Like many researchers since, William Stukeley in the mid-eighteenth century wondered why the site of Stonehenge had been selected for the Britons' most sublime temple. It was chosen, he decided, according to the ancient notion of placing temples 'in clean and distinct areas, distant from profane buildings and traffic' (Stukeley, 1740, 11) (Pl. xxiia). Two hundred years on, Stonehenge is set about with traffic, busy main roads running past on both north and south sides, and profane buildings have appeared—the Larkhill military complex on the northern skyline, and the Stonehenge car-park and visitors' facilities close by on the north-west.
For several centuries now, Stonehenge has been among the most visited of British ancient monuments. Records of tourist day-trips from Salisbury via Old Sarum (still a favourite outing) go back more than 400 years (Folkerzheimer, 1562), and Stukeley (1740, 5) talked of its 'infinite number of daily visitants'.