New findings into the mystery of Stonehenge

Cheryl Sanders
July 31, 2020

Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, England, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it dates back to the Neolithic period, around 2500 BC. The inner layer, comprised of the largest stones, has been analysed by archaeologists.

Tests since have now confirmed the origin point of the stones that archaeologists and millions of Britons have debated for centuries.

The smaller stones near the center of the structure, called bluestones, had previously been traced to Wales, almost 125 miles away. But the source of the massive blocks known as sarsens was still unknown.

For centuries, the source of Stonehenge's enormous sarsen stones have actually been an open secret. Another long-standing mystery isn't just where the stones came from, but how they were transported such far distances to the monument's site.

With the source of the stones established, the scientists mapped probable routes over which they might have been transported to Stonehenge; the Neolithic builders could have transported the stones along a route from West Woods via Knap Hill, or alternatively a route along the White Horse Trail and through the Vale of Pewsey and Avon River (see map).

However, Marlborough simply was the best match across England for the stone that was tested.


Only John Aubrey, an antiquarian from the 1600's, believed that "Overton Wood", an older name for West Woods, was the site where Stonehenge's sarsens originated.

Dr Jake Ciborowski analysing a sarsen lintel stone using a portable x ray fluorescence spectrometer.

This all changed previous year, when a missing piece of the stones was returned. It had been removed from a megalith, known as number 58 along, by a firm who were repairing damaged monuments with metal ties in the 1950s.

A missing out on piece of Stonehenge returned after 60 years assisted unlock tricks of the stones.

"Until recently we did not know it was possible to provenance a stone like sarsen", said Nash in an AAAS press release.

Geochemical testing indicates that 50 of Stonehenge's 52 pale-gray sandstone megaliths, known as sarsens, share a common origin about 25 kilometres (15 miles) away at a site called West Woods on the edge of Wiltshire's Marlborough Downs, researchers said on Wednesday. However the supply of the sarsens has till now eluded scientists.


"Now we can say that in getting the sarsens, the primary goal was size: They wanted the largest and most substantial stones they could find and it made sense to get them as close as possible", said historian Susan Greaney, one of the study's co-authors., in the declaration of Heritage of English.

The rationale the monument's developers decided on this website online stays a thriller, even supposing the researchers recommend the scale and high quality of West Woods' stones, and the benefit with which the developers may get admission to them, can have factored into the verdict.

The chemical analysis can also help to pinpoint the route of the stones to Salisbury Plain.

She added that the return of the core from Florida was crucial, as it allowed the researchers to undertake a "small amount of destructive sampling".

"MYSTERY SOLVED!" tweeted English Heritage, which cares for the website and added to the research study. Two of the sarsen stones did not originate from West Woods.

Subsequent, they examined two main samples from a person of the stones that ended up acquired all through restoration operate in 1958 but which then went missing until eventually resurfacing in 2018 and 2019, respectively.


The finding offers further insight into how Stonehenge was built. The scientists compared the core to other sarsen stones throughout England and finally came to a conclusion.

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