The five most important questions: scientists have revealed the secrets of Stonehenge

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Five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Stonehenge – a prehistoric circle of stones about 4 m high in Wiltshire – is the source of some of the biggest mysteries in the world. Historians believe that it was built around 5,000 years ago, but its purpose remains unconfirmed.

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While it is still impossible to answer all the mysteries, scientists can answer some of them, according to the Daily Mail.< /p>

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Five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

Five the most important questions: scientists have revealed the secrets of Stonehenge

Who built Stonehenge?

It is believed that the famous ring of stones was built in stages, with the construction of the first stage beginning around 3100 BC. e. This age was determined by radiocarbon dating of organic matter at this site by various scientists over the past 70 years.

The Seaford chalk round ditch and series of round pits are believed to have been first discovered by antiquarian John Aubrey in 1666. The 56 “Aubrey pits”, as they are now known, are about one meter wide and deep, with steep sides and a flat bottom.

Five most important questions: scientists uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Five the most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

Excavations unearthed cremated human bones in some chalk depressions that were considered unimportant when they were first discovered in 1920 by William Hawley.

However, in 2013 they were reanalyzed by archaeologists from University College London (UCL), who dated the site as such 3000 BC e.

Five the most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

Five most important questions: scientists uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

The ditch and pits are considered the first stage in the construction of Stonehenge. However, their purpose remains a mystery.

The second phase of construction began sometime between 2900 and 2600 BC. That is, when a large number of wooden pillars were dug in.

Fragments of wood, as well as cremated bones and pieces of ceramics, allowed scientists to date the second stage of construction by Neolithic people.

From 2600 BC e. the famous bluestones, which are believed to be the work of the inhabitants of a nearby Neolithic settlement, begin to be added.

Derrington Walls is a hill fort located just 2.8 km from Stonehenge and dates back to about 2500 BC n. e. Scientists believe that this was the place where the builders lived part of the year and spent holidays and rituals.

English Heritage experts say the ceremonial feasts at Durrington Walls attracted people from all over the country to help build the monument.

Yes, the building actually brought people together, including those from Wales, and showed outsiders the power of a small building community .

In 2018, Oxford University researchers studied the isotopic composition of strontium in cremated bones buried at Stonehenge between 3180 and 2380 BC. e. In 10 skull fragments, they found chemicals that match people from western Britain.

This region is a well-known source of Stonehenge's bluestones – and finds indicate that the ancient Welsh helped build it.

Besides Durrington Walls, some of the visitors may have stayed at another nearby settlement called Bleak Mead, located to the east from the stone circle.

It is believed that the third stage of construction continued until about 1500 BC. e. and included the installation of about 82 blue stones.

Originally there were two concentric semi-circles of megaliths, as well as four separate “Station Stones” and a large central megalith known as the “Altar Stone”.

Later, 30 sarsen stones are typical examples of hard sandstone from the Marlborough Downs in North Wiltshire — were brought into place and arranged in a circle.

The horizontal stones were placed on top before the inner circle of the world-famous “triliths”—two vertical stones supporting a third horizontal stone—was raised.

Around 1500 BC. i.e. more bluestones were installed outside the outer circle and inside the triliths to create the familiar Stonehenge we can see today.

In 2016, UCL researchers conducted an experiment to see how many people would be needed for construction of Stonehenge.

Using logs and rope, they dragged a concrete slab weighing one ton – half the weight of the lightest blue stone used in the construction of the monument.

They concluded that it would have taken 40 to 50 people and more than 10 million hours of labor to move the stones to the Neolithic site.

The five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Five most important questions: scientists uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Five the most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge -6b6b708.jpg

Where did the stones come from?

There are two main types of stone that make up the Stonehenge megaliths – blue stone and sarsen stone.

Scientists have known for a century that blue stone comes from the Presley Hills in north Pembrokeshire, Wales.

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In 1923, H. H. Thomas of the British Geological Survey NERC, during field work at Carn Menin, discovered the characteristic dark gray mottled rock known as spotted dolerite.

However, in 2014, researchers at the Museum of Wales studied the mineral chemistry of the bluestones at the site.

They found that at least 55 percent of the dolerite bluestones actually come from another site known as Carn Goedog.

Three years earlier, an analysis carried out with geologists from the University of Leicester had shown that the rhyolite bluestones at Stonehenge originated from Craig Ros-y-Felin.

These sites are about 225 km from the monument itself in Wiltshire, and how they were brought to Wiltshire remains a matter of controversy.

Five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

Five the most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

Five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

Five the most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

Prior to these findings, it was believed that the stones could be rafted along the Bristol Canal.

However, Dr. Richard Bevins, lead author of the study, said this was unlikely because “both of these rock deposits lie on the north side of the Pressel Hills.”

“The rocks must have been pulled up the hills, over the peaks and down again before they even reached the waterways,” he said.

Another theory was proposed in 2018 that the rocks were moved in Wiltshire 500,000 years ago by a glacier.

< p>Welsh scientist Brian John claimed that the glacier cut its way through Wales and the ice picked up the bluestones along the way. He says the rocks finally made it to Salisbury Plain after the ice melted.

Five Biggest Questions: Scientists Solve Stonehenge Mysteries

The five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

In 2021, experts from the University of St. Andrews unearthed the remains of another stone circle, dubbed Waun Moon, dated to around 3400 BC. e., on the hills of Preseli.

Researchers claim that 50 blue stones from the disassembled circle were transferred to Wiltshire to create Stonehenge.

There were similarities between the Neolithic monuments, which allowed the researchers to conclude about links between them.

The Welsh circle is 110m in diameter – the same as the moat surrounding Stonehenge – and both are aligned at sunrise on the summer solstice.

Several monoliths from Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain belong to the same rock type , which are still on the Welsh site.

In addition, one of the bluestones at Stonehenge has an unusual cross-section, matching one of the holes left at Wown Moon.

The researchers suggest that the stones were moved during the migration of the ancient people of the Preseli region, as they took their monuments with them as a sign of the identity of their ancestors.

This may also explain why the blue stones were brought from such a long distance, while most circles are built a short distance from their quarries.

Five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Five most important questions: scientists uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Five the most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

Five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Five the most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge -fd74126.jpg

During different ice ages, permafrost repeatedly froze and thawed the chalk layer, destroying the sarsens.

Over the millennia, these stones sank below the surface, leaving several fragmented rocks sticking out.

These stones of various sizes can be found on the Salisbury Plain and the Marlborough Valley in Wiltshire, as well as in Kent and, to a lesser extent, in Berkshire, Essex, Oxfordshire, Dorset and Hampshire.

Experts from the University of Brighton determined the origin of the sarsen stones from a core sample taken during renovations in the 1950s.

Chemical analysis has shown that the 20-ton, 30-foot-tall megalith sample comes from the Wiltshire West Forest. The local origin of the stones probably ensured that the largest stones could be used to build Stonehenge.

Five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Five the most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge -4c3f760.jpg

Five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

How was Stonehenge built?

The massive stones that make up Stonehenge weigh up to 50 tons, as they were brought to the site and arranged as they are, until now remains a mystery.

Their weight meant that transportation by water would be impossible, so it is suspected that they were transported using sleds and ropes.

Calculation showed that in order to pull one stone, 500 men would be needed, who leather ropes were used, and another 100 men who laid the rollers in front of the sled.

However, the hard surfaces and trenches required when using the rollers should have left their mark on the landscape, but so far they have not been found.

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Archaeologists from Newcastle University have suggested that Neolithic people dragged the stones into place using sledges smeared with pork fat.

Another study suggests that they used cows to carry stones for the monument.

Top Five Questions: Scientists Uncover Stonehenge Mysteries

The five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

The five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge .jpg

Archaeologists at UCL have discovered that Neolithic cattle's leg bones show characteristic wear and tear, suggesting they were used as “animal movers”.

It has been suggested that cows may have been used to pull giant wicker baskets , containing huge boulders, and roll them to their destination.

In addition, ancient engineers could use ball bearings in grooved oak walkways to transport stones to the construction site.

Five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

Five the most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

It is known that people of the Neolithic era knew how to saw out long wooden boards that were used as paths to cross the swamp.

Experts at the University of Exeter put forward this hypothesis after studying mysterious stone balls found near Stonehenge-like landmarks in the Scottish county of Aberdeenshire.

Roughly the size of a cricket ball, they are cut to the nearest millimeter. This indicates that they were intended to be used together and not separately. Scottish stone circles are similar in shape to Stonehenge but contain some much larger stones.

Why was it built on Salisbury Plain?

Although today Stonehenge looks like an isolated building standing on the Salisbury Flat, research shows that it was not always so.

In fact , a large complex found about 2.4 km from the stone circle in 2016, believed to date from 3650 BC. e. – more than a thousand years before it was built.

Researchers say the complex was a sacred place where Neolithic people held ceremonies, banquets in particular.

Although not as old as Bleak Mead, this discovery showed that the entire area around Stonehenge was even more sacred and ritually active than archaeologists thought.

Five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Five most important questions: scientists uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Five the most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

Five most important questions: scientists uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Evidence also suggests that the location of Stonehenge was used for sun worship hundreds of years before the setting of its stones.

A rectangular patch of land surrounded by moats known as Stonehenge Course, located to the north of the monument, and is dated between 3630 and 3375 BC. e.

Its function is unclear, but it is believed that it was ceremonial or served as a boundary between the zones of settlement and ceremonial activity.

In 2011, a team from the University of Birmingham used GPR to study the fields around Stonehenge. They discovered two pits almost 5 meters deep that are in what is known as the sky alignment.

Archaeologists believe the pits contained tall stones and wooden posts to mark sunrise and sunset, or the route of the midsummer procession.

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Five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Five the most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

In 2013, archaeologists confirmed that the ancient processional path to Stonehenge was laid along the relief of the Ice Age.

It was naturally on the solstice axis, suggesting that the location of the stone circle was chosen because of its solar value.

The route known as the Avenue is formed by ditches extending 2.4 km from the northeast entrance to West Amesbury. Experts believe the grooves were created by meltwater from the ice age.

They naturally point straight into midwinter sunset in one direction and midsummer sunrise in the other.

The presence of these ridges probably prompted the Neolithic people to build Stonehenge on this site.

Five most important questions: scientists have solved the mysteries of Stonehenge

The five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Five most important questions: scientists uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Five the most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

Why was it used?

Perhaps the most pressing question about Stonehenge concerns what purpose the circle of megaliths provided. Over the years, scientists have used the available evidence to come up with a number of theories.

The discovery in 2013 of the cremated bones at Aubrey, which were buried between 3100 B.C. e. and 2600 BC. That is, led experts to believe that it could be a cemetery.

The blue stones may have originally been used to identify individuals buried underneath.

But after 2500 BC. e. The people who used Stonehenge seem to have stopped cremating and hiding human remains in the stone circle itself, instead hiding them in a moat around the periphery.

The five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

Five the most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

The location and orientation of the stones also indicate that it may have been built to track the movement of the sun, moon, and stars.

Another theory is that Stonehenge acted as a musical instrument on which the stones “played “like a giant xylophone.

Researchers at the Royal College of Art spent months tapping pieces of stone against 1,000 types of rocks and recording the sound they made.

They found that blue stones ” sing” on impact and have an “extraordinary sonic nature” enhanced by the round shape.

In 2020, engineers at the University of Salford published a 3D printed scale model of Stonehenge and found that it has “like a modern movie theater” acoustics.

They think they could use this property while singing or talking, amplifying your voice or music.

Due to the way the real stones were laid out, the voices would not project onto the surrounding area or even people standing nearby.

And last March, an archaeologist at Bournemouth University claimed it was an ancient solar calendar, helping people keep track of the days of the year.

Bournemouth University professor Timothy Darvill believes it was a physical representation of one month, with each of 30 stones in a sarsen circle representing one day.

When it was built, one month consisted of three weeks, and each of these weeks consisted of 10 days.

Professor Darvill said that there are special stones in the circle that mark the beginning of each of these three weeks in the month.

The people at Stonehenge may have simply marked the days of the month represented by a stone, perhaps using a small stone or a wooden peg, he said.

The five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the mysteries of Stonehenge

The five most important questions: scientists have uncovered the secrets of Stonehenge

According to the researchers, the entire monument is located in relation to the solstice, or the extreme limits of the movement of the sun: “At Stonehenge on the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone in the northeastern part of the horizon and its first rays illuminate the heart of Stonehenge.Observers at Stonehenge on the winter solstice, standing at the entrance to the fence and facing the center of the stones, can watch the sunset in the southwest western part of the horizon.