Archaeology

Stonehenge mystery offered clue by Welsh burial chamber

 

Stongehenge : Image Source : Wiki Commons

Archaeologists are researching the grave of an important figure they believe may have played a crucial role in the construction of Stonehenge.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Stonehenge mystery offered clue by Welsh burial chamber” was written by Steven Morris, for guardian.co.uk on Thursday 1st September 2011 12.11 UTC

The burial chamber is sited above a ceremonial stone circle in the Preseli hills in west Wales, where it is believed bluestone was quarried before being taken to Stonehenge.

     

More research will be done to establish if the important person buried there played a role in the moving of bluestone 190 miles from west Wales to the Wiltshire monument.

The find has been made by professors Tim Darvill and Geoffrey Wainwright, who have spent the last 10 years trying to establish how and why the bluestones – or spotted dolerite – were transported from the Preseli hills to Stonehenge.

In 2008, following the first excavation at Stonehenge in more than 40 years, the professors said they had established that the bluestones – the size of a man or smaller – arrived at Stonehenge about 4,500 years ago.

Their hypothesis was that the bluestones – rather than the much larger sarsen stones that give Stonehenge its familiar shape – were the real draw because they were believed to have healing powers.

Wainwright said: “We went back to the Preselis and started doing excavations up there. The first site we explored was a big burial cairn in the

shadow of Carn Menyn, where the Stonehenge bluestones come from.”

The team found a circle underneath the cairn built of bluestone, the same material taken to Stonehenge, and work is being carried out to date this. But Wainwright said he would be surprised if the circle had not been created at about the same time that the bluestones were taken to Stonehenge, strengthening the link between west Wales and Stonehenge in the theory.

“Then this stone circle was covered with the huge burial cairn with a chamber in the middle. The space turned from a public ceremonial space defined by the stone circle into the burial spot of a very important person.”

Wainwright said it was a “jump” to claim the person buried there was an architect of Stonehenge. “It’s a hypothesis but it could well be true. There is certainly something very significant about the grave.”

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