thanks to a team of archaeologists and their ground-breaking research, the source of the giant sandstone boulders at stonehenge has been discovered. constructed around 2500 BCE on england’s salisbury plain, how and why the prehistoric monument was erected has been debated for over four centuries. last year, a study at the newcastle university suggested that the megaliths could have been dragged into place with the help of pig fat. now, with the publication of this latest research in the science advances journal, the origin of the 30ft (7m) sarsen stones has been traced to a site in wiltshire – 15 miles (25km) north of stonehenge. 

archaeologists pinpoint the origins of stonehenge's giant sarsen megaliths designboom

image by stephanie leblanc on unsplash



the circular settings at stonehenge are composed of two different types of stones: the smaller ‘bluestones’ and the larger sarsens. archaeologists have previously traced the origin of the bluestones to the preseli hills in wales, however, the source of the sarsens remained unknown. to find out exactly where the massive stones came from, the researchers analyzed the geochemical data of the 52 sarsens that still remain at stonehenge (there were originally 80). from the data, the team discovered that 50 of the 52 stones share the same chemical composition, inferring that they came from the same area. 

archaeologists pinpoint the origins of stonehenge's giant sarsen megaliths designboom

image by hulki okan tabak on unsplash



the next step in the study was to compare the chemical composition with that of a meter-long core taken from ‘stone 58’, which had been taken from stonehenge excavations in 1958. thanks to this returned core, the archaeologists were then able to pinpoint the exact source of the stone by analyzing sarsens across the south of england. during this process they found a match in west woods, wiltshire, making it the most likely source for stonehenge’s giant sandstone megaliths. this exciting discovery, which was published in science advances on wednesday june 29 2020, marks the latest step in unravelling the story of one of the most famous monuments in the world. 



article via: science advances, bbc news, business insider