Whence Came Stonehenge’s Stones? Now We Know

British Broadcasting Corporation Home. Archaeologists have pinpointed the construction of Stonehenge to BC – a key step to discovering how and why the mysterious edifice was built. The radiocarbon date is said to be the most accurate yet and means the ring’s original bluestones were put up years later than previously thought. The dating is the major finding from an excavation inside the henge by Profs Tim Darvill and Geoff Wainwright. The duo found evidence suggesting Stonehenge was a centre of healing. Others have argued that the monument was a shrine to worship ancestors, or a calendar to mark the solstices. A documentary following the progress of the recent dig has been recorded by the BBC Timewatch series. It will be broadcast on Saturday 27 September. Date demand For centuries, archaeologists have marvelled at the construction of Stonehenge, which lies on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire. Mineral analysis indicates that the original circle of bluestones was transported to the plain from a site km miles away, in the Preseli hills, South Wales.


Thank you for visiting nature. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer. In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript. A Nature Research Journal. Cremated human remains from Stonehenge provide direct evidence on the life of those few select individuals buried at this iconic Neolithic monument.

Stonehenge was built in five stages, the earliest dating to – BC and the second stage (when the sarsen circle and trilithons – two.

Stonehenge is unique among prehistoric stone circles. Its stones are shaped and they carry lintels but the most extraordinary feature is that its stones have been brought to Salisbury Plain from elsewhere. Stonehenge was built in five stages, the earliest dating to — BC and the second stage when the sarsen circle and trilithons — two upright stones with a third across the top — were erected to — BC Darvill et al.

Twentieth-century archaeologists used to think that the bluestones did not arrive at Stonehenge until long after this first stage Atkinson ; Cleal, Walker and Montague but reassessment of early 20 th -century excavations, coupled with re-excavation inside Stonehenge, has raised the probability that the bluestones were installed in its first stage Parker Pearson et al. We now think that bluestones were set into pits known as the Aubrey Holes to form a circle of standing stones at this early date.

Geologists have recently identified several of the sources of bluestones through geochemistry and petrography Ixer and Turner ; Ixer et al. The major source of the spotted dolerite is a small outcrop called Carn Goedog on the north flank of the Preseli hills Bevins, Ixer and Pearce Archaeological excavations were carried out at Craig Rhos-y-felin in — and at Carn Goedog in — to search for traces of Neolithic megalith-quarrying and to date these remains to confirm whether the bluestones could have been installed at Stonehenge in its first stage.

At Craig Rhos-y-felin and Carn Goedog the rock forms natural pillars separated by vertical jointing which makes these pillars relatively easy to detach. The Neolithic megalith-quarry workers would have had to free each pillar, then lower it onto a wooden sledge and drag it away. They probably did not shape these monoliths at the quarries.

How Stonehenge Worked

The carbon-dating process that dated Stonehenge to about B. The University of Chicago professor developed radiocarbon dating in the late s and won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for it. When plants or animals die, they no longer exchange their carbon with fresh atoms from their environment.

Dating Stonehenge. C. Bronk Ramsey^ and A. Bayliss^. ^Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit; ^English Heritage. Introduction. English Heritage recently.

Eight miles 13 kilometers north of Salisbury in Wiltshire, England, U. It’s an ancient monument that was of great significance to the people who erected it. Unfortunately, we don’t know what that significance was, nor do we know much about the prehistoric people who built it. The mystery of Stonehenge has intrigued us for centuries, but until the 20th century, we didn’t even know how old the whole thing was.

But every visitor knows the obvious: The society responsible for it went to a lot of trouble to put it up. It clearly required planning, organization, cooperation and manpower. Archaeologists now estimate that an ancient society transported the stones from a great distance and erected the larger stones between and B. It’s still a mystery how these Britons transported such large stones, especially before the invention of the wheel.

New Light on Stonehenge

A circle of prehistoric shafts dug thousands of years ago has been discovered two miles from Stonehenge. Analysis of the 20 or more shafts suggests the features are Neolithic and excavated more than 4, years ago – around the time the nearby ancient settlement of Durrington Walls was built. The shafts, around more than 10 metres in diameter and five metres deep, form a circle of more than 1.

The West Amesbury Farm burial comprises the only inhumation recovered from the Stonehenge WHS dating to the Middle Neolithic (ca. – cal BC).

This module explores Stonehenge and other monumental constructions within their social, cultural and landscape context. Stonehenge is the world’s most famous stone circle, dating from the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. An iconic symbol of mystery and counter-culture, it has attracted attention from enthusiasts around the world who have come up with myriad and often bizarre interpretations of who built it, how and why.

This half-unit module will allow Stonehenge to be understood within the world of prehistoric Britain and Europe from the adoption of farming to the development of copper and bronze metallurgy. The module will examine the history of archaeological research on Stonehenge, and the nature of social change from the Neolithic to the Bell Beaker period and the Early Bronze Age. With many recent investigations of Stonehenge and its wider context producing a wealth of new evidence, this module will bring students up to date on our knowledge of this fascinating period in prehistory.

Register your interest in studying at the Institute of Archaeology and receive important information about open days, applications, and more. Register your interest.

The Age of Stonehenge

For historical details, photos and more about Stonehenge, go to:- About Stonehenge. Stonehenge is probably the most important prehistoric monument in the whole of Britain and has attracted visitors from earliest times. It stands as a timeless monument to the people who built it.

Stonehenge: Circle monument dating back 4, years found near sacred site. Analysis of the 20 or more shafts – which form a circle around.

More than nine hundred stone rings exist in the British Isles and twice that number may originally have been built. These megalithic structures are more accurately called rings rather than circles because they often display non-circular elliptical shapes; Stonehenge, however, is circular. It is difficult to precisely date the stone rings because of the scarcity of datable remains associated with them, but it is known that they were constructed during the Neolithic period, which in southern England lasted from approximately to BC.

The Druids, however, had nothing to do with the construction or use of the stone rings. The Celtic society, in which the Druid priesthood functioned, came into existence in Britain only after BC, more than fifteen hundred years after the last stone rings were constructed. But with the development of Carbon dating techniques, the infusion-diffusion concepts of European Neolithic history were abandoned, as many of the megalithic structures were shown to predate Egyptian culture.


Stonehenge , prehistoric stone circle monument, cemetery, and archaeological site located on Salisbury Plain , about 8 miles 13 km north of Salisbury , Wiltshire , England. It was built in six stages between and bce , during the transition from the Neolithic Period New Stone Age to the Bronze Age. As a prehistoric stone circle, it is unique because of its artificially shaped sarsen stones blocks of Cenozoic silcrete , arranged in post-and-lintel formation, and because of the remote origin of its smaller bluestones igneous and other rocks from — miles — km away, in South Wales.

Stonehenge has long been the subject of historical speculation, and ideas about the meaning and significance of the structure continued to develop in the 21st century. English antiquarian John Aubrey in the 17th century and his compatriot archaeologist William Stukeley in the 18th century both believed the structure to be a Druid temple. This idea has been rejected by more-recent scholars, however, as Stonehenge is now understood to have predated by some 2, years the Druids recorded by Julius Caesar.

of new excavations at Durrington Walls). Key words: Stonehenge, Durrington Walls, radiocarbon dating, Beakers. Introduction. The date of Stonehen.

Stonehenge is a massive stone monument located on a chalky plain north of the modern-day city of Salisbury, England. Research shows that the site has continuously evolved over a period of about 10, years. The structure that we call “Stonehenge” was built between roughly 5, and 4, years ago and was one part of a larger sacred landscape that included a massive stone monument that was 15 times the size of Stonehenge.

The biggest of Stonehenge’s stones, known as sarsens, are up to 30 feet 9 meters tall and weigh 25 tons It is widely believed that they were brought from Marlborough Downs, a distance of 20 miles 32 kilometers to the north. Smaller stones, referred to as “bluestones” they have a bluish tinge when wet or freshly broken , weigh up to 4 tons and come from several different sites in western Wales , having been transported as far as miles km.

It’s unknown how people in antiquity moved them that far. Recent experiments show that it is possible for a one-ton stone to be moved by a dozen people on a wooden trackway, but whether this technique was actually used by the ancient builders is uncertain. Scientists have also raised the possibility that during the last ice age glaciers carried these bluestones closer to the Stonehenge area and the monument’s makers didn’t have to move them all the way from Wales.

Stonehenge dating methods

Excavations at two quarries in Wales, known to be the source of the Stonehenge ‘bluestones’, provide new evidence of megalith quarrying 5, years ago, according to a new UCL-led study. Geologists have long known that 42 of Stonehenge’s smaller stones, known as ‘bluestones’, came from the Preseli hills in Pembrokeshire, west Wales. Now a new study published in Antiquity pinpoints the exact locations of two of these quarries and reveals when and how the stones were quarried.

The discovery has been made by a team of archaeologists and geologists from UCL, Bournemouth University, University of Southampton, University of the Highlands and Islands and National Museum of Wales, which have been investigating the sites for eight years. Professor Mike Parker Pearson UCL Archaeology and leader of the team, said: “What’s really exciting about these discoveries is that they take us a step closer to unlocking Stonehenge’s greatest mystery — why its stones came from so far away.

The Altar Stone at Stonehenge is a greenish sandstone thought to be of analysis of human and animal bones from Stonehenge, dating to the.

All rights reserved. Stonehenge in southern England ranks among the world’s most iconic archaeological sites and one of its greatest enigmas. The megalithic circle on Salisbury Plain inspires awe and fascination—but also intense debate some 4, years after it was built by ancient Britons who left no written record. The monument’s mysterious past has spawned countless tales and theories. According to folklore, Stonehenge was created by Merlin, the wizard of Arthurian legend, who magically transported the massive stones from Ireland, where giants had assembled them.

Another legend says invading Danes put the stones up, and another theory says they were the ruins of a Roman temple. Modern-day interpretations are no less colorful: some argue that Stonehenge is a spacecraft landing area for aliens, and even more say it’s a giant fertility symbol in the shape of female genitalia. Archaeological investigation of the site dates back to the s, when it was first surveyed by antiquarian John Aubrey.

Aubrey wrongly credited Stonehenge to the much later Celts, believing it to be a religious center presided over by Druid priests. Centuries of fieldwork since show the monument was more than a millennium in the making, starting out 5, years ago as a circular earthen bank and ditch. A complicated pattern of wooden posts was replaced in about B.

Dr. Kent Hovind Q&A – Fossils, Flat Earth, Mt. St. Helens Eruption Dating, Stonehenge, etc