Stonehenge: Sarsen Stones Origin Enigma Unraveled
Scientists have for the first time proved the origin of 50 of the 52 sarsens, the largest stone blocks of Stonehenge. They were transported from the area of West Woods, located 25 kilometers North of the megalithic monument. BBC News called the results of the study sensational.
The smaller "bluestones" of Stonehenge were already known to have been brought from Wales. The origin of the sarsens could not be determined exactly for four centuries, although there was a hypothesis that they were mined somewhere near Marlborough. The results of the study, which established the exact origin of the stones, are published in the journal Science Advances. The group was led by Professor of physical geography David Nash from the University of Brighton.
The scientific breakthrough was achieved by the decision of a participant in the 1958 excavation, 89-year-old Robert Philips, to return a meter-long fragment of Sarsen, which he kept in his collection. The English Heritage Foundation noted that this decision allowed scientists to research with the destruction of the sample, and was crucial in the study of the issue.
Uchenie studied the composition of Sarsen rocks, including using x-ray fluorescence spectrometry. They found the similarity of 50 megaliths in composition. They then applied inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy to the recovered fragment and compared the results of the same analysis with a selection of similar stones from various quarries in the South of Britain.
The authors of the study believe that their work may begin a new discussion of the mystery of how the megaliths were brought to the site of Stonehenge.
Sarsens weighing from 20 to 30 tons form a Central "horseshoe" of trilithons and are also vertical supports of the outer circle. It is believed that Stonehenge was built around 2500 BC.