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STONEHENGE

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Stonehenge is a unique prehistoric monument of international significance, comprising a circular earthwork with internal stone settings. The main periods of construction and use span the Middle Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age (circa 3000 to 1600 cal BC). Phase 1 (3000 to 2935 BC) saw the construction of a circular ditch with an internal and an external bank. There were two, possibly three, entrances and the ditch was dug as a number of segments. Placed deposits of animal remains and artefacts occurred close to ditch terminals at the entrances. In this phase, the monument has features in common with both causewayed enclosures and henges. The Aubrey Holes, a series of pits arranged inside the bank, probably initially held bluestones, also belong to this phase. The second phase, circa 2900 to 2400 BC, saw some backfilling and recutting in the ditch, as well as further deliberate deposits. Cremations were inserted into many of the Aubrey Holes. A complex timber structure was possibly erected in the interior. Other post structures appear to have existed in the vicinity of the entrances. A third phase, circa 2550 to 1600 BC, saw a complex sequence of erection, removal, and re-arrangement of various stone settings. Paired bluestones were erected in an arc to the north-east of the centre of the monument. The bluestones were transported over 240 km from the Preseli Hills in West Wales. Shortly afterwards this was dismantled, and replaced by an arrangement which included the sarsen stones, possibly from the Marlborough Downs. The Avenue also seems to belong to this phase. The outer circle was composed of sarsen uprights and lintels, enclosing sarsen trilithons arranged in a horseshoe shape. Bluestones were re-erected in a circle between the outer sarsen circle and horseshoe, and inside the horseshoe. Some bluestones were later removed. In the surrounding landscape other Neolithic monuments include long barrows, the Cursus, and henge monuments.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.