Travel Squibs: Ancient Stonehenge Reborn for Visitors

The new Stonehenge Visitors Center provides a comfortable launching point for a traveler's discovery of the ancient monument.

John Scott Lewinski by John Scott Lewinski


SQUIB: a : a short humorous or satiric writing or speech; b : a short news item. (Merriam-Webster)

This Travel Squib wasn't created by aliens, and neither was Stonehenge. So, all of those so-called ancient astronaut theorists can pound sand. Leave the biggest Henge in the world alone.

Now that I got that out of my system, we can take a moment and admire the truly remarkable salute to humanity that is Stonehenge. Built more than 4000 years ago on the elevated reaches of Salisbury Plain, the Stone Age men and women who lived around and during the construction of the massive stone circle could never have imagined they were witnessing the creation of a monument to human determination and ingenuity.

Built out of rock carved more than 150 miles from the Stonehenge site in Pembrokshire, Wales, the builders had to cut, transport, elevate and plant the elements of the monument without the aid of machinery. To credit its creation to anything other than human hard work and vision is in insult to all of us. With roots older than the Great Pyramid at Giza, Stonehenge is a World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages.

While historians, archeologists and anthropologists once argued about the purpose of Stonehenge, it's now widely held that the site had many purposes over the years. It's definitely been used as a burial crowd and welcomed sacred ceremonies over the centuries.

To better organize and serve travelers making a pilgrimage to the site, plans were laid to provide improved concessions, parking and gift shop facilities. The new Stonehenge Visitor Center is now open, with admissions starting at £13.90 for adults (about $20).

The center stands about a 10 minute free shuttle bus ride from the circle. Once dropped off at the site, visitors can spend as long as they like circling the monument from a walking path set about 30 feet away from the stones. Tourists are not allowed to approach or touch Stonehenge.

The new Visitor Center features a basic, clean design that doesn't look to compete with the historic venue it serves. And, it provides shelter from the cold winds that often sweep over Salisbury Plain.

Below you'll find a brief collection of imagery from my visit to Stonehenge, including a look at the new Visitors Center and additional historical looks at how the Neolithic builders lived.

"Oh, how they danced...The little children of Stonehenge..."






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