Gerald Hawkins proposed that Stonehenge had been constructed as a “computer” to predict lunar and solar eclipses; other scientists also attributed astronomical capabilities to the monument.
Most of these speculations, too, have been rejected by experts.
The first proper archaeological excavation was conducted in 1901 by William Gowland.
The Heelstone, a large unworked sarsen outside the northeastern entrance, also may have been erected during the first stage of Stonehenge, if not earlier.
In addition, rows of timber-post holes within the northeastern entrance to the circular enclosure are thought to date to this period; the posts that they contained may have served to mark the movement of the moon toward its northern major limit.sarsen stones were brought from the Avebury area of the Marlborough Downs, about 20 miles (32 km) to the north.
In 1973 English archaeologist Colin Renfrew hypothesized that Stonehenge was the centre of a confederation of Bronze Age chiefdoms.
Other archaeologists, however, have since come to view this part of Salisbury Plain as a point of intersection between adjacent prehistoric territories, serving as a seasonal gathering place during the 4th and 3rd millennia for groups living in the lowlands to the east and west.
The ditch of the enclosure is flanked on the inside by a high bank and on the outside by a low bank, or counterscarp.
The diameters of the outer bank, the ditch, the inner bank, and the circle of Aubrey Holes are equivalent to 270, 300, 330, and 360 long feet (a long foot is an ancient unit of measurement equivalent to 1.056 statute feet or 0.32187 metre), respectively.
Outside the northeastern entrance of Stonehenge they were dressed smooth by pounding with sarsen hammers.
They were then arranged inside the circle in a horseshoe-shaped setting of five tall trilithons (paired uprights with a lintel)—the central and largest of which is known as the giant trilithon—surrounded by 30 uprights linked by curved lintels to form a circle.
Deposits in the bottom of the ditch included antler picks, which were used to dig the ditch itself, as well as bones of cattle and deer that were already centuries old when they were placed there.