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Monumental circular arrangement of standing stones built in prehistoric times and located near Salisbury, Wiltshire, Eng. The stones are believed to have been put in place in three main phases c. 3100–c. 1550 BC. The reasons for the building of Stonehenge are unknown, but it is believed to have been a place of worship and ritual. Many theories have been advanced as to its specific purpose (e.g., for the prediction of eclipses), but none has been proved. Stones erected during the second phase of construction (c. 2100 BC) were aligned with the sunrise at the summer solstice, suggesting some ritual connection with that event.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Stonehenge, visit Britannica.com.