In high school, I lived very close to a Stonehenge replica at the Washington/Oregon border. I’ve spent a fair amount of time up there, wandering and viewing the Columbia River Gorge alone and with friends. The replica imagines what the original Stonehenge looked like in it’s full glory. So to be honest, I wasn’t expecting to be wowed in the way I was when I finally saw the actual Stonehenge. I was pleasantly surprised!
Like many of us, I grew up learning that Stonehenge was built by the Druids, but it in fact predates the Druids by thousands of years. It was built starting 5,000 years ago in the Neolithic period, and the site includes much more than the stones you see in these photos. This area was clearly important to the Neolithic peoples for some time, and in fact the earliest structures in the area appear to be from about 8000 BCE! There are also a number of burial mounds in the area.
The large stone that make up the outer circle of Stonehenge came from about 20 miles away North of the site, but the inner “bluestones,” named because the have a bluish hint when wet, came from the Welsh coast, near where we went hiking just days before! What baffles me is that these early people’s not only knew of the existence of the stones they needed, they had the engineering skills to cut and transport them from hundreds of miles away.
The exhibit at Stonehenge is also excellent providing lots of information about people who built Stonehenge, their tools, and the burials found there.