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Historical Investigation: How Did The Bluestones Get To Stonehenge?

1885 words - 8 pages

Stonehenge: a megalithic monument that has survived for over five millennium; one of the world’s manmade wonders; a source of eternal speculation and mysteries for over a thousand years… and the cause of much squabbling amongst experts over the answers.Too many unknowns to make any definite conclusions, to this day, Stonehenge remains one of the great mysteries of the Earth. Located on the downlands of the Salisbury Plain in southern England, the ruins of Stonehenge consist now of a hundred and sixty-two stones of up to 40 tonnes in mass painstakingly arranged to recognize the summer and winter solstices. Two main types of stone were used in the construction. The large pillars that ...view middle of the document...

"-History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth, pp133+In Geoffrey of Monmouth’s tale, Merlin magics the stones into boats to be transported back to England, and then sets up the stones as Stonehenge. Oddly enough, in the early historian’s time the Preseli Mountains lay in an area settled by the Irish, and was sometimes referred to as Ireland. So Geoffrey of Monmouth may have been, knowingly or not, right about their location. If so, does the method of transportation (minus the magic) hold some element of truth too? After all, by the 12th century AD Stonehenge had existed—complete—for more than two thousand years.It wasn’t until 1908, when geologist Herbert Thomas suggested that the Stonehenge bluestones matched those in the Preseli Hills of southwest Wales, that the idea was taken seriously, and in 1921, he theorized that the Neolithic Britons quarried the bluestones in Wales, then carried them back to England by human labour. The theory of human transport went largely unquestioned, until 1971, when another geologist, Geoffrey Kellaway, dismissed Thomas’ “heroic bluestone enterprise” as impossible and introduced the concept of the stones being carried to England by glacial movement. As evidence, he pointed out glacial deposits nearby—on Near Street, only 60km from Stonehenge, and Bath, a mere 40km.Today, with advanced technology and dating equipment to further hone the evidence, archaeologists, historians and geologists continue this debate. Despite being the initially more preposterous theory, the evidence behind glacial movement has stacked up, and is currently in the lead. Dr Brian John, the author of several articles dedicated to the debate, an expert on ice and glaciers, is currently the most vocal supporter of the glacial movement theory. His argument relies heavily on recently reconstructed flow patterns of the ice sheets in Britain. From the arrows, it does seem plausible—even likely—that there was glacial movement in the Salisbury Plains, and that this glacial movement carried the bluestones into the region. However, this is not conclusive evidence.Dr Brian John also pointed out the multitude of rock types found in the area—not all local. From this, it follows to reason that the people who built Stonehenge were simply using the most convenient and suitable stones in the area, not traversing hundreds of kilometres to drag back giant slabs of stone. The bluestones, when investigated with modern geochemistry, prove to come from all over southern Wales, not one designated spot for quarrying. And the bluestones are not the only foreign rocks in the ancient monument: the Altar Stone, in the heart of the stone circle, belongs to the Senni Beds of the Old Red Sandstone formation, which outcrops in many parts of West and South Wales. Furthermore, diabase fragments from several archaeological digs far older than Stonehenge have also been uncovered, suggesting that the...

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