Stonehenge was the first site that I saw in England, and what a way to start a trip! People who had been there always told me that it looked smaller than they were expecting, and I guess I had that so entrenched in my brain that when I got there, it actually seemed *larger* than I was expecting.

My first view of the stones was coming up over a hill on the A344. After getting lost on the way from the airport (somewhere near Guildford because of a wrong turn off a roundabout) and getting really frustrated, when I saw Stonehenge, I was overwhelmed (partially from relief at finally finding it, and partially from realizing that I was looking at *Stonehenge*).

I pulled into the crowded carpark and took a stretch. Then I walked to the gate, presented my Great British Hertiage Pass (a great investment if you are going to a lot of tourist sites) and walked through the tunnel that runs under the A344 and up to Stonehenge.


You might be able to tell from the photo above that you have to walk around the stones, and are no longer allowed in amongst them. (The ropes are visible in the lower left corner.) As I walked around, I took photos from almost every angle. Rather than bore you with a lot of repetative shots, I've selected a few for the web.


The smaller stones at the site are known as bluestones. They came from the Preseli Mountains in Wales, about 240 miles away.


In the above photo, you can see clearly the Sarsen stones and the remaining lintels (the horizontal beams). The Sarsen stones were brought from the Marlborough Downs about 20 miles away. The resulting structure (shaped like the greek symbol pi) is known as a trilithon.

 


The stone monument phase of Stonehenge was constructed over 1000 years, between 2500-1500 BC.


The Heelstone (above) is the stone that the sun rises over on the Summer Solstice, when viewed from the center of Stonehenge. Many of the stones in the structure are aligned with celestial objects. Stonehenge was clearly a calendar for noting the changing of the seasons, but whether or not it was able to predict eclipses is still debated.


Photographs © Lara E. Eakins except where noted


England and Wales 1998
Photography and Travel
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