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Researchers have announced that they have solved a centuries-old mystery surrounding the origin of most of the large stones that make up the outer ring of Stonehenge, in an article published in the journal Advances in Science On Wednesday.
Using geochemical data, the researchers determined that 50 of the 52 large stones, megalithic sarsen, originated in the West Woods in Wiltshire, England, some 15 miles from where the prehistoric monument is located.
The smaller stones near the center of the structure, called bluestones, had previously been traced in Wales, nearly 125 miles away.
The monument was built around 2500 BC, and questions remain about how the stones, some of which weigh up to 30 tons, were transported.
“How they were moved to the site is still really the subject of speculation,” David Nash, a University of Brighton geomorphologist and lead researcher on the study, told Reuters.
“Because of the size of the stones, they have to be dragged or moved on rollers to Stonehenge. We don’t know the exact route but at least we now have a starting point and endpoint.”
A fragmented core sample that was previously thought to be lost was returned to the UK from the US in 2018, allowing researchers to do a test. The second core was located in Salisbury, England, in 2019, and a third core has yet to be located.