Histories

England’s Prehistoric Monuments

England’s prehistoric monuments span almost four millennia – from the time Neolithic farmers first began to build using timber, earth and stone, to the invasion of the Romans in AD 43. Scattered across the English landscape are hundreds of these mysterious sites, from isolated standing stones to massive stone circles, and from burial mounds to multi-ramparted hillforts. Many of them are looked after by English Heritage. Discover what they were used for, how and when they were built, and where to find them.

Discovering Prehistory

Can you tell a henge from a hillfort? What was a stone circle used for? What’s the difference between a long barrow and a round barrow?

Watch this short animation to discover the answers to these and many other questions about England’s prehistoric monuments, and find out how and why they developed from the Neolithic period through the Bronze Age to the Iron Age.

  • Prehistoric architecture

    Learn about the different types of monument and the extraordinary feats of engineering needed to create them.

  • Prehistoric Beliefs

    What can we learn about what prehistoric people believed from the monuments and artefacts they created?

  • Building Stonehenge

    How did Neolithic people build Stonehenge using only the simple tools and technologies available to them?

Explore the histories of prehistoric monuments

Follow these links to discover the history of just a few of the prehistoric sites looked after by English Heritage.

  • Grime’s Graves

    Grime’s Graves is one of only ten known prehistoric flint mines in England, where from about 4,500 years ago miners dug over 400 pits.

  • Stonehenge

    Learn about the history of this iconic monument, from its origins as an early henge about 5,000 years ago to the present day.

  • Avebury

    Built and altered over many centuries, Avebury is one of the largest and the most complex of Britain's surviving Neolithic henge monuments.

  • Maiden Castle

    The largest and most complex hillfort in Britain, Maiden Castle was home to several hundred people in the Iron Age (800 BC–AD 43).

  • Old Oswestry Hillfort

    A fine example of an Iron Age hillfort with multiple ramparts, Old Oswestry is one of a dense band of hillforts in eastern Wales and the Marches.

  • Old Sarum

    Uniquely, both a medieval royal castle and a cathedral were built within this vast Iron Age hillfort, which later lived on as a notorious ‘rotten borough’.

  • Chysauster Ancient Village

    This Iron Age settlement probably has its origins about 2,500 years ago and is one of the finest surviving ancient villages in the country.

  • Carn Euny Ancient Village

    This well-preserved Iron Age village has an underground passage known as a fogou, a mysterious type of monument only found in west Cornwall.

Prehistoric sites to visit

English Heritage looks after nearly 60 prehistoric sites across England, from world famous Stonehenge and Avebury to isolated standing stones and mysterious fogous. Search our list and map of sites and plan your visit.

Find prehistoric sites to visit

Stories from Prehistory

Discover how archaeology has led to new, and sometimes surprising, interpretations of prehistoric life.

  • Ritual mysteries at Grime's Graves

    What do finds at these prehistoric flint mines reveal about the significance of mining, and the value of flint, to Neolithic communities?

  • Food and Feasting at Stonehenge

    Find out what the people who built and used Stonehenge ate, how they cooked and served their food, and the cutting-edge science behind these discoveries.

  • Roman invasion at Maiden Castle

    Britain’s largest Iron Age hillfort was once regarded as a monument to the brutality of Roman invasion. But was the story actually more complicated than that?

Discover more with membership

With English Heritage membership, you can enjoy a full year of free entry to over 400 historic sites, including Stonehenge.

12 months’ unlimited access from only £3.83 per month.

Join now

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