For centuries, Stonehenge has existed as one of humanity’s greatest architectural mysteries, evidence of ancient ingenuity and perhaps spiritual or astronomical exploration. There has been much speculation and discovery about the origins of its iconic stone, but the Altar Stone, a unique lying rock within this prehistoric monument, is currently attracting attention, and many years have elapsed regarding its origins. beliefs are being questioned. Recent discoveries suggest that its origins may lie far from where it was previously assumed.
Extensive research into the origins of Stonehenge’s altar stones
A research team led by experts from the School of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University in the UK has uncovered secrets about Stonehenge that rewrite the historical narrative of this ancient wonder.of research paper was just published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
Stonehenge is known worldwide for its unique stone composition and has been the subject of numerous studies. Most of these monoliths trace their origins approximately 220 miles away in the Preseli Hills of Pembrokeshire, Wales. But the altar stone, or Stone 80 as it is commonly called, stands out due to its unique composition.
Traditionally, the altar stone was thought to have come from ancient red sandstone formations in the Senni Formation of west Wales. But new evidence suggests this iconic stone may have come from a quarry further afield.
New test question rules
Recent analysis, including state-of-the-art techniques such as Raman spectroscopy and portable XRF analysis, has revealed that the altar stone is high in barium. This composition is in sharp contrast to Stonehenge’s typical bluestone, which takes on a bluish hue when wet. This evidence strongly suggests that the altar stones may not have originated from paleo-red sandstone formations in the Anglo-Welsh Basin as previously thought. The researchers now believe it may be essential to extend the survey to northern England and consider even younger sandstones.
The local source of the huge sarsen stones used in the construction of Stonehenge is thought to be about 25 miles away, raising the question of the great effort it took to transport these huge stones. I am. This suggests that this site had deep meaning to its ancient builders.
The research team strongly argues that the classification of altar stones as bluestone should be reconsidered. This will sever Stonehenge’s presumed connection with other bluestones and spark a new quest for its original origins.
See more mysteries of Stonehenge
While the search for the stone’s origins continues, less progress has been made on the mystery surrounding its true purpose. Theories range from cemeteries to observatories to solar calendars, all of which are hotly debated.
What is certain is that this new revelation adds another layer to the rich tapestry of stories and theories surrounding Stonehenge, and adds room for further debate.
Top image: Stonehenge altar stone. Source: Pam Brophy / Past the Stones: Stonehenge
Written by Gary Manners