Stonehenge: Why did the stones come from so far away?

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What is the story behind Stonehenge?

Scientists think they may be one step closer to finding out answers about one of the greatest mysteries of Stonehenge - a world-famous, 5,000-year-old stone monument in Salisbury in the south of England.

Experts have known for a long time that Stonehenge's 42 smaller 'bluestones' came from the Preseli Hills in west Wales, but they didn't know the exact point.

Now, excavations of two specific quarries - Carn Goedog and Craig Rhos-y-Felin - have revealed evidence of megalith quarrying taking place there 5,000 years ago.

Why is this so exciting? Well, Professor Mike Parker Pearson (UCL Archaeology) and leader of the team, explains: "What's really exciting about these discoveries is that they take us a step closer to unlocking Stonehenge's greatest mystery - why its stones came from so far away (230km).

"Every other Neolithic monument in Europe was built of megaliths brought from no more than 10 miles away. We're now looking to find out just what was so special about the Preseli hills 5,000 years ago, and whether there were any important stone circles here, built before the bluestones were moved to Stonehenge," he added.

But it's not the only interesting side to these findings.

The discovery also brings into doubt another popular theory about Stonehenge - that the bluestones were transported there by water, up the Bristol Channel and along the Bristol Avon.

Looking at the location of the two quarries on the north side of the Preseli hills, it is now possible that the bluestones could have simply been taken by land all the way to Salisbury Plain.

Will we ever know the full story of Stonehenge and its origins? Only time will tell.


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