Scientists have located the exact source of the rock believed to have been used to create some of Stonehenge’s first stone circle.
Researchers have been able to match fragments of stone from around the 5,000 year old monument with an outcrop of rock in south-west Wales.
The work – carried out by geologists Robert Ixer of the University of Leicester and Richard Bevins of the National Museum of Wales – has identified the source as a site called Craig Rhos-y-Felin, near Pont Saeson in north Pembrokeshire.
It is the first time that an exact source has been found for any of the stones thought to have been used to build Stonehenge.
The discovery has re-invigorated a long running debate as to whether the smaller standing stones of Stonehenge were quarried and brought from Pembrokeshire by prehistoric humans or whether they were carried all or part of the way to Wiltshire by glaciers hundreds of thousands of years earlier.
Archaeologists tend to subscribe to the ‘human transport’ theory, while geomorphologists often favour the glacial one.
The debate is solely about Stonehenge’s smaller standing stones which are sometimes known collectively as bluestones. The larger stones, or sarsens, are accepted to have been incorporated into the monument several centuries later.
The remarkable find has been reported in the journal Archaeology in Wales and opens up the possibility of finding archaeological evidence of quarrying activity at Craig Rhos-y-Felin which would indicate humans rather than glaciers were responsible for transporting the stone.
Research over recent years by Tim Darvill of Bournemouth University and Geoffrey Wainwright, a former chief archaeologist at English Heritage, suggests that the Pembrokeshire stones may have had a particular ideological significance.
The outcrops where some of the stones come from are thought to have been associated with sacred springs and local Welsh stone circles.
By bringing those particular rocks the 160 miles from Pembrokeshire to Wiltshire, the builders of Stonehenge may have thought they were obtaining more than just plain rock.
Experts have suggested they may have regarded the stone as having supernatural powers.
By DailTelegraph Reporter – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/8964899/Scientists-locate-exact-source-of-Stonehenge-stone.html
Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ – www.StonehengeTours.com
Merlin says: “Surely experts can establish if they were moved by glaciers or man power?”
Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website