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It consists of a ring of standing stones, with each standing stone around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, 7 feet (2.1 m) wide and weighing around 25 tons.

Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC.

The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC.

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Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between 24 BC, It has been a legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1882 when legislation to protect historic monuments was first successfully introduced in Britain.

The site and its surroundings were added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986.

William Stukeley in 1740 notes, "Pendulous rocks are now called henges in Yorkshire...

I doubt not, Stonehenge in Saxon signifies the hanging stones." Christopher Chippindale's Stonehenge Complete gives the derivation of the name Stonehenge as coming from the Old English words stān meaning "stone", and either hencg meaning "hinge" (because the stone lintels hinge on the upright stones) or hen(c)en meaning "hang" or "gallows" or "instrument of torture" (though elsewhere in his book, Chippindale cites the "suspended stones" etymology).

Features mentioned in the text are numbered and shown on the plan, right.

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