Moving Stonehenge

27 May 2016

Moving Stonehenge (experiment led by Barney Harris as part of the UCL Festival of Culture 2016)

An experiment led by Institute research student Barney Harris earlier this week aimed to solve a prehistoric mystery related to the building of Stonehenge.

How did prehistoric Britons manage to transport the huge bluestones of Stonehenge over one hundred miles from the Preseli Mountains in Wales to their final home on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire?

In the experiment, which was organised as part of the UCL Festival of Culture 2016, Barney, with a team of volunteers, found that mounting a large stone on a sleigh and dragging it along timbers required far less effort than was expected.

The Institute's Mike Parker-Pearson believes the Stonehenge stones were part of a monument that once stood in Wales which was dismantled and moved to Wiltshire. However even he was amazed at how quickly the stone could be moved.

The Preseli stones from Stonehenge are approximately double the weight of the experimental block, but it is possible that one huge stone could have been brought to Wiltshire by a group of just 20 people.

Barney will now examine the data to assess how long it may have taken to move the monument from Wales to its final home in Wiltshire.

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