The History of Stonehenge and Theories of its Function
The function of Stonehenge has long since plagued mankind. Everyone who has made the trek to this historic site has gazed upon the massive stones and wondered what exactly they were used for over the years. But because of the limited nature of the archaeological records of Stonehenge, most attempts to explain the function of the structure are often interpretive. Many of these interpretations were made in previous centuries, and tend to reflect the cultural biases of the times and were sometimes quite imaginative and wild. These interpretations of Stonehenge have lead the way for many archaeological investigations, religious debates, and astronomical questions. Only in the last few decades have truly in depth and comprehensive studies of Stonehenge’s true function been conducted, with the findings a little more scientific and believable than their centuries old counterparts. But even though these finding do seem a bit more believable, we can still only speculate on a few tantalizing clues that point to its possible function at the time of it’s construction.
“The mysterious monument of Stonehenge, standing
Remote on a bare and boundless heath, as much
unconnected with the events of past ages as it
is with the uses of the present, carries you
back beyond all historical record into the
obscurity of a totally unknown period.”1
It is not easy to precisely date when Stonehenge was originally erected because of the scarcity of easily datable remains, but it is known that it was constructed sometime during the Neolithic and Bronze Age which dates to around 3000 BC. Of course, radiocarbon dating is the method that is used to help determine when this giant monument was erected. The work at Stonehenge was not done all at one time. In fact, it seems to have been built during three distinct periods over approximately 1500 years. In the time frame known as Phase I, or the Earthwork Monument...