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In the early Bronze Age, one of the greatest concentrations of round barrows in Britain was built in the area around Stonehenge.Many barrow groups appear to have been deliberately located on hilltops visible from Stonehenge itself, such as those on King Barrow Ridge and the particularly rich burials at the Normanton Down cemetery.Stonehenge is perhaps the world’s most famous prehistoric monument.It was built in several stages: the first monument was an early henge monument, built about 5,000 years ago, and the unique stone circle was erected in the late Neolithic period about 2500 BC.Probably at the same time that the stones were being set up in the centre of the monument, the sarsens close to the entrance were raised, together with the four Station Stones on the periphery.About 200 or 300 years later the central bluestones were rearranged to form a circle and inner oval (which was again later altered to form a horseshoe).

Some of these, such as the First World War Stonehenge airfield, have long since been demolished, but others, such as the Larkhill airfield sheds, still stand and are important in the history of early military aviation.The earliest surviving written references to Stonehenge date from the medieval period, and from the 14th century onwards there are increasing references to Stonehenge and drawings and paintings of it.Since 1897, when the Ministry of Defence bought a vast tract of land on Salisbury Plain for army training exercises, the activities of the military have had an impact on the area.This complex included the causewayed enclosure at Robin Hood’s Ball, two cursus monuments or rectangular earthworks (the Greater, or Stonehenge, and Lesser Cursus), and several long barrows, all dating from the centuries around 3500 BC.The presence of these monuments probably influenced the later location of Stonehenge.

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