Uncovering the mystery of Stonehenge

11 August 2017

Stonehenge (Courtesy of Adam Stanford © Aerial-Cam Ltd)

Research by Mike Parker Pearson, who led the Stonehenge Riverside Project from 2003 to 2009, has featured in a recent article for the BBC.

A great deal of research has been undertaken at, and in the environs of, Stonehenge in recent years to try and unravel the origins and function of this most enigmatic of sites. Underground imaging and excavation have revealed that Stonehenge was once part of a complex of many monuments, adding to evidence of highly developed social organisation in this period.

Whatever the monument was used for, Stonehenge wasn’t alone in this landscape and understanding the significance of Stonehenge depends on understanding everything else around it as well.

Mike's research on the Stonehenge Riverside project showed that Stonehenge was built in five stages (the BBC article says two phases but this is incorrect!). The first stage – a ditch, bank and circle of bluestones from Wales – was built shortly after 3000 BC. The larger, iconic outer circle was erected about 500 years later, and there were subsequent modifications of the monument over three more stages.

Mike is now investigating how and where the stones were procured for the building of Stonehenge and has been investigating sources near Avebury and also in the Preseli Hills in Wales where he has excavated quarries, dating to just before 3000 BC, from which bluestones were taken to Salisbury Plain.

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