Created by a people who left no written records, the monument is shrouded in mystery and the questions of how and why it was built remain unanswered and are the subject of endless debate and fascination. What is known for sure, however, is that Stonehenge is very, very old. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first stage of the monument — the circular earth bank and ditch that surrounds the stones — was constructed in about BC, while the first stones were raised at the site between and BC. Over the next few hundred years, the stones were rearranged and new ones added, with the formation we know today being created between and BC. Farm carts are seen travelling past Stonehenge in this photo from about Two concentric circles of pits surrounding the stone formation are believed to have been built in around BC. It is not clear why these holes were built but it may have been for a rearrangement of the stones that was never completed. The questions of who exactly built Stonehenge and why remain a mystery today despite extensive research on the monument.


Thank you for visiting nature. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer. In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript. Cremated human remains from Stonehenge provide direct evidence on the life of those few select individuals buried at this iconic Neolithic monument.

Radiocarbon and other scientific dating methods rarely give the only information available on the chronology of a site. The Bayesian method allows other.

Stonehenge 16 kilometers north of Salisbury, kilometers west of London is the famous group of year old standing stones. Believed to have been a calendar, or possibly a religious center, it consists of rocks organized into two main circles and two horseshoes, that were in turn are surrounded by a circular mound of earth feet in diameter. A henge refers to a particular type of earthwork of the Neolithic period, typically consisting of a roughly circular or oval-shaped bank with an internal ditch surrounding a central flat area of more than 20 meters in diameter.

Henges of various types are found throughout Britain and include the Standing Stones o’ Stenness on the northern island of Orkney and the Maumbury Rings in southern England county of Dorset. The Stonehenge that is visible today is thought to have been completed about 3, years ago, although the first earthwork henge is thought to date back to B. The builders affixed the stones with mortise and tenon hole and peg fasteners and used digging tools made from sharped bones and antlers taken from slaughtered animals.

Dating cremated bone fragments of men, women and children found at site puts origin of first circle to around 3, B. In its day Stonehenge was at the center of the largest ceremonial center in Europe. The belief that the structure was a calendar or some kind of astronomical observatory is based on the fact that one stone is aligned with summer solstice and others appear to predict solar and lunar eclipses and line up with the sun’s position on other important solar days.

Yet other stones are oriented toward cycles of the moon, the four station stones seemed to be lined up with the extremes of the midsummer moonrise. During the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, when the sun’s reaches it highest point in the sky, sunlight passes directly over a pointer rock outside the stone circle and sunbeams shine straight down a track called The Avenue onto the “altar stone” in the center.

Stonehenge was dating by examining a ditch that encircles the stones and is regarded as one of the oldest places at the site. Antlers in the ditch were dated using Carbon 14 to be 5, years old. Archaeologists say Stonhedge probably wasn’t constructed or used for religious ceremonies.

Strontium isotope analysis on cremated human remains from Stonehenge support links with west Wales

Archaeologists surveying an area near England’s famous Stonehenge have found what could be one of the largest prehistoric sites known to exist in the country. The discovery consists of 20 underground pits built in a 1. Each is a deep, wide shaft measuring up to 15 feet down and 30 feet across.

Belgian archaeologist discloses mysteries of Stonehenge the Stonehenge research, which combined radiocarbon-dating with new developments The techniques used on the Stonehenge project could be used, he hopes.

Stonehenge has been the subject of many theories about its origin, ranging from the academic worlds of archaeology to explanations from mythology and the paranormal. Many early historians were influenced by supernatural folktales in their explanations. Some legends held that Merlin had a giant build the structure for him or that he had magically transported it from Mount Killaraus in Ireland , while others held the Devil responsible.

Henry of Huntingdon was the first to write of the monument around AD soon followed by Geoffrey of Monmouth who was the first to record fanciful associations with Merlin which led the monument to be incorporated into the wider cycle of European medieval romance. According to Geoffrey’s Historia Regum Britanniae , when asked what might serve as an appropriate burial place for Britain’s dead princes, Merlin advised King Aurelius Ambrosius to raise an army and collect some magical stones from Mount Killarus in Ireland.

Whilst at Mount Killarus, Merlin laughed at the soldiers’ failed attempts to remove the stones using ladders, ropes, and other machinery. Shortly thereafter, Merlin oversaw the removal of stones using his own machinery and commanded they be loaded onto the soldiers’ ships and sailed back to England where they were reconstructed into Stonehenge.

How Stonehenge Worked

Discovery likely to rekindle debate over how builders moved stones miles from Wales to Salisbury Plain. Archaeologists have discovered the long-lost prehistoric tools used to quarry the original standing stones from the earliest stone-built phase of Stonehenge. Excavations in an ancient quarry in southwest Wales have so far yielded 15 sandstone wedges that were used to break off natural stone columns from the bedrock.

They also discovered V-shaped slots in two columns that had been earmarked for use — but never removed. All the tools appear to have been made elsewhere from stones that could not have been found in or around the quarry itself.

Stonehenge dating methods. Fossil? Discussion by the mystery of dating, you, but not easy., due diligence, radiocarbon dating and the development of the site​.

Wessex Archaeology can provide specialist advice on the full range of scientific dating methods applicable to archaeology, and commission these services for our clients via our relationship with a number of market-leading specialist laboratories. Whilst radiocarbon dating is the most frequently applied method and is discussed in more detail below, other dating services we can offer include:.

We are market leaders in the application of radiocarbon dating for commercial purposes, and have been at the forefront of introducing new statistical methods known as Bayesian techniques to produce more precise chronologies. This has led notably to the re-dating of Stonehenge. By applying rigorous standards to sample identification and selection, combined with our unique relationship with many of the leading radiocarbon laboratories, we ensure high quality results, good value, reliability and rapid delivery for our clients.

We have a large team of in-house scientific-dating experts and a network of approved external specialists. They are expert users of OxCal and other scientific dating programmes. Scientific Dating Wessex Archaeology can provide specialist advice on the full range of scientific dating methods applicable to archaeology, and commission these services for our clients.

Principal Geoarchaeologist Andrew Shaw. More team members More services. Advice on all aspects of dating Selection and identification of sample material. Co-ordinating dating specialists Bayesian modelling and interpretation.

Stonehenge carbon dating

The ancient megalithic monument of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, southern England, Dec. The famed bluestone megaliths at Stonehenge — a prehistoric site in the United Kingdom that has fascinated and intrigued tourists and archaeologists through the ages — have been dated back to the turn of the 4th millennium before our Common Era, or some 5, years ago, a study published Tuesday said. The research, led by a team from University College London and published in the prestigious journal Antiquity, drew on data collected over eight years from digs at two quarries in Wales that were known to have been the distant source of the stones erected at Stonehenge.

According to Pearson, every other Neolithic monument in Europe was built using megaliths brought from no more than 10 miles 16 kilometers away.

Stonehenge is undoubtedly the UK’s most famous prehistoric landmark. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first stage of the monument – the some distance using conventional methods of the time (though no one has.

All rights reserved. Stonehenge in southern England ranks among the world’s most iconic archaeological sites and one of its greatest enigmas. The megalithic circle on Salisbury Plain inspires awe and fascination—but also intense debate some 4, years after it was built by ancient Britons who left no written record. The monument’s mysterious past has spawned countless tales and theories. According to folklore, Stonehenge was created by Merlin, the wizard of Arthurian legend, who magically transported the massive stones from Ireland, where giants had assembled them.

Another legend says invading Danes put the stones up, and another theory says they were the ruins of a Roman temple. Modern-day interpretations are no less colorful: some argue that Stonehenge is a spacecraft landing area for aliens, and even more say it’s a giant fertility symbol in the shape of female genitalia. Archaeological investigation of the site dates back to the s, when it was first surveyed by antiquarian John Aubrey.

Aubrey wrongly credited Stonehenge to the much later Celts, believing it to be a religious center presided over by Druid priests. Centuries of fieldwork since show the monument was more than a millennium in the making, starting out 5, years ago as a circular earthen bank and ditch.

Stonehenge: Facts & Theories About Mysterious Monument

A host of previously unknown archaeological monuments have been discovered around Stonehenge as part of an unprecedented digital mapping project that will transform our knowledge of this iconic landscape – including remarkable new findings on the world’s largest ‘ super henge ‘, Durrington Walls. Recent fieldwork and analysis have revealed evidence for 20 or more massive, prehistoric shafts, measuring more than 10 metres in diameter and 5 metres deep. The remains of a major new prehistoric stone monument have been discovered less than 3 kilometres from Stonehenge.

Using cutting edge, multi-sensor technologies the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project has revealed evidence for a large stone monument hidden beneath the bank of the later Durrington Walls ‘super-henge’.

Stonehenge, durrington walls, few different stages, by quite a settlement occupied between 18bc, radiocarbon dating methods. Once this time.

The druids arrived around 4 p. Under a warm afternoon sun, the group of eight walked slowly to the beat of a single drum, from the visitors entrance toward the looming, majestic stone monument. With the pounding of the drum growing louder, the retinue approached the outer circle of massive stone trilithons—each made up of two huge pillars capped by a stone lintel—and passed through them to the inner circle.

Here they were greeted by Timothy Darvill, now 51, professor of archaeology at Bournemouth University, and Geoffrey Wainwright, now 72, president of the Society of Antiquaries of London. For two weeks, the pair had been leading the first excavation in 44 years of the inner circle of Stonehenge—the best-known and most mysterious megalithic monument in the world.

Now it was time to refill the pit they had dug. The Druids had come to offer their blessings, as they had done 14 days earlier before the first shovel went into the ground.

Trying to date Avebury with the help of Stonehenge

Stonehenge , prehistoric stone circle monument, cemetery, and archaeological site located on Salisbury Plain , about 8 miles 13 km north of Salisbury , Wiltshire , England. It was built in six stages between and bce , during the transition from the Neolithic Period New Stone Age to the Bronze Age. As a prehistoric stone circle, it is unique because of its artificially shaped sarsen stones blocks of Cenozoic silcrete , arranged in post-and-lintel formation, and because of the remote origin of its smaller bluestones igneous and other rocks from — miles — km away, in South Wales.

Stonehenge has long been the subject of historical speculation, and ideas about the meaning and significance of the structure continued to develop in the 21st century.

Dating Stonehenge, in Lockyer, K., Sly, T.J.T. & Mihïailescu-Bîrliba, V. (ed.) CAA computer applications and quantitative methods in archaeology (British.

Eight miles 13 kilometers north of Salisbury in Wiltshire, England, U. It’s an ancient monument that was of great significance to the people who erected it. Unfortunately, we don’t know what that significance was, nor do we know much about the prehistoric people who built it. The mystery of Stonehenge has intrigued us for centuries, but until the 20th century, we didn’t even know how old the whole thing was.

But every visitor knows the obvious: The society responsible for it went to a lot of trouble to put it up. It clearly required planning, organization, cooperation and manpower.


Radiocarbon dating can easily establish that humans have been on the earth for over twenty thousand years, at least twice as long as creationists are willing to allow. Therefore it should come as no surprise that creationists at the Institute for Creation Research ICR have been trying desperately to discredit this method for years. They have their work cut out for them, however, because radiocarbon C dating is one of the most reliable of all the radiometric dating methods.

This article will answer several of the most common creationist attacks on carbon dating, using the question-answer format that has proved so useful to lecturers and debaters.

archaeological problems which have been raised by the Stonehenge dating Radiocarbon and other scientific dating methods rarely give the only information.

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At least part of the mystery of Stonehenge may have now been solved: It was from the beginning a monument to the dead. New radiocarbon dates from human cremation burials among and around the brooding stones on Salisbury Plain in England indicate that the site was used as a cemetery from B. What appeared to be the head of a stone mace, a symbol of authority, was found in one grave, the archaeologists said, indicating that this was probably a cemetery for the ruling dynasty responsible for erecting Stonehenge.

Some scholars have contended that the enigmatic stones, surrounded by a ditch and earthen banks in concentric circles, more than likely marked a sacred place of healing. The idea is at least as old as medieval literature, which also includes stories of Stonehenge as a memorial to the dead.

Dating cremated bone fragments of men, women and children found at site puts origin of first circle back years to BC.

Following a detailed laser scan of Stonehenge last year, an analysis has just been published by English Heritage. It reveals many more axe carvings and much new information on how the stones were shaped. The analysis found 71 new axehead carvings, increasing the number known at Stonehenge to This is around a years after the big sarsen stone circle was erected. Contrary to press reports, Stonehenge was not a huge art gallery – these carvings are found only on four stones.

The scanning has also revealed incredible detail on how the stones were shaped. Some were “pecked” with stone mauls in horizontal lines, others with vertical lines. The study, just published online by English Heritage and free to download, also provides information on how much damage has been caused by souvenir hunters chipping off bits of stone, or by visitors carving graffiti – including Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of 17th century London!

Download the full report here:.

How Does Radiocarbon Dating Work? – Instant Egghead #28