Origins of Stonehenge's Stones Found, and Holy Crap Did They Travel Far

Remember that time you carried that box home and it was like sooo heavy? Yeah, shut up. The quarry where some of Stonehenge's original rocks came from has been discovered, and the people of 5,000 years ago dragged them 160 miles.

Geologists Robert Ixer of the University of Leicester and Richard Bevins of the National Museum of Wales spent nine months using petrography (the study of mineral content and textural relationships within rocks) and managed to trace one of the original stones back to a rocky outcropping near Pembrokeshire, Wales called Craig Rhos-y-Felin. This isn't one of the more iconic, towering stones (known as sarsens) that were added centuries later, but rather a piece of the inner circle. While not quite monolithic, these stones are still pretty massive and it has reignited debate as to how the stones got there in the first place. Some think they were carried there by glacial shift a long time before humans were on the scene, whereas the wider-held theory is that early man somehow managed to drag them there.

Personally, I choose to believe that humans managed to do it, maybe by building wooden rails with granite spheres as rollers. The 160 miles are particularly treacherous, though, with a chunk of the Preseli Mountains lying in the way. It's possible that it could have gone by sea, but that's a particularly tricky route by today's standards, so a Neolithic boat is even less likely to have made it. Regardless, it's cool to get a little more insight into one of the most mysterious relics of ancient humans... or, y'know... aliens. [The Independent via Wired]

Image credit: Shutterstock/Ndraka