A group of archeologists may have found source of Stonehenge’s monoliths at two quarries in Wales, about 180 miles away from the site. But surprisingly, there is compelling evidence that the stones were hewed 500 years before the famous monument was erected, about five millennia ago.
Researchers recently announced that they may have found how exactly builders extracted the monoliths and transported them to Wiltshire. Their evidence is based on carbon dating of organic traces found at the two quarries and the geological signatures of the huge rocks.
Experts explained that Stonehenge originally had 80 bluestones but after 5,000 years only 43 survived. Each of the stones weighs between one and two tons and and the tallest are around 8-foot tall.
A separate team of scientists had analyzed the geological composition of the monoliths and found that a specific rock called spotted dolerite can only be found in Wales. But the exact source of the bluestone was never detected until now.
At the two quarrying sites, archeologists found burnt chestnuts, primitive tools, platforms and ramps used to drag off the stones. They also found what may look like a sunken road ancient people used to drag the stones out of the quarries.
Mike Parker Pearson, senior researcher involved in the discovery, said that his team was excited to find the exact locations the stones originated from. The traces of burnt chestnuts were carbon dated, and the findings suggest that the quarries were active places between 5,400 and 5,200 years ago. But archeologists do not believe that the Stonehenge monument is more than 5,000 years old. Thus, a question remains: what happened to the bluestones during those four centuries?
Parker Pearson doesn’t believe that the transportation process took about 500 years. He thinks that it is more probable for the monoliths to come from an even more ancient monument erected close to the quarries. And that original monument must have been later dismantled, and the stones were used to build Stonehenge 180 miles away.
As a follow-up, the research team plans to find and analyze the site of the presumably original monument. They also plan to learn more about how the two-ton monoliths were transported 180 miles across land.
The team believes that workers used wooden sledges to drag them off all the way to Wiltshire along now-sunken trackways. But placing the huge stones on the wooden rollers required team work, researchers believe, a fulcrum and lots of ropes and levers.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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