What was the purpose of a henge?

Henges may have been used for rituals or astronomical observation rather than day-to-day activity. That their ditches are located inside their banks indicates that they were not used for defence, and that the barrier of the earthworks was more likely symbolic than functional.

Why is there a ditch around Stonehenge?

It was the bank which was the important element of the earthwork, and the ditch had no meaning, in itself as a structural or symbolic feature.” However, there is considerable evidence that the surrounding ditch ranked at least equally with the bank in its importance to the structure of Stonehenge I.

Why is Stonehenge not a henge?

Ironically, even though Stonehenge has an earthwork circle around it (the earliest phase of the monument), it isn’t officially a ‘proper’ henge, as the main ditch is external to the main bank. It has to make do with being a ‘proto-henge’.

What is the oldest henge in the world?

Ripples in the landscape reveal the remains of Marden Henge, the largest henge—or circular earthworks—in Britain. Built some 4,500 years ago, its walls stood ten feet high and enclosed an area of nearly 40 acres.

What is the difference between a henge and a stone circle?

About a quarter of British stone circles are flattened rings or ellipses, such as Castlerigg in Cumbria, while two‑entrance henges are often oval in plan (Figure 1), as are the timber rings at Woodhenge, near Stonehenge.

Who built the henges?

Archaeologists believe England most iconic prehistoric ruin was built in several stages, with the earliest constructed 5,000 or more years ago. First, Neolithic Britons used primitive tools—possibly made from deer antlers—to dig a massive circular ditch and bank, or henge, on Salisbury Plain.

Is anything buried under Stonehenge?

Scientists discovered the site using sophisticated techniques to see underground. Among the discoveries are 17 ritual monuments, including the remains of a massive “house of the dead,” hundreds of burial mounds, and evidence of a possible processional route around Stonehenge itself.

Are there bodies under Stonehenge?

Five thousand years ago, the people of Stonehenge buried cremated bodies under the ancient and mysterious site, near Amesbury, U.K. Archaeologists have long believed that the remains belonged to individuals connected with the monument, but for more than a century, they’ve been unable to figure out where they came from …

Are you allowed to touch Stonehenge?

Stonehenge is protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaelogical Areas Act and you must adhere to the regulations outlined in the act or face criminal prosecution. No person may touch, lean against, stand on or climb the stones, or disturb the ground in any way.

Are there henges in America?

The henges of the United States are an eclectic collection of original sculptures arranged in rings, as well as modern replicas of the more ancient varieties. And a few of them are of the historic sort.