If you thought we know everything that there is to know about Stonehenge - you would be greatly mistaken! Many aspects of Britain's most famous monument remains a mystery. Thanks to improvements in technology and archaeology techniques, over the years some of these mysteries have been resolved. New archaeological discoveries however have also created questions and new mysteries - such as the circle of deep pits that was recently found near Stonehenge. Stonehenge may have stood for thousands of years but our knowledge of it is constantly evolving which keeps us Stonehenge guides on our toes!
For a number of years archaeologists have known where the small bluestones at Stonehenge came from. Quarries for these stones were discovered in the Preseli Hills - incredibly around 150 miles from Stonehenge. On average these stones weigh about 3 tonnes - imagine transporting these stones over such a distance with the resources they had available over 4,500 years ago! The source of the larger stones at Stonehenge - the sarsen stones which form the outer stone circle and the inner horse-shoe has remained an "educated guess" ... until just recently.
A couple of years ago, a metre long sample from one of the large stones was flown from Florida to England. Why was it in Florida? I can tell you more about this story on one of my Stonehenge tours! The sample had been drilled out of the stone in the 1950s - on my photo above you can see a hole on one of the sarsen stones where a sample was taken. Since the return of the sample, Brighton University have been analysing it to find out where the large stones came from and this week the findings were released.
I am pleased to confirm that the "educated guess" which I have been sharing with guests on my Stonehenge tours was correct. The large sarsen stones came from an area around Marlborough. More precisely - this stone came from an outcrop of sarsen stones at West Woods - 15 miles from Stonehenge. This may not seem far - but these large stones weigh over 20 tonnes! How they brought these stones to Stonehenge remains an educated-guess. We don't believe that Merlin the Wizard transported them by magic as was once believed centuries ago! We believe they were brought on wooden sleighs using wooden rollers to help move them across the land. Below you can see a photo I took during an event at Stonehenge where they tested how easy it was to pull a stone on different shaped rollers. With a lot of people the stone moved fairly easily - but the stone did only weigh a few tonnes!
If you would like to learn more about Stonehenge - check out my Stonehenge tours from Bath by clicking here. As I like to say - Stonehenge is more than just a pretty bunch of rocks!