Amazing discovery: Stonehenge may have actually originated in Wales

A team of British archaeologists announced today they discovered evidence that England’s iconic prehistoric monument Stonehenge may have actually originated in Wales.

According to the Guardian and National Geographic, Mike Parker Pearson, a professor of British later prehistory at University College London (UCL), and his colleagues revealed that they had found signs of Neolithic stone quarrying at a pair of sites from which the distinctive “bluestones” used to erect Stonehenge originated some 5,000 years ago.

It has been well documented that the bluestones used to create the monument’s inner horseshoe came from the Preseli hills in Pembrokeshire, the reports indicate. Now, Pearson’s team said that it had located recesses in rocky outcrops located to the north of those hills that match the size and shape of Stonehenge’s bluestones. Furthermore, they located other stones that had been extracted but not used, as well as tools and paths used to remove the stones from the quarries.

The eight-foot tall, up to two ton bluestones were found at Carn Goedog and Craig Rhos-y-felin—and match Stonehenge’s bluestones in size and shape, the researchers found. By dating charcoal and carbonized hazelnut shells from the quarries, the archeologists were able to determined how and when the stones would have originally been extracted.

Stones dated to 500 years before the creation of the monument

Pearson called the discovery “amazing,” telling the Guardian, that they had 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.”

Does this mean it took nearly five centuries to drag the stones to Stonehenge? The professor said that is pretty improbable, and that it is “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.”

He explained that it is possible that the monument is older than previously thought, but that the more likely scenario is that they were building their own monument in Wales—not far from where the quarries are located—and that modern-day Stonehenge was relocated from that site, making it a “second-hand monument.”

Another possibility is that the stones were transported to Salisbury Plain sometime around 3200 BC and that the giant silicified sandstone found near the site arrived much later. The researchers propose that each of the 80 monoliths originally used to create Stonehenge had been transported by people or oxen using wooden sleds traveling along rail-like timbers, according to the Guardian.

“While we knew the locations where the rocks originated, the really exciting thing was to find actual quarries,” Pearson told National Geographic. “They built extensive facilities here: platforms, ramps, a loading bay. You can see chisel marks where they drove in wooden wedges at the recesses on the outcrop… It’s intriguing.”


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