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Stonehenge, prehistoric stone circle monument, cemetery, and archaeological site located on Salisbury Plain, about 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.
It was built in six stages between 30 Stonehenge has long been the subject of historical speculation, and ideas about the meaning and significance of the structure continued to develop in the 21st century.
English antiquarian John Aubrey in the 17th century and his compatriot archaeologist William Stukeley in the 18th century both believed the structure to be a Druid temple.
This idea has been rejected by more-recent scholars, however, as Stonehenge is now understood to have predated by some 2,000 years the Druids recorded by Julius Caesar.
Gerald Hawkins proposed that Stonehenge had been constructed as a “computer” to predict lunar and solar eclipses; other scientists also attributed astronomical capabilities to the monument.
Most of these speculations, too, have been rejected by experts.
In 1973 English archaeologist Colin Renfrew hypothesized that Stonehenge was the centre of a confederation of Bronze Age chiefdoms.
A large, deep hole was dug within the stone circle in 1620 by George Villiers, 1st duke of Buckingham, who was looking for treasure.A century later Stukeley surveyed Stonehenge and its surrounding monuments, but it was not until 1874–77 that Flinders Petrie made the first accurate plan of the stones.In 1877 Charles Darwin dug two holes in Stonehenge to investigate the earth-moving capabilities of earthworms.The first proper archaeological excavation was conducted in 1901 by William Gowland.