When you see reconstructions of Stonehenge there seem to be a lot more stones. Where’d they all go? Did they erode, did they crumble, were they taken? Does somebody have a suspicious bluestone garden wall somewhere on the Salisbury plain?
I know this is not a proper factual answer, but throughout history, there is a well known practice of swiping old building materials and using them in new construction. The Coliseum was a pretty awesome building, yet people took materials from it to build other stuff.
From this article:
According to this site about Stonhenge:
Sorry. I’ll bring them back right away.
Stonehenge hasn’t stood for thousands of years. What you see now is a reconstruction that is only about a hundred years old. Before that, it was a big pile of stones that had fallen down after centuries of neglect. Since much of it had already fallen over, people didn’t feel too guilty about swiping a stone or two for some “modern” project. In the early 1900’s, they took what was left of it and put it back together, forming the modern version of Stonehenge.
I didn’t know that, and I’ve been there. The big pile of stones might be a bit of exaggeration as here is a photofrom 1877.
Er, no. Most of the stones that are currently standing have always been standing. The early twentieth century interventions only involved the straightening of some of them. The few examples of re-erections actually occurred in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Also, it is silly to say that, ‘Since much of it had already fallen over, people didn’t feel too guilty about swiping a stone or two for some “modern” project.’ The condition of the monument was almost certainly irrelevant to those who removed stones. Rather it was damaged by locals who were hostile to its perceived meaning, or to whom, more likely, it had no meaning at all.
The reasons for the deliberate damage to Avebury are rather better documented. Those are discussed in the article, ‘Changing Avebury’, on this site (which I’ve posted before).
Darvill and Wainwright have claimed that their recent excavation uncovered evidence that damage was being done to some of the stones at Stonehenge while the site was still in use. They have interpreted this as evidence that people were removing fragments as religious talismans. But this apparently only applies to the bluestones.