There are a lot of theories out there about what Stonehenge was or what purpose it served. While some people claim it was a place of healing and others claim it was a burial ground, there are some people who even believe that aliens could have zapped it into existence. But what do we actually know about how it came to be?
We already know (an only know) that the stones from the 5,000-year-old monument were taken from the Welsh Preseli Mountains and then taken to Wiltshire, where Stonehenge now stands. How and why the stones got there is still a mystery. Spoiler alert: Stonehenge just got a heck of a lot more interesting.
One of the age-long questions that has always accompanied our curiosity about Stonehenge is: why did the people who built Stonehenge use stones so far away when the same material was close by?
Well, now that a team of archaeologists at UCL and the University of Leicester have found the quarries that the stones were taken from as well as the cremated remains of hundreds of Welsh people, that mind-boggling question now has an answer.
Archaeologists now believe that Stonehenge was initially part of a Welsh tomb that was dismantled and moved 140 miles to Wiltshire. Mike Parker Pearson, a professor at the Institute of Archaeology at University College London, proposed the idea following the recent UCL and University of Leicester discoveries.
“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,” Professor Pearson said. He went on to explain how “they are actually moving their heritage, and these stones represent the ancestors. They are actually bringing their ancestors with them.”
So there you have it. People moving from Wales to Wiltshire brought their ancestors and the rocks that symbolized them to their new home. At least, that’s how the theory goes.
A team from UCL will be digging between the two landmarks this summer in hopes of finding the original spot of the Welsh tomb. It seems like Stonehenge just got a little less mysterious.