~3000 - 2800 BC
Stonehenge, a world famous prehistoric monument located on the Salisbury Plain, 10 miles to the north of Salisbury, England. Carbon-14 dating indicates that construction on the site began about 3000 - 2800 B.C.
The site is one of England's most popular tourist stops, attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year. Additionally, Stonehenge is a great curiosity to scientist from all over the world due to its layout and construction of massive stones weighing hundreds of tons. No one can determine the reason for its existence or how the huge stones were maneuvered into place. Theories about its purpose range from an astronomical observatory, worship site, astronomical calendar, work of space aliens, to King Arthur's burial site. Some scientist claim that the alignment of the stones can be used to predict solar eclipses.
In recent years the site has attracted "religious" cults from around the world which flock to the site to conduct pagan rituals. Also, the site has been used for rock festivals and other New Age Traveler functions. Unfortunately, these activities were getting out of hand, causing congestion, excessive litter, and site damage to the point that authorities began restricting public access. However, this policy may be changing to allow paid, guided tours which will permit a return to close-up exploration.
Today, Stonehenge's alignment is such that on the equinoxes and the solstices, the sun rising over the horizon appears to be perfectly placed between gaps in the megaliths. However, this is may be coincidental since the Earth's orbit has shifted several times in the 5000 years since Stonehenge was laid out and, at the time of its construction, the Earth-Sun alignment was very different.
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