Some stonehenge rocks were at Salisbury Plain ‘long before humans’

Stonehenge has been a World Heritage Site for 32 years

A number of the largest rocks at Stonehenge had been there lengthy earlier than people and should not more likely to have been moved to the situation, an archaeologist says.

Archaeologists and antiquarians have for hundreds of years questioned why Stonehenge is the place it’s and why the biggest stones had been dragged miles to a hillside on Salisbury Plain.

It had been thought these stones, known as sarsens, had been introduced from the Marlborough Downs, 20 miles (32km) away.

Mike Pitts, one among just a few archaeologists to have excavated inside Stonehenge, has discovered proof that two of the biggest sarsen stones have been there for tens of millions of years.

The biggest megalith on the website, the heel stone, which aligns with dawn on midsummer’s day, is 75 metres from the centre of the stone circle and weighs 60 tonnes.

The heel stone may not have moved far. Pic: Wikicommons/Heikki Immonen
The heel stone might not have moved far. Pic: Wikicommons/Heikki Immonen

In contrast to the opposite giant sarsens, it has by no means been formed or dressed.

Mr Pitts discovered a gap that was as much as six metres in diameter whereas excavating beside the heel stone.

The pit, which has been back-filled for years, was too giant to have been the “socket” for a standing stone however large enough to have contained the large boulder itself.

It suggests the stone was lifted out of the outlet and stood upright, however not introduced from elsewhere.

One other unexplained gap, discovered between two of the stones within the central ‘horseshoe’ of sarsens, poses the speculation one other of the biggest stones – stone 16 – might have originated on the website.

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The 2 holes additionally seem to align with dawn on the summer season solstice.

The rocks were thought to have been moved to the site
It was assumed the stones got here from the Marlborough Downs

It had been thought that the sarsens didn’t happen naturally on Salisbury Plain however current discoveries have dispelled that concept.

Sarsen is a layer of super-hard sandstone that fashioned tens of millions of years in the past over the chalk that makes up the rolling hills of Wiltshire.

Through the Ice Age, the permafrost that coated Salisbury Plain repeatedly thawed and froze, shattering the layer of sarsen and over tens of millions of years the stones sank beneath the floor leaving just a few fragments seen.

Stonehenge incorporates different stones, known as blue stones, which most archaeologists consider had been delivered to the positioning from Wales by people.

A map of the stones showing the location of Stone 16. The Heel Stone is off the map to the northeast. Pic: Wikicommons/Anthony Johnson
A map of the stones displaying the situation of Stone 16. The Heel Stone is off the map to the northeast. Pic: Wikicommons/Anthony Johnson

However, in a report revealed within the journal British Archaeology, Mr Pitts says it was the sarsens that made Stonehenge the centre of the prehistoric world, not the opposite means spherical.

He mentioned: “The idea was that every one sarsens at Stonehenge had come from the Marlborough Downs.

“The thought has since been rising that some could also be native and the heel stone got here out of that huge pit. If you’ll transfer one thing that giant you would need to costume it earlier than you progress it to do away with a few of the bulk.

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“That implies it has not been moved very far. It is sensible that the heel stone has all the time been roughly the place it’s now, half-buried.”

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