What are Henges?

No, not the ones that hang doors and let them open and close! Those are “hinges”. I’m concerned with the ones in the United Kingdom for starts. The most famous henge is Stonehenge in Wiltshire County, England.

The circle of stones weigh 25 tons each, are 13-14 feet tall and about 7 feet wide. They think the stones were brought from southwest Wales, which is 180 miles away. The entrance to Stonehenge is aligned with the rising sun on the summer solstice, , when the sun reaches its northernmost point on the celestial sphere. Human remains have been found here that make Stonehenge the largest cemetery in England.

But, what is a henge? A Henge is an earthen enclosure, consisting of a roughly circular, or oval, shaped bank with an internal ditch surrounding a central flat area roughly more than 66 feet in diameter.

There is usually no signs of occupation within a Henge but they may contain structures such as stone circles, timber circles and coves. Stonehenge is atypical since the ditch is outside the main earthwork bank.

Superhenge is the largest Henge in the world which is only 2 miles northeast of Stonehenge. It is bank and ditch construction with walls up to 10 feet tall and having a diameter of 1600 feet across,

which is more than five times the size of the earthworks at Stonehenge. There are no stones here as the structure was made up of timber posts, the size of totems. There were many cottages outside and surrounding Superhenge, possibly the homes of the workers who constructed Stonehenge.

The Town of Avery sits inside of a Henge, the largest circle of stones in the world. There were originally 98 slabs, sixteen times the size of Stonehenge. Wales may have been where the stone circle originated. On the Island of Anglesey, North Wales, there is a prehistoric site known as Bryn Celli Ddu.

There is a mound with a stone passage inside to a burial chamber which is the center piece of this Henge. Once there was an outer circular bank and ditch that would have defined the boundary which all is 500 years older than Stonehenge.

Heading up the northernmost part of Scotland, John O’ Groats, nicknamed “the most dismal town in Scotland”. From here a 24 mile ferry ride north and you arrive in Stromness, Scotland, the largest Island in Orkney.

Here you find The Ring of Brodgar, a Neolithic Henge and a 341 foot, made up of 60 stones, circle. This Henge dates back to 3200 BC which is centuries older than Stonehenge. But why circles you ask?

Next on to Bay of Firth, Scotland, where the possibly oldest Henge is north of there, out in the North Sea. There is an ancient, now underwater, feature that was, most likely, a naturally formed Henge that travelers saw and copied in their man-made Henges.

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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