Today’s Wonder of the Day brings us to the English countryside to see a mysterious collection of rocks that are famous around the world. What are we talking about? Stonehenge, of course!

In southern England on the Salisbury Plain stands a circular formation of rocks called Stonehenge. People from around the world immediately recognize pictures of Stonehenge, as it’s one of the world’s most famous archeological sites. It’s also one of Earth’s greatest mysteries.

What is Stonehenge? Who built it? Why was it built? These questions remain unanswered today, some 4,600 years after Stonehenge was built by prehistoric peoples who left no written records. There is no shortage of theories about Stonehenge, though.

Ancient folklore holds that Stonehenge was created by King Arthur’s wizard, Merlin, out of massive stones from Ireland that had been assembled there by giants. Others believe the stones were erected thousands of years ago by invaders from Denmark.

Still others believe the stones are the ruins of an ancient Roman temple. Could Stonehenge have been intended as a cemetery dedicated to an ancient ruling dynasty? A popular modern theory is that Stonehenge is a landing site for alien spacecraft!

Some people believe Stonehenge may have been an ancient healing site, since the people at that time may have believed the stones used had magical powers. Others think it was a site used for ancestor worship, since it has also been linked to a nearby wooden circle at Durrington Walls.

Stonehenge was first studied in the 1660s by John Aubrey. Since that time, thousands of scientists have studied the rock formations. Experts believe Stonehenge was formed in stages over 1,000 years or more. Some estimates place construction time at over 20 million hours!

What fascinates visitors to Stonehenge is how ancient peoples could have transported the huge sandstone blocks (each weighing about 50,000 pounds) over 19 miles to their current location. And how did they place them on top of one another? Without all the benefits of modern engineering and technology, how did they accomplish such an impressive feat?

Today, the most serious debate about the purpose of Stonehenge revolves around two main theories. Some believe Stonehenge was a holy site, while others believe it was a scientific observatory.

Experts who support these theories point to the fact that Stonehenge aligns with the sun and the moon. They believe this supports the view that Stonehenge was used as part of rituals related to the changing seasons. Others point to alignment with certain stars, which could support Stonehenge’s use to predict certain astronomical events.

Only one thing is certain about Stonehenge: it’s an architectural marvel that will fascinate people for thousands of years to come. Regardless of whether we learn who built it and why, it will continue to spark curiosity and imagination for centuries in the future.

90 Join the Discussion

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    • We’re so glad you have been WONDERing about the mysterious Stonehenge, Andrew! Thanks for reading and watching the video, we LOVE learning cool new things with great Wonder Friends like you! :)

    • Great guess, Laila S! We learned that Stonehenge is in England, but how the stones were moved and formed is still a big mystery! Check out today’s Wonder for more information! We’re glad you’re here! :)

    • Isn’t it amazing to imagine, Hadley H? We will use our imaginations to pretend we are going to Stonehenge, and use one of the theories as our reason for going! Thanks for WONDERing with us– it’s always fun to learn something new with a great Wonder Friend! :)

  1. Thoughts: We thought that the music was very mysterious and went well with the mystery of Stonehenge. We liked the different camera angles used by the video’s creator. We’re interested to know how the video was made. We think maybe a satellite was used for the really far away shots. We’re curious about when and how Stonehenge was made as well.

    Predictions: How big is the Milky Way? How far away are stars? What are planets made of? Why are stars hot? Are there robots on Mars? What happens when you’re knocked out? How do the stars shine? How big are stars? How does the solar system work? Why is the sun hot? Why is the sun a star? Are there things in space that allow people to time travel? What kind of shapes to the stars make? Why do stars twinkle? How do meteorites fall to Earth? Why are there different planets? How do stars get their shapes?

    • Way to go, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Hess’ classroom! We are so proud of you; you’ve been doing a terrific job of WONDERing about Stonehenge and the behind-the-scenes video! We LOVE your enthusiasm and use of imagination about the video production. Perhaps we’ll have to Wonder about that in the future… :)

      Thanks for sharing all your awesome guesses for Wonder #852… it’s going to be out of this world! :-)

  2. We talked about how stonehenge could have been built. One of our friends thinks maybe cavemen built Stonehenge. Another friend thought that maybe they pushed the rocks into place. Someone else thought they might have had a bouncy thing and bounced the rocks into place.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder of the day will be about the moon, sun, space, stars, and Saturn.

    • We are so glad you have been WONDERing about the different methods in which Stonehenge could have been built! Way to go, Wonder Friends in Ms. Bayko’s Class! :-)

      We like your creativity! Thanks for sharing your awesome comment AND guesses for tomorrow! :)

    • Alright, that sounds like a great way to learn new vocabulary, Tyler! We’re so happy that you and your Wonder classmates are here today! We Wonder what your theory about Stonehenge is? Aliens, super-strong people? We’re still WONDERing about this mysterious place! :)

  3. Our second grade class LOVES the Wonder of the Day! We have many ideas as to how Stonehenge was created. We’re pretty sure it fell from an alien spaceship, blew in from a tornado, was built by the power of elephants and horses, or maybe a combination! Thank you so much for making our brains work a little harder each morning!

    • Hey there, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Plunkert’s second grade class! We’re so glad you’re here today to use your awesome brains and imaginations! Your ideas about Stonehenge’s creation are WONDERful– thank you for sharing them with us! YOUR ROCK! :)

  4. Good morning, Wonderopolis! We have enjoyed learning about stonehenge during our snack time! How facinating these rocks are! They are awesome! We wish we could see them in person. Wouldn’t that be a cool field trip?!!?
    Until tomorrow,
    Miss Hobson’s Kinders :-)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friends in Miss Hobson’s Class! We are so happy that you joined us during snack time! We’re so lucky to have WONDERful friends like you! We hope you’ll travel to England to see Stonehenge in the future, but we are glad we took a virtual field trip today! HOORAY! :)

    • Thanks for reading and watching today’s mysterious Wonder, Sanaa! We are glad you used your awesome imagination and are here at Wonderopolis today! Thanks for visiting! :)

    • That’s a great theory, Hunter! We LOVE using our imaginations to figure out how Stonehenge came to be! What a mystery! :)

  5. WOW!!! I had NO idea that there was so much information about the stonehenge! I had a LOT of fun reading about it and watching the video about it.

    • HOORAY, your comment made us smile, Kailee! Thanks for WONDERing about the mysterious creation of Stonehenge– we can’t help but Wonder what really happened? We like thinking through the different theories, too! Thanks for visiting us today! :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Hazel! You’ve certainly got that right– we want more information, too! :) The crazy thing is… no one knows for sure! Stonehenge is a mystery– experts are still trying to figure out how the stones got there! :)

    • Thanks for WONDERing with us today, Logan! We’re oh-so-glad you joined the Wonder fun to learn something new today! :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Rylee! We wish we had more information about Stonehenge, but the history of the rocks is unknown! There are many theories about these very LARGE rocks and how they got to where they are now! We Wonder what your theory is…? :)

  6. This was a cool wonder! I think that it was interesting how some people believe that the stonehenge was an ancient healing site and that some people may have believed that the stones had magical powers, and that some people still think that the stonehenge was used for an alien landing site. On a show called Arthur, on PBS, there is one episode where aliens do land on the stonehenge. Thank you for today’s wonder! :) ;)

    • Berkleigh, you did a great job of summarizing all you learned today! WAY TO GO! We are also so proud of you for making a connection between the Arthur episode and today’s Wonder! Perhaps aliens really were helpful in building Stonehenge! :)

  7. I thought it was mysterious and I think I understand your point of view. No people or cities were around it or Mayans to build it it’s just there.

    • You’re right, with no one around, it’s hard to imagine how Stonehenge came to be, Isaac! We are so glad you’re using your WONDERful imagination and you shared your comment! Nice work! :)

  8. The music during the video was kind of “creepy”. Did you do that because Stonehenge is such a mystery? We can’t believe nobody has figured out how it was built! We can’t believe it was built by hand.

    Prediction: The Milky Way, UFO’s, spacecraft, the sun, comets, moon, shooting stars, the big bang theory, or planets.

    • Hey there, PinkPanthers! We agree, the music in the video did send a bit of a chill up our spines, too! We can’t take credit for the Wonder video today, but we think the creators had the mystery of Stonehenge in mind! We are still WONDERing how those stones ended up where they did! INCREDIBLE! :)

      Thanks for sharing all your out-of-this-world Wonder guesses! We can’t wait for tomorrow! :)

  9. Why does Stonehenge look scary? Are they like that in real life? Have you ever seen a Stonehenge before WONDERopolis? If you have was it life changing?

    • If you travel to England, Amaria, you’d see Stonehenge! We haven’t seen it in person, but we liked our virtual field trip to Stonehenge! :)

  10. Hi wonderopolis I thought learning about stonehenge was really cool. Maybe next it will be about different rocks? Do you know how long it took for them to move the rocks, and how long have they been there?

    • Hey Madeline! We’re so glad you enjoyed learning about stonehenge– we are still trying to figure out how those rocks made it to where they are!? We wish we could have been there to see them when they were first set up, more than 1,000 years ago! WOW! :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Jewles! We’re glad you’ve got your own theory about Stonehenge– we think it’s a great one! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :)

  11. Hi Wonderopolis I love the wonder of the day and here are some of the theories I thought. Stonehenge is one of Earth’s greatest mysteries. I did not know that until my teacher showed me the video of the day. I learned Stonehenge is maybe made by aliens.

    • We are so glad you summarized what you learned today, Samuel! Nice work! Thanks for WONDERing with us– you are one lucky duck to have a teacher who shares Wonderopolis with you and your classmates! HOW COOL! Keep up the WONDERing! :)

  12. Hey wonderopolis when I read that stonehenge is a landing site for alien spacecraft I thought that it was CRAZY and also when I read that it’s Earth’s greatest mysteries I thought that was CRAZY too and I LOVE learning with my class about all your fun things to learn. :)

    • Hey Wonder Friend Miranda, thanks for WONDERing with us today! We are so glad you have been thinking about the different theories that relate to how Stonehenge was formed! How cool that you and your Wonder classmates have been using your AWESOME imaginations to learn all about this English mystery! Thanks for visiting us! :)

  13. Why is stonehege scary? Are they like that in real life? I would like to visit this place some time. I never knew that there was a real place like that. It looks kind of scary.

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Spencer! Stonehenge is mysterious, since no one really knows why or how those stones got to where they are. Since Stonehenge has been around for more than 1,000 years, it’s been a mystery for a very LONG time! :)

  14. Hello wonderopolis I think the aliens made it.

    At the time they did not have tools
    the sun and moon told the time…… well
    thanks for wonder of the day.

    • Thank you for sharing your guess about how Stonehenge came to be, Kayne! We’re so glad you’re WONDERing with us! :)

  15. Hi Wonderopolis
    I learned a lot about Stonehedge today some things I learned today was that Stonehedge has been studied a lot. I also learned that Stonehedge is really really really really old but I think it is really cool.

    I think that tomorrow’s wonder will be about constellations.

    • Pandalover, we’re so glad you’re here today! We’re glad you learned about Stonehenge, and how it’s been a mysterious place for such a LONG time! Perhaps you’ll enjoy the next Wonder of the Day as we start a new safari adventure! :)

  16. I hope someone is going to make another stonehenge soon. They can compare the two and figure out what it is. I think tomorrow’s wonder is that we might see aliens with the stars.

    • We are glad you’re thinking outside the box, marf12345678910! We bet another Stonehenge would be a WONDERful way to compare and contrast the two formations! Thanks for being a SUPER Wonder Friend! :)

  17. Hi wonderopolis the stonehenge could be a clock and I think the wonder of the day tomorrow will be about planets and stars.

    • Ooooh, what a great theory, Nolan! Perhaps it was a very advanced way to tell time! Thanks for visiting us today and sharing your WONDERful comment! :)

  18. Hi Wonderopolis I love today’s wonder. Is it true that stonehedge is one of the greatest mysteries on Earth? We are reading about mysteries in school too. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s wonders.

    Bye!!!!!!!!!

    • How cool that you’re WONDERing about mysteries in your classroom, too, Sophia! HOORAY! We are glad you visited us today to Wonder… hope to see you tomorrow! :)

  19. Hi wonderopolis! I learned a lot about stonehenge! If it’s lined up with the sun and moon it could be a clock! I had no idea stonehenge is so heavy.

    • Nice work, cat lover! We are so excited that you have been thinking of the different reasons Stonehenge exists! WOOHOO! We can’t imagine moving those huge and heavy rocks, but it’s really amazing to imagine what Stonehenge means! :)

  20. Hello wonderopolis I predict that tomorrow’s wonder will be about the solar system. I learned that they’re in England. Is it really that creepy in real life. Who built them? How did they lift the stones? Bye.

    • Those questions still remain unanswered, Chris! We’d LOVE to find out how and why Stonehenge exists, but there are some theories available. Check out the Wonder article for more information… we Wonder if you agree with any of those theories?! :)

  21. This was a very mysterious video. It got us wondering what happened when it was created. We can’t wait to see tomorrow’s video.

    • Thanks for visiting us to Wonder, Mrs. Colemans’ AWESOME Class! We will continue to imagine why Stonehenge exists and HOW those heavy rocks were placed in a formation! We hope to see you soon! :)

    • HOORAY, we’re so excited we learned new vocabulary words together! We like that you described our Stonehenge Wonder as mysterious– that’s a great description! :)

    • Great guess, Vibha! We’re so glad you enjoyed WONDERing about Stonehenge with us- perhaps you’ll be an archeologist in the future and you can study Stonehenge even more! :)

  22. Stonehenge is a circular formation of rock. It stands in the southern England on the Salisbury Plain. People from around the world quickly recognize pictures because it’s one of the Earths greatest mysteries. Stonehenge was built by prehistoric peoples who left no written records. Ancient folklore holds that Stonehenge was created by King Authur wizard.

    • Thanks for sharing your awesome comment about Stonehenge, Lovelymhee! We’re so glad you summarized all you learned with us– Stonehenge sure is fascinating! :-)

    • We’re glad to hear it, Hannah! Thanks for visiting us and sharing your awesome comment! We hope to Wonder with you soon! :)

    • Hey there, Bob, we’re glad to hear this Wonder is right up your alley! We Wonder what you learned today? :)

    • Thanks for sharing your comment, Wonder Friend Tuan! We Wonder: what is your favorite new fact you learned about Stonehenge? :)

  23. Hey it’s me again! Some people say they take sick people and the Stonehendge heals them is that one of the theories?

    • Hey again, Wolfy! Thanks for asking– some people do believe that Stonehenge is a place of healing. But you’re right, this is just a theory, so we cannot know for certain! It’s quite a mysterious place! :)

  24. I think that people should make an animated Stonehenge with all the rocks standing and try to find out what’s its use is. Do you like that idea?

    • That’s a WONDERful idea, Timothy! We think you’re doing a SUPER job of using your creative imagination! Nice work! Perhaps you and some of your Wonder Friends can create Stonehenge cartoons of your own! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is Stonehenge?
  • Who built Stonehenge?
  • How old is Stonehenge?

Wonder Gallery

StonehengeVimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to learn more about Stonehenge? Invite a friend or family member…and maybe an alien enthusiast or conspiracy theorist or two…to explore one or more of the following activities:

  • Stonehenge is a beautiful architectural creation, regardless of how, when or by whom it was built. Explore the beauty of the English countryside by jumping online to check out the following Stonehenge photo gallery:
  • Just how impressive is the construction of Stonehenge? With the help of a friend or family member, tackle the following challenge. Your job is to take three automobiles and move them about 19 miles away to the middle of a field. Once you have them there, you need to place two of them vertically with the third vehicle balanced horizontally on top of the other two. A couple of restrictions apply, though. You can’t drive the cars there. You also can’t use any modern technology or anything invented in the last several hundred years. That means no cranes or motorized help of any kind. How would you do it? Could you do it? Brainstorming through this challenge will help give you a better appreciation for the accomplishment that is Stonehenge!
  • So what is Stonehenge and who built it? You tell us! Who knows? Maybe your explanation is the right one! Use your imagination and come up with a short story that tells about the history of Stonehenge. Be sure to touch upon who built it and why. Perhaps it was space aliens! Or could it have been leprechauns? And why? Is it an intergalactic clock of some sort? Maybe it marks the spot where aliens buried a map to their planet! Perhaps they’re sports equipment for an ancient game played by prehistoric giants! Your story can be as wild and crazy — or as scientific and accurate — as you want it to be. When you’re finished, be sure to post a copy of your story to Facebook for your Wonder Friends to see. We can’t wait to read your story!

Still Wondering

In National Geographic Xpeditions’ Recording the Changing Seasons in Ancient Times lesson, children learn about Stonehenge and read ancient myths and stories explaining the seasons.

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day may have you seeing stars…or something else…

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