Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, two miles (3 km) west of Amesbury, is home to Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument dating back thousands of years. It is made up of a row of Sarsen stone pillars that stand 13 feet (4 m) tall, seven feet (2 m) wide, and weigh around 25 tons. There are also smaller pillars along the horizontal lintel stones that connect the vertical stones together. In addition to the smaller bluestones in the center, there is a ring of these bluestones around the edges. Inside, each trilithon stands on its own foundation, and two bulkier vertical Sarsens are joined together by a lower horizontal one. As a result, the whole monument is now in ruins, and faces towards the summer solstice sunrise. the stones are set within earthworks that is situated in the middle of one of the most dense concentrations of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, among them are several hundred tumuli (burial mounds).
It is assumed that the city was built during the Bronze Age (3,000 BC to 2,000 BC). In addition to the earthwork surrounding the entire monument, the surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which formed the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to around 3100 BC. Radiocarbon dating dates the time between around 2400 BC and around 2200 BC as being when the first bluestones were erected. They may have been put in place even earlier than 3000 BC.
One of the most notable landmarks in the United Kingdom, Stonehenge is widely regarded as a symbol of British heritage. This monument has been legally protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1882, when the first legislation successfully introduced to protect historic monuments was successfully put in place in Britain. In 1986, the entire site and its surroundings were designated to be added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. The property surrounding Stonehenge is owned by the Crown, and is administered by English Heritage; the land surrounding the monument is owned by the National Trust.
Stonehenge may have started out as a burial ground, with new burials occurring long after its initial construction. In addition to deposits containing human bone, the ditch and bank dated back to around 3000 BC, when the foundation work had started. It was at least another 500 years before they were completely completed.