Stonehenge may reside in England, but it “was a Welsh monument from its very beginning.” So says Professor Mike Parker Pearson in reference to what is a big step forward in our understanding of Stonehenge, reports the BBC.
His team’s research, published Monday in the journal Antiquity, establishes the source of the monument’s “bluestones,” the smaller of its stones, which for nine decades were known to generally hail from the Preseli Hills in Wales.
Now, scientists say they know exactly where in Wales they came from: the “spotted dolerite” bluestones hail from Carn Goedog, while the “rhyolite” were extracted from Craig Rhos-y-felin, reports Phys.org.
The burnt hazelnuts and charcoal that persist as remnants of millennia-old campfires at the quarries further flesh out the tale of the rocks. “We have dates of around 3400 BC for Craig Rhos-y-felin and 3200 BC for Carn Goedog, which is intriguing because the bluestones didn’t get put up at Stonehenge until around 2900 BC,” says Parker Pearson per Phys.org.
“It could have taken those Neolithic stone-draggers nearly 500 years to get them to Stonehenge, but that’s pretty improbable.” His theory: The stones were put to use in a local monument, which was latter disassembled.
His team suspects the remnants of that monument could sit between the two quarries; “we may find something big in 2016,” says one scientist. If they do, Parker Pearson believes it could reveal “the mystery of why Stonehenge was built and why some of its stones were brought so far.” One theory he shares with the Guardian: that it’s a “monument of unification, bringing together people from across the many parts of Britain.”
– Researchers think they’ve solved a Stonehenge mystery –
Researchers in London think they have solved one of the most enduring mysteries of Stonehenge: How did a bunch of prehistoric Britons haul massive stones from a quarry in Wales to the site of the monument more than 100 miles? “The answer,” per the Telegraph, “is surprisingly simple.” By mounting a giant stone on a wooden sleigh and dragging it along a track of timbers, a team from University College London found that just 10 people were able to move a more than 2,000-pound stone at a rate of about 1mph.
“We were expecting to need at least 15 people to move the stone so to find we could do it with 10 was quite interesting,” doctoral student Barney Harris tells the Telegraph.
The rocks in question, the ones at the center of the monument known as bluestones, were quarried in Preseli hills in Pembrokeshire, Wales, according to a separate study last year.
They were laid at Stonehenge, some 140 miles away in Wiltshire, around 2400 BC, according to Seeker.com. The larger stones around the perimeter, called sarsens, are local sandstone and were laid during a second phase of construction about 500 years later.
The sleigh-and-track method, if that’s what Stonehenge’s architects used, is not unique, Harris tells the Telegraph. “We know that pre-industrialized societies like the Maram Naga in India still use this kind of sledge to construct huge stone monuments, he says, adding that the Japanese are known to have used similar sleighs thousands of years ago.
Could oxen have been used to pull the stones along the track? “Oxen are quite belligerent and difficult to control,” Harris says. “This experiment shows that humans could have carried out the task fairly easily.” (A century ago, Cecil Chubb bought Stonehenge on a whim.)
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, 2 miles (3 km) west of Amesbury and 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury.
Stonehenge’s ring of standing stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.
Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC.
Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC, although they may have been at the site as early as 3000 BC.
One of the most famous landmarks in the UK, Stonehenge is regarded as a British cultural icon. It has been a legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1882 when legislation to protect historic monuments was first successfully introduced in Britain.
The site and its surroundings were added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1986. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage; the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.
Stonehenge could have been a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. Deposits containing human bone date from as early as 3000 BC, when the ditch and bank were first dug, and continued for at least another five hundred years