Don’t dig it there, dig it elsewhere: geologists identify precise source of Stonehenge rocks

Posted by mjs76 at Dec 22, 2011 04:25 PM |
Source for bluestones narrowed down to a few metres!
Don’t dig it there, dig it elsewhere: geologists identify precise source of Stonehenge rocks

image: Wikipedia

Back in March, we reported how Dr Rob Ixer from our Department of Geology and Dr Richard Bevins from the National Museum of Wales had identified the source of some of the stones at Stonehenge as the Pont Saeson area of South Wales. Since then, Rob and Richard have been up in the Welsh hills with their chisels and microscopes, searching for the outcrop which precisely matches the Stonehenge rocks.

The rocks in question are the ‘bluestones’ which make up the first and third (working outwards) of the four concentric rings which make up the famous monument. (The other two rings are composed of giant ‘sarsen’ stones which were sourced more locally.)

A new Ixer/Bevins paper published in the journal Archaeology in Wales narrows the source of the stones to a specific outcrop, about 70 metres long, called Craig Rhos-y-felin. In fact, some of the specific stones on Salisbury Plain can be matched precisely to the extreme northeastern end of the outcrop.

The knock-on effect of this research is that the identified area is now small enough to be excavated. If early Britons hacked these rocks out of the ground in this precise spot, there could be traces of their work which would provide clues as to the techniques used for quarrying and transportation. In other words, the discovery of where opens up the window to start finding out how.

The discovery has been widely reported in the press, of which the Independent’s coverage is the most accurate and comprehensive.

And through the wonders of Google Maps, here is the precise spot where Ancient Britons stood several thousand years ago and thought "That's a nice bit of stone. Look lovely on Salisbury Plain, that would."



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