Although we don’t know for sure, judging by archaeological excavation and our own knowledge of the time periods in which Stonehenge was built, historians postulate that the construction process involved three stages. The culmination of the first phase was the creation of a large circular ditch measuring around 86.5 metres (284 feet) in diameter. Just inside, a bank made of chalk taken from the ditches was used to form a bank, with a series of 56 holes (known as ‘Aubrey holes’) being dug just inside.
After around 1,000 years of inactivity, the next phase began. Over 80 granite bluestones were transported from the Preseli Mountains in Wales, initially on rollers and sledges before being transported via raft to Warminster, with these land and water-traversing methods being repeated until they reached the site near Salisbury. From there, the stones were dragged to the centre to form a semicircle.
About 150 years later, sarsen stones were set up in the outer circle. Much heavier than the bluestones (some weighed as much as 50 tons, compared to the bluestones’ four tons), the only feasible method of transportation was sledges and ropes, and the manpower required would have had to number in the high hundreds.
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