Radiocarbon dating stonehenge

28-Oct-2019 12:45

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In the 1970s, it was thought that sarsens - giant boulders of sandstone weighing up to several tons - didn't occur naturally on the Salisbury Plain.

Researchers concluded that the people who constructed Stonehenge must have schlepped all the stones from Marlborough Downs, 32 kilometres (20 miles) away.

It makes sense that the heel stone has always been more or less where it is now, half-buried."There's only one other buried pit of comparable size at Stonehenge, and it's very close to Stone 16.

The pits, like the stones, lay along a solstice axis - and the entire geometry of Stonehenge could have been built around this naturally occurring coincidence, Pitts explained in a Stonehenge special edition of the journal.

More recently, evidence has emerged that sarsens can be found on the plain, although they're scarcer and smaller than those found at Marlborough Downs, with a different shape.

The stone formed millions of years ago, probably during the Tertiary period, and would have been broken and weathered by the permafrost of repeated ice ages.

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Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between 24 BC, although they may have been at the site as early as 3000 BC.

This supports Pitts's hypothesis, and could finally help lay to bed the mystery of why the location of Stonehenge was chosen."Continued radiocarbon dating may reveal further clusters of middle neolithic ritual features," Pitts wrote."But for now, the combination of a little henge, large cattle bones …

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