Stonehenge, the magical 4,600-year-old megalithic structure in Wiltshire, England, may have partially been constructed from 3 ton rocks hauled 175 miles from a similar older monument in Wales. University College London researchers and their colleagues based this new theory, published in the journal Antiquity, on radiocarbon dating, the distinct architecture of both sites, and other studies on migration from Wales to Wiltshire. From National Geographic:
The megalithic circle at the Welsh site of Waun Mawn has comparable dimensions to Stonehenge, is similarly aligned with the sun, and appears to feature some of the same building materials. But unlike Stonehenge it has few surviving stones. The research team speculates that the builders of Waun Mawn dismantled it five millennia ago and hauled some of its three-ton bluestones 175 miles east to the Salisbury Plain—an extremely arduous (and, on a practical level, unnecessary) endeavor. So why do it?
To ancient Britons, the bluestones "must have been considered as not just valuables, but the very essence of who they were," says Michael Parker Pearson, an expert in British prehistory at University College London and the study's lead author. Pearson, whose work is supported in part by the National Geographic Society, suspects that the discovery at Waun Mawn may bolster a particularly evocative hypothesis: Stonehenge's bluestones (named for their color) were the physical representations of the migrants' ancestors or their ancestral memories. The Neolithic Britons were literally carrying the weight of their ancestors with them across the realm.
image: garethwiscombe (CC BY 2.0)