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I On Salisbury Plain in Southern England stands Stonehenge the most famous of all megalithic sites Stonehenge is unique among the monuments of the ancient world Isolated on a windswept plain built by a people with no written language Stonehenge challenges our imagination The impressive stone circle stands near the top of a gently sloping hill on Salisbury Plain about thirty miles from the English Channel The stones are visible over the hills for a mile or two in every direction Stonehenge is one of over fifty thousand prehistoric megalithics in Europe As Stonehenge is approached the forty giant stones seem to touch the sky Most of the stones stand twenty-four or more feet high Some stones weigh as much as forty tons Others are smaller weighing only five tons At first glance the stones may seem to be a natural formation But a closer look shows that only human imagination and determination could have created StonehengeIIThe Stonehenge today looks quite different from the Stonehenge of old Wind and weather have destroyed a little of Stonehenge over the ages People have destroyed much moreToday less than half of the original stones still stand as their builders planned Many of the once upright stones lie on their sides Religious fanatics who felt threatened by the mysteries posed by Stonehenge knocked over many of the standing stones They toppled some of the huge stones which then split into pieces they buried othersOther stones were quarried over the centuries as free building material and hauled away Even into this century visitors have come with hammers to carry away a chip of stone with themIIIOnly in recent years have the stones been protected from the huge amounts of people that see them every year No longer can anyone roam among the stones Too much damage intentional or not has been done by the hundreds of thousands of visitors Today tourists are even prevented from
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