STONEHENGE will be the focus of a new BBC documentary, airing for the first time on Friday (February 12).

With a history spanning 4,500 years, the world famous landmark near Salisbury has been visited, studied and researched for centuries, with discoveries and treasures unearthed along the way.

But there have always been unanswered questions and mysteries - in fact, that's a big part of the world's fascination with the ancient stones.

MORE - New details revealed about what to expect in BBC show 

In the new BBC show, Professor Alice Roberts follows a decade-long historical quest to reveal a hidden secret about the landmark in 'Stonehenge: The Lost Circle Revealed'.

What is Stonehenge: The Lost Circle Revealed?

During a one-hour documentary, questions about the stones will be answered including - where the stones probably came from, how they were moved from Wales to England and who dragged them all of the way.

Using cutting-edge research, a dedicated team of archaeologists, led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson, has been compiling evidence to fill in a 400-year gap in our knowledge of the bluestones, and to show that the original stones of one of Britain’s most iconic monuments had a previous life.

Viewers will be able to watch and learn how researchers discovered these secrets of Stonehenge.

What is Stonehenge?

According to English Heritage, the custodians of the site, one of the most famous landmarks in the world, and now a World Heritage Site, is a prehistoric monument, with the first stage built around 5,000 years ago.

Stonehenge stands at the heart of an archaeological landscape, forming part of an ancient land of early Neolithic, late Neolithic and early Bronze Age monuments.

English Heritage says it is the only surviving lintelled stone circle in the world, and the stones were erected using precisely interlocking joints, unseen at any other prehistoric monument.

Considered an extraordinary source for the study of prehistory, it holds a pivotal place in the development of archaeology.

Many different theories have been put forward about who built it, when, and why.

Today, the interpretation of Stonehenge which is most generally accepted is that it is a prehistoric temple aligned with the movements of the sun.

It continues to have a role as a sacred place of special religious and cultural significance for many, and remains a special tourist attraction for thousands of visitors who are drawn to the site every year.

Solstice at Stonehenge 2020 - Picture from English Heritage Twitter

Solstice at Stonehenge 2020 - Picture from English Heritage Twitter

Who is Professor Alice Roberts?

An academic, writer and broadcaster, Professor Roberts makes programmes and writes books about human anatomy, physiology, evolution, archaeology and history.

Her previous television appearances include Time Team, Coast and Digging for Britain.

Who is Professor Mike Parker Pearson?

Professor Parker Pearson is a leading archaeologist who has been at the forefront of Stonehenge research, writing a selection of books covering its history and mysteries.

He was involved with the Stonehenge Riverside Project, which explored the Stonehenge landscape and its relationship with surrounding features, enabling excavations and further discovery.

Is Stonehenge open during the pandemic?

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Stonehenge is currently closed and any tickets pre-booked for the closed period will be cancelled.

Refunds will be automatically made as needed.

English Heritage says it hopes to reopen more sites in the near future and is currently taking advanced bookings for March.

If the site cannot reopen by then, tickets will automatically be refunded.

Where is Stonehenge?

Perhaps a silly question for our local readers, but Stonehenge is on Salisbury Plain, located near Amesbury and Salisbury, clearly signposted from the A303, off the A360.

The A303 runs right past - at least it does for now. The single carriageway route could be replaced with an expensive tunnel, in a controversial project that's still being opposed in the courts.

In recent months the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, approved the tunnel project - despite the advice of planning inspectors.

Believe it or not, discussions about what to do with the A303 near the stones, and whether or not to conceal it from view, have been ongoing for about 30 years.

The stones can be spotted from miles away from the site.

The postcode for the landmark is SP4 7DE.

What happens at the Solstice and why?

Thousands head to Stonehenge during the early hours of June 21, the longest day of the year, to experience being inside the stone circle and to celebrate the history of the stones at the summer Solstice.

Visitors travel from far and wide to also mark the changes in daylight hours, seasons, moon cycles and sun movement, and the physical and spiritual Neolithic lifestyle.

It is thought to have been celebrated at the English Heritage site for thousands of years, as the sun rises behind the Heel Stone and rays of sun are channelled into the centre of the monument.

During the Solstice visitors are allowed to go right up to the stones, something that is prohibited the rest of the year, and spend the occasion enjoying the monument and landscape, taking pictures, making music and dancing.

The winter Solstice, recognising the shortest day of the year, is December 21.

Sunrise at Stonehenge during the summer Solstice, 2019

Sunrise at Stonehenge during the summer Solstice, 2019

When and where can I watch Stonehenge: The Lost Circle Revealed?

Stonehenge: The Lost Circle Revealed will be on BBC2 on February 12, at 9pm.

It will be available on iPlayer shortly after broadcast.

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