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early 12c., Stanenges, literally "stone gallows," perhaps so called from fancied resemblance to old-style gallows with two posts, with the second element related to the verb hang. Some antiquarians suggest the notion may be of "supported in the air, that which hangs in the air" (cf. henge-clif for Latin præruptum), in reference to the lintel stones, but the order of the elements and the inflexion is against this. An ancient name for it was the Giant's Dance.
Ancient circles of large, upright stones that stand alone on a plain in England. There is some controversy about who shaped, carried, and set up these huge stones, which perhaps had religious and astronomical uses. Scholars theorize that Stonehenge was built in three phases beginning in about 2800 b.c. The huge stones are believed to date from 1800 to 1500 b.c.