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Mystery Of Stonehenge Solved By Archaeologists

Mystery Of Stonehenge Solved By Archaeologists

Archaeologists believe they have solved the mystery of Stonehenge's huge upright stones, which have baffled scientists for years.

Rock boffins have worked out where the massive lintels came from, the heaviest of which weighs 30 tonnes - and it's not actually that far away.

New high-tech chemical tracing has found that the rocks actually came from a two square mile area of woodland, which lies just south of the village of Lockeridge, Wiltshire - about 15 miles away.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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The smaller stones, called 'bluestones', were taken from the Preseli Hills in Wales, which are around 180 miles away

Scientists have long thought the big stones, made from sarsen, were taken from the Marlborough Downs, which is a large expanse of land that lies west of London.

The team of scientists said the new research was impossible prior to the discovery of the new technology.

One of them, David Nash from Brighton University, said: "Until recently we did not know it was possible to provenance a stone like sarsen.

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"It has been really exciting to use 21st century science to understand the Neolithic past and answer a question that archaeologists have been debating for centuries."

Nash and the team used a technology called 'portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry'.

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To us, that is basically a scanner that lets you see how rocks are made up, chemically.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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They then compared samples of a core drilled out of a sarsen stone and compared it with samples from boulders all around Britain.

This meant that the team could pinpoint the West Woods in Wiltshire as the 'earliest home' before they were transported.

But the next question that I know you're dying to know the answer to - how did they get there?

Well, it turns out the massive stones, which are on average 20 tonnes, were just hauled there by builders in around 3000BC.

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The route they took was important, with the Neolithic builders choosing a flat route for their chosen rocks.

It's thought the particular rocks were chosen partly because of their spiritual value, but also because of their flat shape.

The builders are said to have carried them on logs, rolling the stones along their path until they reached Stonehenge. It was then used as a cremation site and still holds spiritual significance for many.

This research was published in the journal Science Advances.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Science, UK News, Interesting

Amelia Ward

Amelia is a journalist at LADbible. After studying journalism at Liverpool John Moores and Salford Uni (don't ask), she went into PR and then the world of music. After a few years working on festivals and events, she went back to her roots. In her spare time, Amelia likes music, Liverpool FC, and spending good, quality time with her cat, Paul. You can contact Amelia at [email protected]