Controversies about Stonehenge are never far away. Here’s another one, as the Daily Telegraph reports.
Stonehenge began life as an impressive Welsh tomb which was dismantled and shipped to Wiltshire, archaeologists now suspect.
Experts have known for some time that the smaller bluestones of the 5000-year-old Neolithic monument were brought 140 miles from the Preseli Mountains in Wales. But the question has always been why?
Why would the English settlers bother to make a lengthy pilgrimage for Welsh stone when they had perfectly good local sandstone quarries nearby – from which they would later cut the imposing ‘sarsen’ stones for Stonehenge.
The answer is that the stones were probably brought by the Welsh themselves, when they decided to relocate to the area, and did not want to leave their ancestors behind.
Professor Mike Parker Pearson at the Institute of Archaeology at University College London believes that Stonehenge began life as a Welsh monument to the dead.
“The Welsh connection isn’t just about stones, it’s likely to be a long term movement from west to east at this particular time,” Prof Parker Pearson told the Hay Festival.
“Why dismantle an original monument? We’re wondering if it actually might have been a tomb with a surrounding stone circle which they dismantled. If that were the case they were basically carting the physical embodiment of their ancestors to re-establish somewhere else.
“Their idea of packing their luggage was rather more deep and meaningful than our own. They are actually moving their heritage, and these stones represent the ancestors. They are actually bringing their ancestors with them.
“The more we find out about Neolithic society, their culture and religion, it is focussed on the ancestral dead. If you build in stone for the dead, that is a society that is worshipping its ancestors.”
Full Daily Telegraph report: Original Stonehenge was dismantled in Wales and moved to Wiltshire, archaeologists believe