Stonehenge: a prehistoric tourist trap

22 03 2016

History, Archaeology, Folklore and so on

Wiltshire’s world-famous stones have been attracting sightseers for thousands of years. Here, Mike Pitts tells the tourists’ story.

This article was first published in the Christmas 2013 issue of BBC History Magazine

A group of Victorian tourists pose in front of Stonehenge, c1900. © Corbis

2500 BC: Stonehenge is the talk of prehistoric Europe

Visitors have always been part of Stonehenge, even the stones are foreigners: the small ones from Wales, the large ones probably from the Marlborough Downs, 20 miles to the north.

Stonehenge was truly unique in Europe and so, at its height around 2500 BC, it must have been talked about across the continent.

Evidence of houses in the area suggests that far more people lived near to the stones than we would normally expect. Drawing labour and representatives from different tribes or groups, Stonehenge…

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