Satellite Image: Stonehenge, England’s famous Stone Circle

One of the most intriguing and mysterious ancient sites in Britain is Stonehenge, which continues to this day to captivate and fascinate the public. Standing in solitude in the hills of Wiltshire and pre-dating the pyramids of Egypt, the ‘henge‘ itself was constructed first. A henge is formed in the shape of a circular ditch and bank with a single entrance in the north-east section, but millennia of erosion and weathering means that tourists today may not notice it.

However, thanks to GeoEye who have kindly provided Heritage Key with a high resolution map of the Stonehenge area, we can see the outline of the circular bank around Stonehenge, as well as being able to see the surrounding area of this mystical site. Archaeologists and researchers (as well as druids) have debated what the original purpose of Stonehenge was, although no firm answers have arisen. Today, Stonehenge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a tourism hotspot and a place of significant place of spiritualism for the modern day Druids. (You can watch a video with a Druid priest simply by clicking here!)

Can you spot any famous sites in the map below? The following landmarks are all in there:

Perhaps the easiest to locate would be Stonehenge itself – the monolithic stones which have been standing for over 70 generations are one of the most recognisable iconic ancient sites in the world. The first stones at the site are believed to have been placed in 2500BC, although there is no evidence of how the stones were moved and placed, although some believe they may have been moved from Bluestonehenge. About 75 metres from Stonehenge is the Heelstone, a solitary sarsen stone located near the A344 main road.

Satellite Image:Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England

Also on the map are the Normanton Down Barrows is a bronze age cemetery panning across the south of Stonehenge and The Avenue, which is a 3 kilometre long pathway aligned with the solar patterns of the summer solstice.

New Satellite Images Coming Each Week

This post is part of a weekly series that is showcasing high resolution satellite photography of Ancient World sites from across the globe, courtesy of GeoEye! Be sure to check back each week to see which Heritage site we cover next.

You can catch up on our previous sites that we’ve covered at Heritage Key:

Although not shown on the map, at the other end of The Avenue is Bluestonehenge. Also know as Bluehenge and dubbed “Stonehenge’s little sister”, it is another stone circle composed of giant Welsh bluestones, and near the River Avon, little over a mile away the more famous counterpart. Discovered during summer 2009, the results of the excavations could change our view on Stonehenge’s history when they’re published next year.

Bush Barrow is an important site of the Stonehenge area, as it contained many archaeological finds including a male skeleton, bronze rivets and gold artefacts. Two miles northeast of Stonehenge are the Durrington Walls, which was the site of a Neolithic village. An Iron age hillfort near Amesbury called Vespasian’s Camp which has a somewhat unusual shape, appearing from above to be an arrowhead. Robin Hood’s Ball, which is unrelated to the Sherwood Forest legend, is a single causewayed enclosure between two ditches.

You can read more about Stonehenge and Britain’s other henges here at Heritage Key, as well as being able to follow them in our Google Map and you will soon also be able to visit Stonehenge Virtual! Click here for more exciting details!

The Satellite Image is courtesy of GeoEye.