An impressive tomb discovered in Wales is believed to belong to an important figure involved with the construction of Stonehenge.
The burial chamber is located in the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and sits on top of a ceremonial monument.
Nearby, a pair of standing stones embedded in a bank bear a strong resemblance to the pair-arrangement of the stones at Stonehenge, the famous prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, southern England.
Stonehenge features earthworks encompassing a circular arrangement of large standing stones. These are mainly two types of rock—the large sarsen stones (a type of sandstone), and a variety of smaller igneous rocks called bluestones (natural columns of while-spotted dolerite).
The excavation of the tomb in the Carn Menyn region of west Wales was led by Tim Darvill from Bournemouth University, and Geoffrey Wainwright from the Society of Antiquaries.
The archeologists believe the 80 bluestones at Stonehenge originated from the same area as the tomb and were transported around 160 miles (nearly 260 kilometers) to the Wiltshire plains about 4,500 years ago (around 2,300BC).
Uncovering the reason for this epic journey will unlock the mystery behind Stonehenge’s existence
Darvill and Wainwright first suggested in 2008 that Stonehenge may have been built as a major healing center, rather like a prehistoric version of Lourdes or Santiago de Compostela. They think the bluestones, not the sarsen, were believed to convey healing powers.
The Preseli area has many springs linked with ritual healing in prehistory, and this could explain why the bluestones were quarried for Stonehenge, despite being so far away.
“We went back to the Preselis and started doing excavations up there,” says Wainright, according to The Guardian. “The first site we explored was a big burial cairn in the shadow of Carn Menyn, where the Stonehenge bluestones come from.”
The excavation team discovered a stone circle underneath the cairn, built of bluestone, and organic material is being carbon dated.
“Then this stone circle was covered with the huge burial cairn with a chamber in the middle,” Wainright added. “The space turned from a public ceremonial space defined by the stone circle into the burial spot of a very important person.”
“We have obviously got a very important person who may have been responsible for the impetus for these stones to be transported,” Wainwright BBC News.
“It can be compared directly with the first Stonehenge, so for the first time we have a direct link between Carn Menyn—where the bluestones came from—and Stonehenge, in the form of this ceremonial monument.”
Sponsored by the Stonehenge Tour Company – www.StonehengeTours.com
Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website