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Stonehenge: Seriously! How Were the Stones Transported?

by Sankalan Baidya
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How the Stonehenge Stones Were Transported Remains a Mystery

Stonehenge, like many other ancient monuments is a naked example which screams and says, ‘Are we – the modern humans, really advanced?’ Our Earth is riddled with the relics and monuments of past that defy modern explanations. For long we have believed that we, the modern humans, are supreme on this planet for there is no such thing that can distantly match our technological advancement – surpassing them being a far cry!

Is our thought correct? Time and again many monuments and relics of ancient past have been found that not just challenge our belief of being unparalleled but also make us look crippled, helpless and novice earthlings. From the Great Pyramid of Giza to ancient Chinese seismometer, from the Stonehenge to the ancient Han Purple – there are ancient stuff that baffle the best of the genius and scientific brains of the 21st century.

Origin of the Stones of Stonehenge

And now, the ancient Stonehenge has given us another question that will keep us busy for who knows how many years. A team of experts and scientists from museums and British universities have come up with a new study according to which, Preseli Hills, Pembrokeshire is the place of origin of the stones that were used to erect the enigmatic Stonehenge. Well, since 1920s people did hold the notion that the stones came from Preseli Hills but the exact location was not available. According to the new study, the stones came from a location at Preseli Hills in Wales which sits at a distance of exactly 241.402 kilometers or 150 miles from the site where this ancient monument stands, i.e. Salisbury Plains. The rocks that make the Stonehenge are known as Rhyolites. The exact location from where the stones were taken is called Craig Rhos-y-Felin – a 0.04 miles or 70 meters wide area at Preseli Hills.

place of origin of stonehenge stones

Scientists Have Pinpointed the Location of Origin of Stonehenge Stones to be Craig Rhos-y-Felin at Preseli Hills, Wales

Another interesting aspect that came out from this new study is that the stones were quarried somewhere between 3400 BCE and 3200 BCE. The reason why these dates are important is that previously it was thought that the Stonehenge was created around 2900 BCE. If the current studies are correct, the Stonehenge is actually 500 years older that what we have been said so far.

Now the big question – how did the ancient people manage to transport the stones over a distance of 241.402 kilometers? They did not have our modern technology. They did not have wheels. All that they had at their disposal were stones and sticks! At least that’s what we think. A simple answer might be that they carried it on their shoulders!

Well, that’s not a possibility because the stones that make the Stonehenge are massive. Except for the biggest stones of the monuments, all the stones, referred to as bluestones that were used for constructing the monument weighed a hefty 4 tons on average. That’s not the kind of weight humans are capable of carrying on their shoulders. The biggest stones that do not weigh 4 tons are actually far heavier. Known as the sarsens, the biggest stones weigh 25 tons on an average. There are 50 sarsens and 82 bluestones that make up the Stonehenge.

According to popular belief, the sarsens originated from Marlborough Downs – a location 32 kilometers or 20 miles to the north of the monument’s location. Though just 32 kilometers, that’s an incredibly big distance for carrying stones that heavy. As far as the smaller stones are concerned, they were carried over a distance of 241.402 kilometers across difficult terrains, sea and rivers.

But, those ancient people simply did it somehow and that too over thousands of years back in time when there was no modern science that could aided them with transport. Well, the Stonehenge is not the only enigma of the ancient times. The Great Pyramid of Giza is yet another example. According to modern estimates, there are 2.3 million stone blocks with the average weight of each block being 7 tons and some blocks weighing as much as 50 tons and historians and scientists believe that the ancient Egyptians transported those stones over great distances using wooden ramps. Some people estimate that the Egyptians made use of 8 million cubic meters of those ramps for carrying those stone. Okay, let us for the time being agree that the Egyptians indeed use wooden ramps but how did they manage to maneuver those stones and put them on top of each other, creating a structure that remained the tallest structure on planet for 3800 years? Besides, if wooden ramps were indeed used, where the hell are those wooden ramps? No archeological evidences of such wooden ramps were ever found.

So, here’s a big question: “What allowed the ancient people of Egypt, Peru, China, Bolivia and some parts of Europe to carry megalithic stones and enormous objects over amazingly big distances with such ease?” Were they really technologically retarded and primitive or was it that they were technologically so advanced that modern man cannot even comprehend? There are many enigmatic mysteries that leave us wondering how our ancient ancestors managed to even accomplish. Stonehenge is just one of those several mysteries and the only way we can get close to even understanding those mysteries is by asking question about everything. May be someday we will unravel those mysteries and may be someday we will be able to unlock the secrets of ancient world that will make our future better.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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