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Stonehenge--An Ancient and Modern Marvel

             "Stonehenge is surely Britain's greatest icon, symbolizing mystery, power, and endurance" (Stonehenge 1). Those are the words of historian Gregory Ashe. The monument, located on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, now lies in ruins. It consists of a circular group of large upright stones surrounded by a circular earthwork. It is the best preserved and most celebrated of the megalithic monuments in all of Europe ("MSN Learning" 1). Built throughout three different time periods spanning over 2,000 years, Ashe and other experts have yet to figure out who and why Stonehenge was constructed. They've formulated many theories but nothing has ever been proven. .
             Little is known about Stonehenge's architects ("MSN Learning"1). Three centuries ago an antiquary named John Aubrey decided that is was the Druids, a caste of Celtic priests, who made Stonehenge. By this time, though, the stones had been standing for 2,000 years before the Celts had even arrived and was disproved by archaeologists. The legend of King Arthur provides another story of the construction of Stonehenge (Stonehenge 2). In the fifth century there had been a massacre of 300 British noblemen by the Saxon leader Hengest. The King wanted to create a memorial for the slain men and he asked Merlin to use his powers to make what is now Stonehenge. Merlin placed the stone circle of the very place that the men were murdered. Today it is widely believed that Neolithic people of the British Isles began constructing the monument about 5,000 years ago (MSN Learning 1). It is said that they started it and then a new economy of people called Beaker Folk finished it ("Unearthing a Mystery" 2). .
             Why anyone ever decided to build Stonehenge remains a mystery, with theories ranging from religion to astronomy and from temples to burial grounds. Astronomers argue that is was used as a calendar for astronomical events ("Stonehenge period 3" 2), while archeologists and historians see it as a sacred place used for either temples to worship ancient earth deities or burial grounds for the ashes of cremated people of the Neolithic period/Bronze ages ("Stonehenge," par.

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