Tech and science news

Scientists unravel where Stonehenge's megaliths come from

Scientists have solved a long-standing mystery about Stonehenge, determining where most megaliths that make up the famous monument in Wiltshire, England originated, thanks to specimens stored in the United States for decades, Reuters reported.
Geochemical tests show that 50 of the 52 giant stones, known as sarsens, have common origin and come from West Woods about 25 kilometres from the site of construction.

Sarsen reach at a height of seven to nine meters and weigh several tens of tons. Scientists at the University of Brighton have applied a new technique in their study, the BTA adds.

Specialists first established the chemical composition of rocks with the help of an X-ray apparatus. It turned out that their composition was 99 percent silica, with insignificant impurities from other elements.

Due to the similarity in the composition of most stones, scientists concluded that they were mined from the same source. Basic specimens (cairn) taken in 1958 prove to be of great benefit to the study. Workers restoring the monument take them with them as a souvenir, but after a few decades they decide to return them to scientists.

The samples were examined using a mass spectrometer, allowing more accurate data to be obtained. The resulting prints were compared with 20 possible places of origin. The closest similarity has been found to career West Woods, Wiltshire.

Previous studies have shown Stonehenge's smaller “blue stones” were brought from Wales, from a field about 200 kilometres west of the site. Scientists came to the conclusion that both giant sarsens and “blue stones” were brought to the construction site at approximately the same time (about 2500 BC).


Related news