Behind every great structure in the world, there are the people who made them, and who took the time and effort to design them. Those who made Stonehenge succeeded in creating an incredibly complex and mysterious structure that lived on long after its creators were dead. The many aspects of Stonehenge and the processes by which it was built reveal much about the intelligence and sophistication of the civilizations that designed and built the monument, despite the fact that it is difficult to find out who exactly these people were. They have left very little evidence behind with which we could get a better idea of their everyday lives, their culture, their surroundings, and their affairs with other peoples. The technology and wisdom that are inevitably required in constructing such a monument show that these prehistoric peoples had had more expertise than expected.

The planning and assembling of Stonehenge took a very long time (about one thousand years, from 2800 BC to 1500 BC*), and not one but many different groups of people were involved in the process. How they came about plays an important role in understanding them. Some of the first men to come to England that are connected to the Stonehenge builders came when the ice blocking Britain and France melted around 10,000 BC (Souden, 104). After them, many more groups of people came from the mainland, and had great influence on those already living there.

The first group involved in the building of Stonehenge was the Windmill Hill people. These people were semi nomadic farmers, mainly just keeping their flocks of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and dogs, and growing wheat, who had arrived as some of the last Neolithic (or New Stone Age, 4300 2200 BC) newcomers in England. Not only were they farmers they also hunted, mined flint, made and traded axes, and could almost be called industrialists. The Windmill Hill people had a very strong religion with a great respect for their dead and their ancestors. They have exceptional collective graves, in the form of long barrows, or long manmade piles of dirt, sometimes 300 feet long. Many riches such as food, tools, and pottery were buried with the dead (Hawkins, 36).

The next group to contribute to Stonehenge was the Beaker people, known for the beaker-like pottery they would frequently bury with their dead. These people did not practice the ritual of collective burials, rather single or double burials, and the dead were accompanied by more weapons such as daggers and axes. These single burials were in the form of round barrows. The Beaker people were well organized, active, and powerful, and also probably more territorial (Hawkins, 36). They practiced commerce with other cultures, and their graves give an impression of there being an aristocracy in the society (Niel, 84).

The last major group to put time into the construction of Stonehenge was the Wessex culture group. They arrived on Salisbury plain around 1400 BC, and were involved in building the most prominent part of Stonehenge- the great stone circles (Niel, 86). These people were well organized, and probably less aggressive than their predecessors, while more industrious. The people of Wessex were less concerned with war than they were with art, peace, and trade. In the graves of their chieftains (the only members of society who were preserved for afterlife), were goods such as daggers, bows, and various other ornaments. Their access to such treasures can perhaps be attributed to their great international traders who probably traded with people from the Mediterranean Sea area (Hawkins, 37). They built the final phase of Stonehenge, and perhaps brought about many cultural changes to the monument such as giving the monument visual magnificence and more astronomical precision (Service + Bradbery, 255).

It is necessary, in order to understand the complexity involved in the assembling of Stonehenge, to know the process by which and the environment in which the monument was built. By the time Stonehenge was built, the landscape around the area on Salisbury Plain was rather open with more farmland and grazing land, and less forest. Underneath the first few feet of soil on Salisbury Plain there was a substantial layer of hard chalk, which made building rudimentary structures somewhat easier for the people of the era.

The first phase