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Tuesday, 5 December 2023

The mystery of Stonehedge solved

The mystery of Stonehedge has finally been solved after a missing piece of the site was returned after more than 60 years. The piece was a core measuring more than a metre long which was matched through a geochemical study of the giant standing stones.

Through the study, archaeologists were able to narrow down the exact source of the stones to a small area around 25 km’s from Marlborough. The stones, which stand at around seven metres tall all weigh around 20 tonnes each. Stonehedge is made up of fifteen sarsens which create a horseshoe shape. The smaller stones in the formation have been found to have come from the Preseli Hills area in Wales but until recently it was impossible to work out where the large sansens had come from. The core was originally removed in 1958 during the archaeological excavations of the site, its return some 60 years later meant that scientists could finally analyse the composition of the stones. The core was returned after Robert Phillips who was involved in the original archaeological works decided to bring part of the core back. Scientists started by carrying out an x-ray fluorescence test on the remaining stones at the Stonehenge site which showed that they had similar chemistry to the stones in the area near Marlborough.  Destructive tests on the core were the decisive factor in proving that the stones had originated in the area near Marlborough. The stones were placed at Stonehenge in around 2500 B.C and researchers has said the new discovery gives them insight into how carefully thought out and planned Stonehedge was by the builders of the site.

Researchers had long suspected that the stones may have come from the Malborough area but could not prove it until the core was found.

Nathan Bailey
Nathan Bailey
Nathan is a news reporter, covering a range of national and international news stories, with a focus on explaining worldwide issues. He has been at British Journal since 2019. Before joining British Journal, he worked for Fleet Street newspapers for 5 years, where he spent time as a roving foreign correspondent.

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