For decades the official Stonehenge guidebooks have been full of fascinating facts and figures and theories surrounding the world’s greatest prehistoric monument. What the glossy brochures do not mention, however, is the systematic rebuilding of the 4,000 year old stone circle throughout the 20th Century.
While some thinks the restoration has been kept elusive and see it as one of the dark secrets of history archaeologists don’t talk about: The day they had the builders in at Stonehenge to recreate the most famous ancient monument in Britain as they thought it ought to look, others think this is in no way some sort of secret which has been uncovered, and is referred to in passing in a number of archaeological/heritage textbooks. However, a large percentage of vacationers sitting in their hotels in London, planning a trip to the monument, have no idea that they aren’t getting the full story.
“I work for a company in Somerset which did a job a few years back propping up stones at Avebury. One of the foremen showed me his photos of the stones surrounded by scaffolding with hydraulic rams to push them things into “nicer” positions, followed by, I think, concrete around the base. Its a world heritage site business opportunity.”
Naturally, Stonehenge has experienced weathering and collapse due to the passage of time. But even if we disregard those changes, there is no way that Stonehenge can be regarded as a preserved “snapshot” of its original form. Stonehenge was not designed and built to the current layout. The design we see today is the result of several phases of construction and alteration from 3500 to 5000 years ago, followed by modern disruption and renovation.