. The largest group of stones fell A.D. 1620. Those next
to the great Trilithon on the north-west, fell on January 3rd, 1797.
To-day only two of the Inner Trilithons are standing. One upright of
the great Trilithon (raised and made secure in 1901) is erect. (See
(i) A horseshoe of less perfectly hewn Foreign Stones. Originally
there were fifteen or more of these monoliths averaging eight feet
high. (See page 20.)
(j) A simple recumbent slab of micaceous sandstone called the Altar
Stone. (See page 14.)
III. WHERE THE STONES CAME FROM
(a) The Sarsen Stones are the remains of a cap of Tertiary Sandstone
which once covered the plain. (See page 17.)
(b) The Foreign Stones are still a matter of debate. They have
assuredly been brought from a distance. This is unusual; megalithic
structures are usually built of materials found close at hand. (See
[Illustration: Stonehenge. Looking towards the South East.]
IV. HOW THE MONUMENT WAS ERECTED
The large monoliths of Sarsen Stone were first of all roughly shaped
as they lay in situ on the Plain and then transported to the chosen
The Foreign Stones were also dressed on the spot before erection.
The entire work was performed with stone tools of the roughest
description, weighing from half a pound to over sixty pounds. (See p.
The only trace of metal discovered in 1901, was a small stain of
bronze on one stone, caused by contact with the stone of some very
small bronze object, possibly an ornament. (See page 53.)
The large Trilithons were erected from the centre of the site.
The Foreign Stones were placed in position afterwards. (See pages
V. STONEHENGE AND THE SUMMER SOLSTICE
It is a notable fact that the sun rises immediately over the summit of
the Hele Stone, in a line with the axis of Stonehenge on the Summer
Sir Norman Lockyer and Mr. Penrose, working on astronomical grounds,
fix the date of the circle at 1680 B.C., with a possible error of 200
years on either side.
Much has been said as regards Sun Worship at Stonehenge. The exact
use to which the circle was put is at present a matter of conjecture.
(See page 57.)
VI. STONE CIRCLES GENERALLY, AND STONEHENGE
1. Stonehenge is probably the latest, and is certainly the most
elaborate, stone circle in England.
2. It is the only one in which the stones are squared, dressed, and
provided with lintels or imposts.
3. It is the only circle which contains a horseshoe arrangement of
4. Most of the stone circles in the South of England face towards the
north-east. Stonehenge is one of these.
5. Monuments of the Stonehenge type, but ruder, are found in the
following neighbouring counties in South Britain: Cornwall,
Devonshire, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire.
6. Though Wiltshire only contains four such monuments, two of them,
Avebury and Stonehenge, are the most remarkable in the kingdom.
Avebury, the older of the two, has been almost destroyed, but when
perfect was one of the largest.
Stonehenge, the later, is the most finished example of a megalithic
circle in England.
There seems to be no valid reason for supposing that Stonehenge was
erected by the Druids. (See page 67.)
VIII. THE BARROWS NEAR STONEHENGE
The Barrows round Stonehenge were the burial places of a bronze-using
race, of almost the same date as the Circle; they were erected mostly
after the building of Stonehenge, and are more numerous in this spot
than in any other part of England. (See page 73.)