Around 20 tons each of these six to seven meters long and two meters wide stone blocks weighs, the people before 4500 years ago on the Salisbury Plain in the south of England to the place of worship known today as “Stonehenge”. The roughly 80 stones form the probably best known monument from the Stone Age.
Already in 16. Century it was assumed that hosts of Stone Age people must have brought these huge boulders from the 30 kilometers north of the hills of the Marlborough Downs.
52 Blocks weighing several tons in Stonehenge
With exact scientific methods, however, this became common recognized consideration has only now been reviewed by geographer David Nash from Brighton University and Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg – in collaboration with numerous colleagues.
In the journal “Science Advances”, the researchers now explain that of the 52 still existing Stonehenge blocks 50 from a hill country called “West Woods” originate, which is only 25 kilometers north of the place of worship. The origin of these stones called “Sarsen” has long been a mystery.
To find out from which region the Sarsen stone circle with a diameter of 33 transported meters, David Nash and his colleagues first examined the remaining stones with portable X-ray fluorescence devices.
Measured with X-ray light
With short-wave X-ray light, these stimulate the atoms in the rock to form a radiation typical of each element, from whose strength the researchers can calculate how often the respective element is present in the rock.
On each of the 52 stones, the researchers performed five such analyzes, each of which 34 Determine elements without damaging the stones themselves. According to the investigations, 50 the stones, including stone 58, come from the same area, while the the remaining two must come from a different region.
In order to determine the exact origin, however, the researchers must also analyze stone samples using the modern methods of mass spectroscopy, in which the material is used, which makes the examination very delicate.
Finally, however, David Nash and his colleagues were able to analyze the “chemical fingerprint” of 20 Sarsen stone deposits in the south of England . Accordingly, the Stonehenge Sarsen stones 58 and 49 of the remaining stones were once in the 220 meters above sea level in the West Woods hills – 25 kilometers north of the place of worship.
Two kilometers transported
Stonehenge, on the other hand, lies far more than a hundred meters below these hills. “It is possible that the stones weighing many tons could have been transported from there on frozen ground about two kilometers down the slope in winter,” explains David Nash.
Maybe a thousand people did a tremendous amount of hard work on this transport. Below, in the valley of the Avon River, 250 workers were probably enough to pull a stone further south and finally over to the place of worship. “Maybe they could have trunks of trees as rolls under the stones,” continues David Nash.
Maybe lunar eclipses were predicted
With the probably under With great difficulty the Sarsen stones transported to Stonehenge were built by the engineers 4500 years ago, in which the rays of the rising sun should shine right in the heart of the facility just before Christmas at the winter solstice. There was probably a cult around this important date during the year.
This system could also have been used to predict lunar eclipses. It is not unlikely that the Stone Age people had a number of reasons to come there to celebrate from the entire region, which was later called Great Britain.