WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- The geographical origin of sandstone megaliths called sarsens is identified, the archeologists announced.
- The stone fragment used for geochemical fingerprinting was collected from a previous company worker that carried out conservation efforts for the prehistoric monument.
- This answered a long-standing question about the Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.
Scientists answered the centuries-old question about the standing stones in the prehistoric monument: Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.
The answers were derived from geochemical testing data: 50 of the 52 sandstone megaliths called sarsens in the monument share a common origin. The geochemical fingerprints from the sarsens matched those from West Woods, the archeologists announced.
Stonehenge’s central horseshoe is composed of seven-meter tall sarsens, each about 20 tons. The monument’s smaller bluestones originated from a different location. These bluestones have been traced back to Pembrokeshire in Wales, about 150 miles away.
“The sarsen stones make up the iconic outer circle and central trilithon horseshoe at Stonehenge. They are enormous,” said Geomorphologist David Nash, University of Brighton.
“How they were moved to the site is still really the subject of speculation,” Nash said. “Given the size of the stones, they must have either been dragged or moved on rollers to Stonehenge. We don’t know the exact route but at least we now have a starting point and an endpoint.”
The stone fragment used for geochemical fingerprinting was obtained from Robert Phillips, who worked for the company that carried out the conservation effort and was on-site during the installation of metal rods to stabilize a cracked megalith.
In 1997, the stone sample entered the United States. Phillips had carried the stone fragment and emigrated to the country. In 2018, this stone sample was transported back for research, before passing away earlier this year.
This stone fragment became the core sample for researchers, seeing as destructive testing on the location is off-limits.
“I hope that what we have found out,” Nash said, “will allow people to understand more about the enormous endeavor involved in constructing Stonehenge.”
Source: New York Post