- Stonehenge, a 5,000-year-old monument in the UK, was built using two types of stones.
- Archaeologists have traced one stone – smaller stones – to a site in Wales. However, the origin of the massive Stonehenge sandstone boulders, called sarsens, has remained a mystery.
- A new study has shown that most of the 25 tons of sardines come from a forest area 25 kilometers away.
- The findings offer another look at how Stonehenge was built. One expert suggested that all 80 sargons were transported simultaneously.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
The original story of Stonehenge has confused archaeologists for centuries.
The mysterious monument, which was built in two waves of a flown structure 5,000 and 4,500 years ago, on the British Salisbury Plain represents two different types of stone slabs in semicircles.
Scientists have found one type of stone, smaller stones, in place in Wales. However, the origin of Stonehenge sand boulders with a length of 30 meters (9 meters), which are called sarsens, has remained an unsolved puzzle.
According to a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, Stonehenge builders pulled most of these 50,000 pound (22,700 kilogram) sargon from a forest area in Wiltshire.
An area called West Woods is more than 15 miles from the memorial – “which is really crazy if you think about it,” said David Nash, lead author of the study, Business Insider.
He added: “Our results suggest that most of the sargonons in Stonehenge have a common chemistry, so we say they come from the same area.”
The findings could help archaeologists find out how the builders were transporting huge stones to the south.
Stonehenge’s sarsens came from the woods 15 miles away
In Stonehenge, 80 sárníky were originally built in square arches, but only 52 remained.
According to an analysis by Nash’s team of elements present in the rocks, 50 of these 52 sarsens have the same chemical composition.
The team, armed with this chemical signature, looked for more sari in the southern United Kingdom and compared these boulders with the stones at Stonehenge. They found their match in West Woods, about 15 kilometers north of the monument.
Prior to the discovery, archaeologists speculated that the sarky came from a nearby region called the Marlborough Downs because “there were big gray stones in Stonehenge and the sarenes in the Marlborough Downs were big and gray,” Nash said.
Western forests are part of the region, but scientists have never looked for clues in this particular place, as most of them were hidden under vegetation.
In addition, Nash said the distant origins of the Stonehenge stones are proof that the builders did not necessarily pull the rocks out of the most suitable areas.
“Given that the builders bothered to bring blues from Wales to Stonehenge, why should they bother to bring sargen from the nearest place?” Nash said. At least four dozen 2- to 5-ton stones came from the Preseli Hills in Wales, about 150 kilometers away.
“The people who built Stonehenge wouldn’t bother for distance,” Nash added.
The reason why the builders used sacks from West Woods is still unclear, but the authors of the study suggest that they are probably related to “the size and quality of the stones present”.
All sarenes could be moved at the same time
The new finding does not confirm what Stonehenge was used for – according to Nash’s theories, the burial ground and cremation site and the site of ancient healing belong. However, knowing where the sarens come from would help experts at least find out how the builders built the monument and how they set out to transport their building materials.
Nash said Stonehenge builders were likely to use a roller or haul sledges on slippery surfaces such as vegetation or freezing soil.
“There is no evidence that they used animals for this, but we do not know,” he said.
The new study also supports the idea that the builders carved and lifted all the sledges to their standing places in the Stonehenge stone circle at the same time, around 2,500 BC, after transporting them en masse.
“For me, this confirms the idea that all the stones were moved at once,” Nash said. “It’s an amazing idea: How many people would have to get involved and pull huge boulders in one big project?”