Miniature Stonehenge

Miniature Stonehenge

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, England. It dates back to approximately 3100 B.C., and was constructed in three phases over a 1,500-year period. It is comprised of roughly 100 massive Bluestone, Sarsen and Welsh Sandstone boulders which were placed upright in a circular layout. And it has been estimated that the monument’s construction required more than thirty million hours of labor.

Although it is one of the most famous sites in the world, it has puzzled historians and archaeologists for centuries.  Many currently believe it to be markings of an ancient burial ground, however, speculation continues on what other purposes the megalithic monument may have also served. Theories for its design and the reason it was built range from astronomy, to human sacrifice, to a temple made for the worship of ancient earth deities. Although nobody knows for sure, only something extremely important to the ancients would have been worth the effort and investment that it took to construct it.

Adding to the mystery is that scientists have yet to determine and how a civilization without sophisticated tools or modern technology – or even the wheel – produced the mighty monument built from stones, some of which weigh more than 40 tons each. Its construction is all the more baffling because, while the sandstone slabs of its outer ring hail from local quarries, scientists have traced some of the non-indigenous bluestones that make up its inner ring all the way to Wales, some 200 miles away.

On this lunchtime bike ride I did not go to Stonehenge. That is because it is 3,591 miles from D.C., and my lunch break at work does not give me enough time to go all the way there and back. Besides, crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a bike is very difficult.

But I did ride to a miniature replica which was loosely based on the original monument. Located on a slight hill overlooking the entrance to National Harbor, near the intersection of Waterfront Street and National Harbor Boulevard in Fort Washington, Maryland (MAP), is a public art installation comprised of boulders arranged in a Stonehenge-like circular fashion. Very little information about the replica is available, giving it a slight air of mystery, much like its larger and more famous inspiration. But unlike the original, which receives nearly one million visitors per year, very few people, including those passing by it on their way to National Harbor, even know this stone monument exists.

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