Stonehenge Bluestones Came From Wales, Study Claims

Posted: Dec 8 2015, 12:01am CST | by , Updated: Dec 8 2015, 8:35pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
Stonehenge Bluestones Came from Wales, Study Claims
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Stones were likely first used in a local monument, then dismantled and dragged off to Wiltshire, England.

British archeologists claim they have solved one mystery of Stonehenge's construction and now they know how one of the greatest prehistoric monuments, Stonehenge, was extracted and transported to the area of Wiltshire, England.

Excavation of two quarries in southwest Wales indicates that Preseli Hills of Pembrokeshire are the source of Stonehenge bluestones, they stood their hundreds of years before being dismantled and dragged off to the England.

Stonehenge is the remains of standing stones from the Neolithic age. The large stones at Stonehenge are called ‘Sarsen’ and they are local sandstone but the smaller ones come from the Preseli hills in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

For decades, geologists knew that bluestones were brought to Stonehenge from somewhere in the Preseli Hills but now they have been able to pinpoint the actual quarries from which they came.

Bluestones are made of volcanic and igneous rock and most common of them are dolerite and rhyolite. The outcrop of Carn Goedog and Craig Rhos-y-felin are the main sources of these bluestones respectively.

“The two outcrops are really impressive – they may well have had special significance for prehistoric people. When we saw them for the first time, we knew immediately that we had found the source." Professor Colin Richards from University of Manchester said.

Stonehenge was built in Neolithic period between 4,000 to 5,000 years ago while bluestones were dug out nearly 500 years before Stonehenge was constructed.

“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" said Professor Parker Pearson. "It could have taken those Neolithic stone-draggers nearly 500 years to get them to Stonehenge, but that's pretty improbable in my view. It's more likely that the stones were first used in a local monument, somewhere near the quarries, that was then dismantled and dragged off to Wiltshire."

So, bluestones were erected at Stonehenge around 2900 BC, long before the giant stones sarsens occupied the place around 2500 BC and they might have travel a long distance over land, challenging the previous assumption that these stones were floated on boats or rafts.

Professor Parker Pearson says. “Stonehenge was a Welsh monument from its very beginning. If we can find the original monument in Wales from which it was built, we will finally be able to solve the mystery of Why Stonehenge was built and why some of its stones were brought so far.”

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