Ancient standing stones, stone circles, and megaliths can be commonly found across the world. However, there is no clear answer to the purpose these stone structures served.
Some historians believe that they served as astronomical sites, while others suggest the concept that ancient civilizations built these structures as places of ritual and worship.
For centuries, there has also been a great many debates over the methods used to transport and erect such gigantic stone structures without the help of modern technologies. In this article, we will take a look at five such mysterious stone structures from around the world.
1. CARNAC, FRANCE.
In a small village named Carnac in Brittany, France, there are thousands of ancient menhirs or single upright monoliths and other types of megaliths.
Scientists have dated these mysterious rows of stones to the Middle Neolithic period around 3000 BCE. However, the exact date of the erection of these stone structures is still unknown.
There are nearly 3000 stone structures scattered across the village with a height of as much as 20 feet. These structures are spread over an area of more than 4 miles. The village also has groups of megaliths, burial mounds, and enclosures that indicate a well planned Neolithic construction.
Some believe these structures served some form of ritual or religious purpose, but there is no definite theory. Historians studying the site have suggested that the lines of stones outline a sacred space, probably to guide people toward an area of worship. According to a popular local legend, when the Roman army was marching on Brittany, the wizard Merlin appeared and turned the soldiers into the stones.
2. DEER STONES, MONGOLIA AND SIBERIA.
The deer stones are a series of over 1200 ancient stones structures spread over Mongolia and Siberia. These structures got their name from the detailed carvings of flying deer made on many of these stones. The stones differ in height from around 3 to 13 feet and are frequently grouped together.
Scientists believe these stone structures were erected by Bronze Age nomads nearly 3000 years ago. Apart from the common depictions of deer, the structures also feature detailed carvings of elk, people, and symbolic designs that are believed to be the sun and the moon.
The carvings are detailed that they must have taken a lot of skill. According to historians, these stones may have been dedicated to great warriors or chiefs.
3. GOCHANG DOLMEN SITE, SOUTH KOREA.
At Gochang Dolmen of South Korea lies a huge prehistoric burial site. The burial site is spread across Gochang, Hwasun, and Ganghwa.
This World Heritage Site is known around the world for hundreds of ancient dolmens or tombs built from gigantic stone slabs. These stone structures belong to Neolithic and early Bronze Age and are made from two or more stones, finished with a large capstone to form a marker for a burial site.
What is most fascinating about this mysterious burial site is the sheer number of dolmens spread across the Korean landscape that counts to several thousand. Interestingly, it is the highest concentration of dolmens in the world.
4. STONEHENGE, ENGLAND.
Stonehenge located in Salisbury, England, is undoubtedly one of the most iconic and well known megalithic sites in the world.
Scientists believe that Neolithic people began building this circle of gigantic stones around 3000 years ago. The ancient monument is made using a special type of blue stones that have been traced to two specific quarries in Pembrokeshire and Wales that lie hundreds of miles away from the present location of the stone circle.
According to historians, the gigantic stones were transported to England on rafts down rivers and then pulled on wooden sleighs using rollers. This highly complex process must have involved months of hard work and skilled precision.
However, the stone circle is a small part of a larger series of ancient structures spread across Salisbury Plain. For centuries, the site has been considered a sacred space. Even today, pagans gather there to celebrate the day of winter and summer solstices.
5. AVEBURY HENGE, ENGLAND.
In an old village of Avebury, England not far from the Stonehenge, lies the biggest prehistoric stone circle in the world. The stone structure originally contained around 100 megaliths and encircled two smaller stone rings. The stones located at the Avebury Henge are believed to be a part of a larger ritual landscape, which was built and altered from around 2850 to 2200 BCE.
Archaeologists believe the circles, henges, and avenues of stones were installed to form part of a public space for religious ceremonies. However, the exact use of these stones and the nature of those ceremonies is still a mystery.
In the 1930s, an excavation by archaeologist Alexander Keiller revealed a skeleton crushed beneath one of the stones. It was later discovered that the body did not belong to the Neolithic builders, but rather a man from the 14th century who was probably died when trying to move the megaliths.