Was Stonehenge in Wales before?

The megalithic monument of Stonehenge.

The megalithic monument of Stonehenge.

Archaeologists have found a dismantled stone circle in west Wales who believe that he was transferred to the plain of Salisbury, in England, and rebuilt as the famous Stonehenge.

It is already known that the smallest stones of the world famous monument, or blue stones, come from the Preseli Hills of Wales and they are believed to have been first erected 5,000 years ago, centuries before the largest sarsen stones at Stonehenge were brought in from just 22 kilometers away.

Now, the research team led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson, from the Institute of Archeology of University College London, has identified megalith quarries for the bluestones and a nearby dismantled stone circle, noting that were taken from the circle and recycled at Stonehenge, to 200 kilometers away, perhaps as a result of migration. They publish the study in Antiquity.

Professor Parker Pearson said in a statement: "I have led projects at Stonehenge since 2003 and this is the culmination of twenty years of research. It is one of the most important discoveries I have made. "

The find goes a long way to solving the mystery of why the blue stones of Stonehenge were brought from so far, when all the other stone circles were erected within walking distance of their quarries.

There are only four stones left in Waun Mawn, which is now revealed to be Britain's third largest stone circle, after Avebury in Wiltshire and Stanton Drew in Somerset, and also one of the first.

Archaeological excavations in 2018 revealed empty stone holes at Waun Mawn, confirming that the four remaining stones were part of a previous circle. Scientific dating of the charcoal and sediments in the holes confirmed that it was laid around 3400 BC.

Significantly too, both Waun Mawn and Stonehenge lined up at the midsummer dawn. One of Stonehenge's bluestones has an unusual cross section that matches one of the remaining holes in Waun Mawn. The chips in that hole are the same type of rock as the Stonehenge stone. In addition, the Welsh circle had a diameter of 110 meters, the same as that of the trench that encloses Stonehenge.

Waun Mawn is further proof that the region of Preseli of Wales was an important and densely populated place in Neolithic Britain, within a concentration of megalithic tombs or dolmens and large enclosures. However, the evidence of activity in the thousand years after 3000 BC is almost non-existent.

Professor Parker Pearson said: "It's like they just disappear. Maybe most of the people emigrated, taking their stones, their ancestral identities, to start anew in this other special place. This extraordinary event may also have served to unite the peoples of the east and west of Great Britain. "

A recent isotopic analysis of people buried at Stonehenge when the bluestones are believed to have arrived reveals that the first people to be buried there came from western Britain, most possibly from west Wales.

About 43 bluestones survive today at Stonehenge, although many of them are buried under the grass.


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