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Stonehenge Reading Answers: IELTS Reading Practice Test

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Updated on Jul 02, 2024, 11:57

Stonehenge stands proudly in the south of England. Surrounded by a cloud of mystery, Stonehenge is still the talk of town for archaeologists even after decades of its creation. 
 

The following passage narrates the history of Stonehenge, walking us through the speculations of its origin. The Stonehenge reading answers are quite commonly asked in the IELTS Reading section. 
 

Practise this passage to improve your reading skills and boost your IELTS reading scores! Before you start, here are some pointers you should keep in mind. Consider them as your guide and rulebook for all IELTS Reading passages. 
 

Let’s dive in.

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1. Stonehenge Reading Passage

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 based on Reading Passage 1 below.

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2. Stonehenge Reading Questions & Answers

Have you read the passage? Now, take the test and find Stonehenge Reading answers! Try to answer these questions by yourself before you sneak a peek at the answers given below.

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1.

Stonehenge Reading Passage

General Instructions to Follow During the IELTS Reading Test

The following instructions will help you save time and improve your scores in the Stonehenge reading questions and answers.

  • Pay attention to the instructions given before the questions. Read it carefully and understand what’s being asked of you.
  • The reading passages are typically ordered with slightly increasing difficulty levels. To save time, try to answer the most challenging parts first.
  • Keep an eye on the clock. Every IELTS Exam centre has a clock on the wall. Watch it to stay ahead of your time limit.
  • Use skimming and scanning techniques and scan for keywords to answer questions.

 

 

 

 

Stonehenge Reading Passage

 


 

1. For centuries, historians and archaeologists have puzzled over the many mysteries of Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument that took an estimated 1,500 years to erect. Located on Salisbury Plain in southern England, it comprises roughly 100 massive upright stones placed in a circular layout.
 

2. Archaeologists believe England’s most iconic prehistoric ruin was built in several stages, with the earliest constructed 5,000 or more years ago. First, Neolithic* Britons used primitive tools, which may have been fashioned out of deer antlers, to dig a massive circular ditch and bank or henge. Deep pits dating back to that era and located within the circle may have once held a ring of timber posts, according to some scholars.
 

3. Several hundred years later, it is thought Stonehenge’s builders hoisted an estimated 80 bluestones, 43 of which remain today, into standing positions and placed them in either a horseshoe or circular formation. These stones have been traced all the way to the Preseli Hills in Wales, some 300 kilometres from Stonehenge. How, then, did prehistoric builders without sophisticated tools or engineering haul these boulders, which weigh up to four tons, over such a great distance?

 

4. According to one long-standing theory among archaeologists, Stonehenge’s builders fashioned sledges and rollers out of tree trunks to lug the bluestones from the Preseli Hills. They then transferred the boulders onto rafts and floated them first along the Welsh coast and then up the River Avon toward Salisbury Plain; alternatively, they may have towed each stone with a fleet of vessels. More recent archaeological hypotheses have them transporting the bluestones with supersized wicker baskets on a combination of ball bearings and long grooved planks hauled by oxen.
 

5. As early as the 1970s, geologists have been adding their voices to the debate over how Stonehenge came into being. Challenging the classic image of industrious builders pushing, carting, rolling or hauling giant stones from faraway Wales, some scientists have suggested that it was glaciers, not humans, that carried the bluestones to Salisbury Plain. Most archaeologists have remained sceptical about this theory; however, they are wondering how the forces of nature could have delivered the exact number of stones needed to complete the circle.
 

6. The third phase of construction took place around 2000 BCE. At this point, sandstone slabs – known as ‘sarsens’ – were arranged into an outer crescent or ring; some were assembled into the iconic three-pieced structures called trilithons that stand tall in the centre of Stonehenge. Some 50 of these stones are now visible on the site, which may once have contained many more. Radiocarbon dating has revealed that work continued at Stonehenge until roughly 1600 BCE, with the bluestones, in particular, being repositioned multiple times.


7. But who were the builders of Stonehenge? In the 17th century, archaeologist John Aubrey claimed that Stonehenge was the work of druids, who had important religious, judicial and political roles in Celtic** society. This theory was widely popularised by the antiquarian William Stukeley, who had unearthed primitive graves at the site. Even today, people who identify as modern druids continue to gather at Stonehenge for the summer solstice. However, in the mid-20th century, radiocarbon dating demonstrated that Stonehenge stood more than 1,000 years before the Celts inhabited the region.
 

8. Many modern historians and archaeologists now agree that several distinct tribes of people contributed to Stonehenge, each undertaking a different phase of its construction. Bones, tools, and other artefacts on the site support this hypothesis. The first stage was achieved by Neolithic agrarians likely to have been indigenous to the British Isles. Later, it is believed groups with advanced tools and a more communal way of life left their mark on the site. Some believe they were immigrants from the European continent, while others maintain that they were probably native Britons descended from the original builders.
 

9. If the facts surrounding the architects and construction of Stonehenge remain shadowy at best, the purpose of the striking monument is even more of a mystery. While most modern scholars agree that Stonehenge once served as a burial ground, they have yet to determine its other purposes.

 

10. In the 1960s, the astronomer Gerald Hawkins suggested that the cluster of megalithic stones operated as a form of calendar, with different points corresponding to astrological phenomena such as solstices, equinoxes, and eclipses occurring at different times of the year. While his theory has received considerable attention over the decades, critics maintain that Stonehenge’s builders probably lacked the knowledge necessary to predict such events or that England’s dense cloud cover would have obscured their view of the skies.

 

11. More recently, signs of illness and injury in the human remains unearthed at Stonehenge led a group of British archaeologists to speculate that it was considered a place of healing, perhaps because bluestones were thought to have curative powers.

 

Vocabulary

  • Neolithic – The era, also known as the New Stone Age, which began around 12,000 years ago and ended around 3500 BCE
  • Celtic – The Celts were people who lived in Britain and northwest Europe during the Iron Age from 600 BCE to 43 CE
2.

Stonehenge Reading Questions & Answers

Have you read the passage? Now, take the test and find Stonehenge Reading answers! 
 

Leap to Learn: Tip of the Moment!

Remember, most of these questions follow the order of the passage, so it’s easy to trace back if you look through the paragraphs sequentially.

 

Try to answer these questions by yourself before you sneak a peek at the answers given below. 
 

Good luck! 

Questions and Answers 1-8
  • Complete the notes below.
  • Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
  • Write your answers in boxes 1-8 on your answer sheet.

 

Construction


 

Stage 1:
 

●   the ditch and henge were dug, possibly using tools made from 1) ______.
 

●   2) ______ may have been arranged in deep pits inside the circle


 

Stage 2:
 

●   bluestones from the Preseli Hills were placed in a standing position
 

●   theories about the transportation of the bluestones:
 

        –   archaeological:
 

               o   builders used 3) ______ to make sledges and rollers
 

               o   4) ______ pulled them on giant baskets
 

        –   geological:
 

               o   they were brought from Wales by 5)______.


 

Stage 3:
 

●   sandstone slabs were arranged into an outer crescent or ring
 

Builders

 

●   a theory arose in the 17th century that its builders were Celtic 6)______.

 

Purpose
 

●   many experts agree it has been used as a 7)______ site
 

●   in the 1960s, it was suggested that it worked as a kind of 8)______.

 

Stonehenge Reading Answers with Explanations (1-5)

 

First things first, let’s analyse what sort of questions these are. 


Type of question: Sentence Completion

 

We’ve been given lines from the paragraph with some blanks. By the nature of the question, we can deduce that these are Sentence Completion questions! You’ll now have to look through the passage and find the missing words to complete the sentence. Remember to stick to the word limit! 


 

1. Antlers

 

Reference

 

From paragraph 2, “First, Neolithic* Britons used primitive tools, which may have been fashioned out of deer antlers, to dig a massive circular ditch and bank or henge.”
 

Keywords: Ditch and Henge
 

Explanation: Ditch and henge refers to the primitive tools used by Neolithic people. As per the passage, the tools were made from deer antlers. 


 

2. (Timber) posts

 

Reference

 

From paragraph 2, “Deep pits dating back to that era and located within the circle may have once held a ring of timber posts, according to some scholars.”

 

Keywords: Deep pits, circle
 

Explanation: The question highlights the features present during the early stages of construction. As per the passage, scholars suggest that a circle of timber posts may have been in the deep pits.


 

3. Tree Trunks

 

Reference

 

From paragraph 4, “According to one long-standing theory among archaeologists, Stonehenge’s builders fashioned sledges and rollers out of tree trunks to lug the bluestones from the Preseli Hills.”
 

Keywords: Sledges and rollers, builders
 

Explanation: The missing word is an element that was used to make sledges and rollers. Tracing this keyword back in the passage, you will find that builders used tree trunks.


 

4. Oxen

 

Reference

 

From paragraph 4, “More recent archaeological hypotheses have them transporting the bluestones with supersized wicker baskets on a combination of ball bearings and long grooved planks hauled by oxen.”

 

Keywords: baskets, pulled them, giant 

 

Leap to Learn: Tip of the Moment!

When the keywords are not directly mentioned in the passage, look for their synonyms!

 

Explanation: The word ‘supersized’ is a synonym for ‘giant’, and the word ‘hauled’ is a synonym for ‘pulled’. Therefore, as per the passage, oxen (missing word) pulled the giant wicker baskets. 

 

5. Glaciers

 

Reference

 

From paragraph 5, “Challenging the classic image of industrious builders pushing, carting, rolling or hauling giant stones from faraway Wales, some scientists have suggested that it was glaciers, not humans, that carried the bluestones to Salisbury Plain.”

 

Keywords: Wales, brought

 

Explanation: As per the passage, Glaciers carried (synonym for ‘brought’) bluestones from Wales to Salisbury Plain. These lines give us a geographical insight important to understand the origin of Stonehenge. 

 

6. Druids

 

Reference

 

From paragraph 7, “In the 17th century, archaeologist John Aubrey claimed that Stonehenge was the work of druids, who had important religious, judicial and political roles in Celtic society.”
 

Keywords: Celtic, 17th century 
 

Explanation: John Aubrey, one of the most important archaeologists associated with Stonehenge, speculates who built it. In this passage, he indicates that the druids from the Celtic society were the builders. 

 

7. Burial

 

Reference

 

From paragraph 9, “While most modern scholars agree that Stonehenge once served as a burial ground, they have yet to determine its other purposes.”
 

Keywords: site, used
 

Explanation: Tracing back to the synonyms for ‘site’ and ‘used’ leads us to paragraph 9. The words ‘ground’ and ‘served’ are similar words and indicate that the missing word in the sentence is ‘burial.’ 

 

8. Calendar

 

Reference

 

From paragraph 10, “In the 1960s, the astronomer Gerald Hawkins suggested that the cluster of megalithic stones operated as a form of calendar, with different points corresponding to astrological phenomena such as solstices, equinoxes, and eclipses occurring at different times of the year.”
 

Keywords: 1960s, worked
 

Explanation: Tracing the keyword back in the passage leads us to the claim of astronomer Gerald Hawkins, who suggested using megalithic stones as a calendar. The word ‘worked’ in the question is a synonym for ‘operated’ in the passage, which confirms our answer.

Questions and Answers 9-13
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
In boxes 9-13 on your answer sheet, write.

  • TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
  • FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
  • NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

 

 

9. During the third construction phase, sandstone slabs were placed in both the outer and middle of the Stonehenge site.

10. There is scientific proof that the bluestones stood in the same spot until approximately 1600 BCE.

11. John Aubrey’s claim about Stonehenge was supported by 20th-century findings.

12. Objects discovered at Stonehenge seem to indicate that it was constructed by a number of different groups of people.

13. Criticism of Gerald Hawkins’ theory about Stonehenge has come mainly from other astronomers.

 

Answers with Explanation for Questions 9-13

 

Here’s a little about the question type before we start. 


Type of question: True, False, Not Given

 

The trickiest part of the IELTS Reading test is the true or false questions! Here’s how to solve them: 

  • Look for the keywords in the questions and locate them in the passage
  • Read the statement carefully, and then read the statement in the passage. Do the sentences match? Do they mean the same thing? If yes, mark True
  • If the statements contradict each other, mark False
  • If there’s no information present about the statement, mark Not Given.

 

9. True

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 6, “At this point, sandstone slabs – known as ‘sarsens’ – were arranged into an outer crescent or ring; some were assembled into the iconic three-pieced structures called trilithons that stand tall in the centre of Stonehenge.”
 

Keywords: sandstone slabs, outer, middle, 
 

Explanation: The passage indicates that the sandstone slabs were arranged in two ways: in the outer crescent or ring and the centre (middle) of Stonehenge. Therefore, the statement is true.

 

10. False

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 6, “Radiocarbon dating has revealed that work continued at Stonehenge until roughly 1600 BCE, with the bluestones, in particular, being repositioned multiple times.”
 

Keywords: Bluestones, 1600 BCE
 

Explanation: The given statement claims that the bluestones stayed in the same position, whereas the lines quoted in the passage clearly state that the bluestones were moved or repositioned multiple times as the work continued in 1600 BCE. Therefore, the statement is false


 

11. False

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 7, “However, in the mid-20th century, radiocarbon dating demonstrated that Stonehenge stood more than 1,000 years before the Celts inhabited the region.”
 

Keywords: John Aubrey, 20th century
 

Explanation: The passage states that though the antiquarian William Stukeley popularised John Aubrey’s claim, the mid-20th century findings contradicted this theory. The radiocarbon found in Stonehenge proves that it was built 1,000 years before the Celts moved into the region. Therefore, the given statement is false

 

12. True

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 8, “Many modern historians and archaeologists now agree that several distinct tribes of people contributed to Stonehenge, each undertaking a different phase of its construction.”
 

Keywords: different groups of people, construction
 

Explanation: The passage agrees that different groups of people (or tribes) were involved in constructing Stonehenge. Hence, the given statement is true


 

13. True

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph, “While his theory has received considerable attention over the decades, critics maintain that Stonehenge’s builders probably lacked the knowledge necessary to predict such events or that England’s dense cloud cover would have obscured their view of the skies.”

 

Keywords: Gerald Hawkins
 

Explanation: The above lines prove that Gerald Hawkins' theory about Stonehenge was primarily criticised by those who doubted his ability to predict astronomical events.

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FAQs

Q. Can I skip the Reading Module in the IELTS exam?

A. No, all four IELTS modules have equal weightage and are crucial to your overall success. Skipping the IELTS Reading module will result in a poor overall band score. As you know, most universities need at least a 5.5 in IELTS to admit you. You must score at least a 5.5 in IELTS Reading and other modules to reach this scale. You will be awarded a 0 band score for that section if you do not answer any reading questions.

Q. Is there a break between sections in the IELTS Reading test?

A. No, there are no intervals provided during the IELTS Reading section. The entire section is 60 minutes long, and you must complete it continuously without breaks. The IELTS Reading test comprises three sections, each ideally requiring 20 minutes to complete, totalling 40 questions. However, you can utilise any remaining time to review your answers if you finish before the allocated time.

Q. Can I use a pen or pencil to highlight text in the IELTS Reading test?

A. Yes! You can jot down notes during the IELTS exam and underline essential keywords in your question booklet. However, refrain from highlighting or making notes on the answer sheet. Furthermore, it's crucial to remember that only pens or HB pencils are permitted in IELTS paper-based tests. Usually, the IELTS test centres provide pencils, so if you forget to bring one, you can ask the examiner.

Q. How is the IELTS Reading test scored?

A. You get one point for each correct answer in the IELTS Reading test. Your total score depends on how many questions you get right. There's no penalty for wrong answers, so it's smart to try answering all the questions. Your final score, ranging from 0 to 9, shows how well you understood what you read. A higher score means you did better.

Q. How much time should I spend on each passage in the IELTS Reading test?

A. The entire test is around 60 minutes, so ideally, you divide the three parts by 20 minutes each. The test has an increasingly difficult pattern, so we suggest you answer the easy parts first to save time. If you manage your time well, you should have a few minutes to review your answers. 

Q. Can I carry extra time from one section to another in the IELTS?

A. No, you need to stick to the time given for each module of IELTS. You can, however, allocate as much time as you want (under 60 minutes) among the 3 sections in IELTS reading. If you finish the IELTS Reading section early, use the extra time to check your answers for mistakes. It's important to review your answers to catch any errors you might have made quickly.

Q. How can I better understand passages for the IELTS Reading test?

A. Practice with sample passages and questions to familiarise yourself with the format and types of questions in the IELTS Reading test. Use strategies like skimming for main ideas, scanning for details, and summarising key points to improve your comprehension skills.

Q. Where can I find helpful resources to boost my IELTS Reading scores?

A. Look for books in various genres, online articles from reliable sources, reading apps with access to eBooks, and materials like test preparation books or websites offering Reading Comprehension exercises. These resources offer a structured approach to enhancing literacy skills and understanding.

Q. Am I allowed to use a dictionary in the IELTS Reading test?

A. You cannot use a dictionary during the IELTS Reading test. Enhancing your vocabulary beforehand is crucial to comprehend words better in the passages. However, it's worth noting that the IELTS typically provides definitions for technical terms within the passages.

Q. How can I get an 8.5 on the IELTS Reading?

A. Scoring an 8.5 in IELTS requires perseverance and hard work. Here are some tips to help your prep! 

  • Get acquainted with the test format to understand its patterns better.
  • Expand your vocabulary.
  • Take mock tests frequently to simulate exam conditions and track your progress.
  • Make reading a habit by regularly exploring materials like fiction, magazines, and newspapers.
  • Practice increasing your reading speed.
  • Enhance your skimming and scanning techniques to improve your reading pace.
Q. How can I improve my vocabulary for the IELTS Reading test?

A. Here are some tips to improve your vocabulary 

  • Develop a daily reading routine with newspapers, magazines, and books to find various words.
  • Utilise vocabulary-building resources like flashcards, word lists, or online learning exercises to expand your vocabulary.
  • Practice incorporating newly learned words into writing tasks and speaking exercises to reinforce retention and application.