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Where did the stones of Stonehenge?
The site of the famous monoliths were extracted and 290 km away, several centuries before the construction of the monument: What happened in the meantime? Wales were in the quarry from which the stones of Stonehenge were extracted, the famous Neolithic site English. A team of British archaeologists announced that it had identified two quarries on the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire north, about 290 km by road from Stonehenge: there would be extracted bluestones, as they are called the rocks of origin ‘foreign’ Monument.
Today only 43 bluestones of about 80 that were once Stonehenge; the remaining monoliths form a sort of horseshoe inside the monument, surrounded by a circle of much larger stones in sandstone. Studying and dating artifacts from the caves, archaeologists have been able to determine when and how the populations of these drew Neolithic stones. The monoliths are high up to 3 meters and weigh 1-2 tons. The rocks are igneous and volcanic with precise geological characteristics that match those of the inner semi-circle of Stonehenge. Geologists have shown that this is the only region of Wales in the British Isles that contains the particular type of rock, the diabase, of which the bluestones are constituted.
Archaeologists have unearthed stone tools, ramps and platforms of earth, wood and coal burning, and an ancient underground road that was probably the exit from the quarry. We knew what were the areas of origin of the rocks, but it was exciting to discover the real quarry from which the monoliths were extracted. Here vast infrastructure were built, just as platforms, ramps, loading docks. You can still see the spots where they were inserted wooden wedges in the cracks of the outcrop. The radiocarbon dating performed on charcoal and the burnt chestnuts found on the site frame the Neolithic activities in the quarry between 5,400 and 5,200 years ago. Researchers believe that Stonehenge was not built before 2900 BC This raises a question: what happened to the monoliths during those 3-5 centuries after extraction? It’s a fascinating question. It is rather unlikely that five centuries have served to drag the rocks from quarries up to Stonehenge; Instead it is more credible that the bluestones were first used for a monument in the area, and then ‘disassembled’ and drag in Wiltshire. Extract the monoliths from the quarry it was relatively easy for those prehistoric workers. In fact, it was enough to insert wooden wedges in the cracks of the outcrop and let the rains swelled them, splitting the rock and creating of natural columns that were lowered on the ground platforms. From there the monoliths were then dragged out of the quarry. In the end, eighty bluestones were transported to Stonehenge. Moving monoliths of two tons for almost 300 km was certainly a big deal, but other cases occurred in India show that stones of this size can be moved on wooden racks not to groups of over 60 people.
Despite the diet of the workers was most likely made up of meat, the site extremely acid soil has allowed the preservation of bones and antlers. But the archaeologists found remains of roasted chestnuts, one ‘snack’ typical of the Neolithic. The quarry was working a group consisting of at least 25 people, which probably came every day to the pit from various settlements in the surrounding area. If searches of next year will identify the local monument built before Stonehenge, this could mean that the builders of the latter came from Wales. Understand the purpose and use of the local monument could also finally solve the riddle of the role played by culture of prehistoric Stonehenge in Britain.
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