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Stonehenge (Grade 4)

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A pile of rocks in the middle of England might not seem like a big deal, but it is if they’re tall and standing straight up. In Wiltshire, England is a placed known as Stonehenge and it is one of the most famous rock structures in the world.

Most archaeologists think Stonehenge was built between 2000 and 3000 BC. It is made up of a ring of stones all standing up straight, with a few stones laid horizontally across the top. In the ring there is an outer ring and an inner ring. No one really knows how the stones were raised and placed into position.

Even less is known about where the stones came from. Stones as large as those found in Stonehenge are not common in the part of England where Stonehenge sits. Some archaeologists think that people dragged the stones across land and towed them through the water using boats. They think that many of the stones traveled up to 250 miles to get to the location of Stonehenge. Geologists, however, have a different, and more likely, idea. They think that glaciers left many of the boulders in the area. Then, the makers of Stonehenge just moved all the boulders to the spot where Stonehenge now stands.

What is even more puzzling is why Stonehenge was built. Some say the monument was used to help ancient humans predict solar eclipses and tell the difference between summer and winter. Included in the monument is a heel stone. The sun rises directly over this stone during the summer and winter solstice. Others think Stonehenge was a sort of hospital because many skeletons with large wounds have been found nearby. Still others think it was a burial ground, as many skeletons dating around the same time have been found around the monument.

Regardless of how and why it was built, Stonehenge is still a pretty neat pile of rocks. Every year, nearly one million people head to Wiltshire, England to see it for themselves.
What is most unique about this pile of rocks?
  1. They're tall.
  2. They're standing straight up.
  3. They're in the middle of nowhere.
  4. They're a different color than most rocks.
Which explanation for the stones is most plausible (believable)?
  1. The stones were carried for hundreds of miles.
  2. The stones were left on the land by glaciers.
Which detail best explains why Stonehenge can be used to determine the summer and winter solstice?
  1. The circular placement of the rocks mimics the shape of the sun.
  2. The heat absorbed by the rocks helped humans tell the time and temperature.
  3. The sun rose an set over one of the main rocks during different times during the year.
  4. The rocks contain marks showing the time between the summer and winter solstice.
What do the skeletons lead archaeologists to believe?
  1. Getting to Stonehenge was very dangerous and many lives were lost.
  2. Carrying the rocks caused many people to die.
  3. The site may have represented ancient burial grounds.
  4. The heat from the sun caused people to dehydrate.
Which description explains how the majority of stones at Stonehenge are placed?
  1. on their sides
  2. on their ends
  3. by themselves
  4. by pair

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