Stone has always been used for tools, for shelter and to mark our accomplishments in the world. Stone stands up to the passage of time and can be chiseled into form on a grand scale. Many of the stone monuments of the ancient (and not so ancient) past still hold special meaning or mystery to humanity. Consider these awe-inspiring monuments hewn from pure rock:
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Thought to be over 4,000 years old, Stonehenge captivates our sense of mystery of the ancient world. Practically prehistoric in its age, the monument seems to have held some lost purpose we can no longer conceive. Was it an ancient burial site? A shrine for prehistoric religion? Archaeologists, today, still study and debate just why it was built.
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A remote island in the southern Pacific Ocean holds some of the strangest stone monuments known to man. The Heads of Easter Island, also called moai, were created by civilization now long gone. The island itself was stripped to the last tree by its old inhabitants and abandoned; but these strange giant heads still bring visitors to what may be the most isolated land mass on the planet.
The Great Sphinx of Giza
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Perhaps the oldest stone monument in the world, the Sphinx is a massive sculpture steeped in mystery and history. Located on the west bank of the Nile River just outside the city of Cairo in Egypt, in the shadow of the Great Pyramid, the Sphinx depicts a mythical beast with the head of a human and the body of a lion. It remains one of the most fascinating stone sculptures ever created.
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A little less remote are another set of famous heads. Mount Rushmore is an American National Memorial located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Completed in 1939, it features 60 foot heads of US Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Today, it remains a popular tourist site and a testament to American history.
Inspired to create your own decorative rocks? You might want to think a little smaller to start out.