Few geography research papers about Stonehenge have captured the imagination of the Western world to the same extent as Stonehenge, a series of ancient stone and earthworks located on a plain in Southern England. For hundreds of years, this relatively simple structure has incited heated debate regarding every aspect of its structure, purpose, and origination. A rich folkloric tradition has sprung up around this circular arrangement of stones, spawning tales and legends that run the gamut from magic to pagan worship to communication with extraterrestrial.
This research paper will present an amalgamation of the past and present folklore associated with Stonehenge. First, a brief factual account of the received knowledge about Stonehenge will be presented as a baseline against which the legends can be described. Then, the most widespread legends about the origin and construction of Stonehenge will be discussed. Next, some of the posited uses of the structure will be examined. Finally, some of the more recent legends surrounding Stonehenge will be discussed, with a particular focus on those legends that involve intervention by extraterrestrials. Finally, an overarching assessment of the role of folklore in explicating Stonehenge will be presented.
The discussion of the legends that have sprung up around Stonehenge will be initiated with a basic description of the structure itself, its physical environment, and scientific estimations as to its age, construction and purpose. A deeper understanding of the significance of the associated folklore can be achieved by comparing and contrasting this body of “factual” knowledge with its corresponding mythology.