Stonehenge was dismantled in Wales and moved to Wiltshire, scientists claim

The Welsh connection isn’t just about stones it’s likely to be a long term movement from west to east at this particular time, says archaelogist Mike Parker Pearson

Matt Payton
Monday 06 June 2016 01:54
Comments
Since the people who built Stonehenge never left any written records behind, its origins and purposes are still mostly unknown
Since the people who built Stonehenge never left any written records behind, its origins and purposes are still mostly unknown

Stonehenge was originally a mass tomb in Wales before being transported to its current location on Wiltshire, scientists now claim.

Speaking at Hay Festival, archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson from University College London (UCL) said the 5,000-year-old monument originated 140 miles away in the Preseli mountains in west Wales.

Archaelogy teams from UCL and the University of Leicester were able to find the West Wales quarries that produced the spotted dolerite bluestones and the ryolite bluestones that make up the monument.

Professor Parker Pearson said: "The Welsh connection isn’t just about stones it’s likely to be a long term movement from west to east at this particular time

"Why dismantle an original monument? We’re wondering if it actually might have been a tomb with a surrounding stone circle which they dismantled. If that were the case they were basically carting the physical embodiment of their ancestors to re-establish somewhere else.

"Their idea of packing their luggage was rather more deep and meaningful than our own. They are actually moving their heritage, and these stones represent the ancestors. They are actually bringing their ancestors with them."

These types of stones form natural pillars allowing the prehistoric tribesmen insert wooden wedges into the cracks allowing rain to swell the wood and crack the stone, Telegraph reports.

The teams believe they can match up which stones were cut from which part of the rock face.

They found around 500,000 bone fragments at Stonehenge which they say came from people who lived in the West of Britain, potentially Wales.

It is thought that some of the fragments belong to the ancestors who were brought from Wales to be reinterred.

Professor Parker Pearson added: “The more we find out about Neolithic society, their culture and religion, it is focused on the ancestral dead. If you build in stone for the dead, that is a society that is worshiping its ancestors.

"Where are the dead? The simple answer is Stonehenge, because what we hadn’t realised was that Stonehenge is the largest cemetery of the entire 3rd millennium BC in Britain.

“Most of those remains are cremated. Just burnt fragments. There were several hundred people buried."

These types of stones form natural pillars allowing for minimal work to extricate them from the rockface

There is currently no evidence to explain why the Welsh move to Wiltshire but Professor Parker Pearson suggest it was built to unite warring tribes.

A team from UCL are launching a dig this summer to hopefully find the original Welsh tomb.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in