The 5,000-year-old Stonehenge monument in Wiltshire, England, shown here bathed in pastel twilight, has been examined by scientists for centuries. And though our understanding of the structure has increased greatly, particularly in recent years, questions persist about who built Stonehenge and why.
Stonehenge in southern England ranks among the world's most iconic archaeological sites and one of its greatest enigmas. The megalithic circle on Salisbury Plain inspires awe and fascination—but also intense debate some 4,600 years after it was built by ancient Britons who left no written record.
The monument's mysterious past has spawned countless tales and theories. According to folklore, Stonehenge was created by Merlin, the wizard of Arthurian legend, who magically transported the massive stones from Ireland, where giants had assembled them. Another legend says invading Danes put the stones up, and another theory says they were the ruins of a Roman temple. Modern-day interpretations are no less colorful: some argue that Stonehenge is a spacecraft landing area for aliens,