The site of Stonehenge and it’s surrounding area became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. The area around Stonehenge was already considered ancient by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers.
Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Stories about Stonehenge mainly center upon the stones themselves. How it was built and why. The first project around Stonehenge involved digging a circular ditch about 330 feet across around 3000 BCE. The term “henge” itself is from an ancient Saxon word meaning “hanging”. Perhaps this was for the lintels sitting atop the upright stones or the ditch enclosures.
The first configuration of Stonehenge lasted nearly 500 years. Between 2600-2400 BCE it assumed its present form, or one that would be recognizable today with the erection of the major upright stones and lintels. The sparseness lintels were brought from Marlborough Downs, about 20 miles away.
Over many centuries the bluestones were rearranged several times. Ritual activity stopped for several millennia from around 1600 BCE.
The question of the purpose of Stonehenge has baffled archaeologists for centuries. In the 1960s a new theory was advanced, that it was some kind of calendar or observatory, which are now considered off the mark. Prehistoric people often aligned their monuments with annual celestial events.
Stonehenge is a world famous attraction with more than 800,000 tourists visit it a year. This led to its inclusion in the South West England universal stamp issue for international postage. Universal stamps are produced for tourists and feature iconic buildings and landmarks from around the country.