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The future

Today Stonehenge suffers from its surroundings. It sits on a triangle of land, bordered on two sides by busy roads that cut it off from its surrounding landscape. The facilities for visitors are basic and cramped and there is at present no space available for exhibits to explain the site, its remarkable landscape, or the many fascinating finds that have been made in the area. But plans are well underway to change this, and in the future a visit to Stonehenge will be a very different experience.
Stonehenge for all

It has been said that every age has the Stonehenge that it deserves and it is true that over the past centuries Stonehenge has been viewed by successive generations in a wide variety of ways. After the scientific advances of the XIX century, when it was realized that Stonehenge was in fact a product of native Britons, without any exotic influence, the XX century saw a resurgence of alternative ideas.
Modern investigations

The fall of the stone at Stonehenge changed attitudes towards the monument, marking its move not only into the XX century, but from ruin to national treasure. The year 1901 saw both protest at Stonehenge, as the site was fenced off for the first time, and the first restoration work.
Antiquaries and romantics

Due to a renewed interest in the ancient past during the XVII century, new ways of trying to understand Stonehenge were employed. In 1629 the Duke of Buckingham had a hole dug in the centre of the monument, but was disappointed as it produced nothing more than “stages hornes and bulls hornes and charcoals”. While an archaeologist today would be more than satisfied with such a collection of samples for radiocarbon dating, he did not consider them of any great interest.
After Stonehenge

Although Stonehenge was effectively completed by 1600 BC, we have no evidence to show how long after this it continued in use. But even if Stonehenge remained the same, the surrounding landscape continued to change. More and more elaborate round barrows were built, continuing the emphasis on burial, but towards the end of the Bronze Age (about 1000 BC) there is increasing evidence of everyday life.
People of Stonehenge

The 1000 years before construction started at Stonehenge had seen great changes in peoples’ lives, as farming gradually replaced a life of hunting and gathering wild foods on these rolling chalk uplands. This change meant settling down and investing in land, with the consequent ideas of ownership and territory.
The final phase

Further changes took place between 2300 and 2000 BC when once again the stones that lay in and close to the enclosure’s entrance were repositioned. It is at this time, if not earlier, as suggested by recent archaeological evidence, that the line of the entrance was extended down the sloping hillside by the twin ditches and banks of the Avenue.
The late stone phase

Some time later, minor changes took place around the outer parts of the monument. A circular ditch was dug around the Heel Stone and its companion stone was removed. Three stones were raised in a line across the entrance causeway, the Slaughter Stone, now fallen, being the sole survivor. Two of the Station Stones were also surrounded by low, ditched mounds, known as the North and South Barrows.
The early stone phase

The next stage in the development of Stonehenge saw its transformation, some time just before 2500 BC, from a simple enclosure to something quite different. Stones arrived: sarsens from the Marlborough Downs, and a much greater number of bluestones from the Preseli Hills in Wales.
The timber phase

The earthwork enclosure probably did not stay empty for long. Twentieth-century excavations at Stonehenge have all revealed holes dug into the chalk that once held upright wooden posts of varying size. Few are dated and, although in the illustration above they are shown together as part of a timber phase, pre-dating the arrival of the stones, it is possible that some may date to later stages of Stonehenge’s development.