We have all heard of Stonehenge.
It is one of those places that pop up all of the time. We see pictures of it. We hear the myths and theories about what it is.
But I never thought I would actually go there.
Stonehenge is in Wiltshire, England very close to Amesbury.
It is believed to have been built from 3000 to 2000 BC.
While I don't think anyone knows for sure the exact reason for Stonehenge, many believe it could have been an ancient burial ground. In 2013 Mike Pearson led a group of archaeologists in excavating upwards of 50,000 cremated bones of approximately 63 people buried at Stonehenge. These had been moved in 1920 when William Hawley found them and re-interred them into one hole as he considered the discovery unimportant.
The five central trilithons (a structure consisting of two large vertical stones supporting a third stone set horizontally across the top), the heel stone, and the embanked avenue are aligned to the sunset of the winter solstice and the sunrise of the summer solstice.
There are theories of it being simply a place to tell the time of year, that it was a place of healing, that it was a place to celebrate deceased ancestors, and even that a giant helped Merlin to build Stonehenge.
The Heel Stone is a large stone set apart from the main stone circle.
There is a folk tale attributed to Geoffrey of Monmouth about the heel stone:
"The Devil bought the stones from a woman in Ireland, wrapped them up, and brought them to Salisbury plain. One of the stones fell into the Avon, the rest were carried to the plain. The Devil then cried out, 'No one will ever find out how these stones came here!' A friar replied, 'That's what you think!', whereupon the Devil threw one of the stones at him and struck him on the heel. The stone stuck in the ground and is still there."
Whatever the reason for Stonehenge, there is a very distinct, quiet feeling there.
You know that whatever it was built and used for anciently, those that built it did something incredible. The stones are huge and it is crazy to think about what it would have taken to create it.
In 1977 it was roped off to no longer let visitors walk throughout and touch the stones but you can still get into the stones and off the pathway through special tours and solstice celebrations.
I highly recommend a visit to Stonehenge if you are ever in England.
See more pictures of our visit on Gingham Owl here.