World wonder of the Ancient era in Civilization V
|1 Great Engineer points|
- "Time crumbles things; everything grows old and is forgotten under the power of time"
Stonehenge is perhaps the most astounding construct of pre-history still standing. Though largely in ruins, this mighty relic still has the power to insight amazement, awe and wonder.
Stonehenge was built in southern England. Consisting of concentric circles of stone surrounded by a moat (called a "henge"), Stonehenge was constructed in stages over thousands of years. The henge was dug approximately 5000 years ago; the inner ring of smaller "bluestones" were added about a thousand years later, in approximately 2000 BC; and the outer ring of huge "sarsen" stones was completed 500 years after.
No one is sure exactly who constructed Stonehenge. For centuries it was romantically and erroneously believed that the Druids built the wonder, but in fact the edifice was completed 2000 years before there were any Druids. All we really know is that construction was begun by people of the Neolithic period and completed by those who supplanted them.
Stonehenge is a wonder of engineering constructed with the most primitive tools. It appears that the outer ditch was dug with wooden and bone implements. The 80 inner bluestones, weighing about 4 tons each, were transported from a quarry over 240 miles away. Scientists speculate that the stones were dragged on logs and wooden sledges for part of the journey and carried on river barges for the rest. The heaviest of the outer ring of stones weighs in at about 50 tons; it took approximately 600 men to drag such stones from their quarry, about 20 miles away. These monster stones had to be pulled upright in exactly the correct position by men equipped with ropes and wooden levers.
There is much debate about Stonehenge's purpose. Some theorize that it was built as a temple to honor earth gods, while others believe that it was a burial ground for ancient kings and noblemen. Another theory is that Stonehenge is an ancient astronomical observatory, charting the movement of the stars which men believed controlled their destinies.
Whatever its original purpose, it remains today a rugged and beautiful monument to the astonishing skill and dedication of its "primitive" builders.