A sample of a Stonehenge restoration over 60 years ago proved to be the key to this advance. USA TODAY
The giant rocks that make up Stonehenge provided a sense of wonder to visitors and scholars who come to visit the prehistoric monument.
Now, after centuries of debate by archaeologists, the origin of the great sarsen stones – also known as megaliths – has been found just 24 kilometers from the monument itself, near the city of Marlborough.
The innovation was published in Advances in science jWednesday.
Stonehenge is built with two types of stones: Sarsen stones, from which all 15 central horseshoes of the monument are made, and smaller blue stones, which were located on the Preseli hills in Wales, for example. English heritage.
The megaliths, each weighing tens of thousands of pounds and measuring up to 22 feet, have never been tested.
But a restoration of Stonehenge, more than 60 years ago, required the reconstruction of three stones in the monument. To ensure the integrity of one of the megaliths, which had a fracture, three horizontal holes were drilled.
The main material of these perforations is thought to have disappeared until last year, when a man named Robert Phillips – present in the repairs – returned one of the cores to English Heritage.
Phillips, who now lives in Florida, wanted him to be returned the day before his 90th birthday.
After conducting non-destructive tests on Stonehenge sarsens, the researchers were able to determine that they were all from the same area. They then looked at different Sarsen formations – or outcrops – across England.
Last month: archaeologists find huge ring of ancient arrows near Stonehenge
“Each outcrop had a different geochemical signature, but it was the chance to test the returned core that allowed us to determine the area of origin for the Stonehenge sarsens,” said David Nash, professor of geography at the University of Brighton.
After performing a destructive test on the returned core, they tracked it to an area known as West Woods. These stones, said Susan Greaney, an English Heritage historian, were probably chosen because the builders “wanted the largest and most substantial stones they could find and it made sense to get them out as close as possible.”
Scientists have yet to discover the route and method used to transport these giant stones to their current location.
To complicate the mystery, two stones were obtained elsewhere, according to the study published Wednesday. Still, this important discovery helps to understand this ancient mystery.
“Being able to identify the area that Stonehenge builders used to obtain their materials around 2500 BC is a real thrill. Now we can start to understand the route they may have taken and add another piece to the puzzle, “said Greaney.
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