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Graphic History

The myths and mystery of the ancient landmark on Salisbury Plain

THE LORE OF STONEHENGE

ILLUSTRATION: ESTHER CURTIS

Stonehenge is famous for both its broken circles of stone arches and as an enduring source of mystery and wonder. What was it used for? And why was it made? Definitive answers to these questions continue to elude us.

What we do know is that Stonehenge was not built in one swoop, but over hundreds of years. The earliest evidence of a monument, in the guise of five pits, dates to c8500-7000 BC; three of these are believed to have held large pine posts, but we know nothing further. The next step came in c3000 BC, when the circular ditch and bank were created, enclosing an area 100 metres across. In c2900-2600 BC, an all-timber monument was erected. After this point wood would give way to stone, beginning with the ‘sarsens’ that form the central ring and horseshoe.

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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

In this month's issue… Hitler's rise to power How a failed painter on the fringes of local politics managed to hoodwink a nation and become - against all likelihood - the Fürher. Plus: 250 years of the circus; the Kingmaker's comeuppance in the War of the Roses battle of Barnet; famous folk who died broke in spite of their achievements; women who fought against the suffragette movement; and the strangely enthralling history of the toilet. Watch out for X.