Stone circles: 10 staggering standing-stones on screen
They suggest that people carried the dead along the River Avon, and then walked up to Stonehenge in a grand procession. Stonehenge is just one of hundreds of stone circles that have been found in Britain. During the early Bronze Age, circles built from stone or wood played a very important part in the religious life of the British people. Avebury is actually three circles in one!
Two rings of standing stones stand inside a much bigger structure, known as the Great Circle. When it was completed in the early Bronze Age, there were around stones in the Great Circle.
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Woodhenge is just two miles away from Stonehenge. It was a circular structure made up of wooden posts. There is evidence that animal sacrifices were performed at Woodhenge. There may even have been some human sacrifices, too. Today, only 27 stones are left standing, but when it was built in the early Bronze Age it had 60 standing stones. Seahenge was uncovered on the Norfolk coast in Seahenge was originally built on marshes close to the sea. Bronze Age people probably gathered here for funerals. What was life like in the Bronze Age?
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Level up now! Take on the latest primary games on Bitesize. What is Stonehenge? Start activity. How was Stonehenge built? Find out how Stonehenge has changed over the years. What was Stonehenge for?
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Other circles. View image of Stonehenge. The area, however, was occupied beginning around 9, years ago, suggesting it had significance long before Stonehenge was built.
Twenty miles 30km away lies the less well-known but just as significant site of Avebury , home of the largest stone circle in Europe. Meanwhile, Parker Pearson says, it seems that the big stones at Stonehenge came from the Avebury area. This suggests that these significant Neolithic landscapes — Salisbury Plain, Avebury and the Preseli hills in Wales , another area rich with prehistoric monuments — were linked.
And holding that link together was Stonehenge. Parker Pearson suggests that the Welsh bluestones were the first to be put in place at Stonehenge, and that it was the monument that they came from that was important.
View image of Outcrops of rock in the Presili hills, Wales. Even today, the Preseli hills are dotted with dolmens ancient tombs. Question time But even if we agree with the theory that bringing the stones from Wales was a symbolic and even political, act, it presents another mystery: how did prehistoric Britons move those huge stones?
But the finding of two ancient stone quarries in Preseli ended that debate for the most part. Scientists also have experimented with ideas of how to transport the large stones miles km from Wales.
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According to Parker Pearson, they discovered that moving small megaliths like the bluestones, which mostly weighed 2 tons or less, was not actually that difficult — even with just dragging the stone on a sledge. View image of The outcrops of the Preseli hills in Wales. In another recent finding, archaeologists discovered the cremated remains of people buried at Stonehenge.
As it is thought that anyone buried at Stonehenge had elevated social status, this therefore poses questions about the role of women in the Neolithic period. Even so, no matter how many new discoveries are made, it seems that Stonehenge will only continue to throw up new questions for scientists and the media to ponder.
These Neolithic people had huge skill and ambition. Such a huge monument erected so perfectly, over many centuries, is not something easy for us to understand in our fast-paced, modern world. This story is a part of BBC Britain — a series focused on exploring this extraordinary island, one story at a time.
Travel Menu. Britain We may have cracked the mystery of Stonehenge. Share on Facebook.
Share on Twitter. Share on Reddit. Share on WhatsApp. Share by Email. Share on StumbleUpon. By Vivien Cumming 18 July
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