September 5, 2014 / 7:03 PM / 4 years ago

In break from NATO, Obama visits prehistoric Stonehenge

U.S. President Barack Obama visits Stonehenge in Wiltshire September 5, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing

STONEHENGE England (Reuters) - After wrestling with threats ranging from Russia to Islamist insurgency in the Middle East, U.S. President Barack Obama took a break from a NATO summit to visit Britain’s prehistoric Stonehenge monument on Friday.

“How cool is this?” Obama said as he wandered starry-eyed in his shirt sleeves among the towering stone megaliths.

“It’s spectacular,” said Obama, as he gazed at the circle of towering megaliths while sheep grazed in a nearby field. “Knocked it off the bucket list,” he said, using a term for must-do experiences before one dies.

Built between 3,000 and 1,600 BC, the stone circle may have been a temple, a burial ground, an astronomical calendar or all three, scholars say.

No one knows for sure either how ancient Britons got the stones, which weigh up to 45 tonnes, to the site or what they used them for.

Reporting by Steve Holland, writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Paul Taylor

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