Reconstruction drawing showing the process of building Stonehenge

A timeline of Stonehenge

The first Stonehenge was built about 5,000 years ago, in the period of prehistory known as the Neolithic. By about 2500 BC, more and much larger stones had been brought there, marking the start of over 800 years of building and alteration stretching into the Bronze Age. But Stonehenge has inspired people to study and interpret it for many centuries since, and our understanding of the monument and its landscape continues to change.

Use this timeline to see the key stages in Stonehenge’s long history at a glance.  



 Stonehenge Timeline

8500–7000 BCFirst Activity

Mesolithic posts, like totem poles, are raised by hunter-gatherers, to the north-west of the Stonehenge site, perhaps already marking it as an important place in the landscape.

3500 BCFirst Monuments

Early farming communities arrive from Europe around 6,000 years ago. In the landscape north of Stonehenge they build a number of monuments for ritual and gathering: a causewayed enclosure (a large earthwork with concentric banks and ditches) at Robin Hood’s Ball; two cursus monuments (huge rectangular earthworks); and long barrows (communal burial places).

Building the Stonehenge Cursus, about 3500 BC
Building the Stonehenge Cursus, about 3500 BC

Read more about Stonehenge

  • Building Stonehenge

    Stonehenge is a masterpiece of engineering. How did Neolithic people build it using only the simple tools and technologies available to them?

  • Why Does Stonehenge Matter?

    Stonehenge is a unique prehistoric monument, lying at the centre of an outstandingly rich archaeological landscape. It is an extraordinary source for the study of prehistory.

  • Research on Stonehenge

    Our understanding of Stonehenge is constantly changing as excavations and modern scientific techniques yield more information. Read a summary of both past and recent research.

  • Restoration to Conservation

    Since coming into the care of the Ministry of Works in 1918, Stonehenge has had several phases of work to protect it. Find out more about the conservation work undertaken by English Heritage.

  • Stonehenge Collection Highlights

    Hundreds of prehistoric objects from the Stonehenge World Heritage Site are on display at the visitor centre. You can explore ten of them here in detail.

  • Virtual Tour of Stonehenge

    Take an interactive tour of Stonehenge with this 360 degree view from inside the stones, which explores the monument’s key features.

  • Explore the Stonehenge Landscape

    Use these interactive images to discover what the landscape around Stonehenge has looked like from before the monument was built to the present day.

  • The First World War Stonehenge aerodrome

    As they travel from the visitor centre to the stones, few of today’s visitors to Stonehenge realise they are crossing the site of a First World War airfield. Find out more.

  • Plan of Stonehenge

    Download this PDF plan to see the phases of the building of Stonehenge, from the first earthwork to the arrangement of the bluestones.

  • Buy the guidebook

    The guidebook includes a tour and history of the site and its remarkable landscape, with many reconstruction drawings, historic images, maps and plans.

  • More histories

    Delve into our history pages to discover more about our sites, how they have changed over time, and who made them what they are today.

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