It’s one of the most famous mysteries of all time: Stonehenge, the ring of huge, mysterious stones located in Wiltshire, England. One of the most burning questions about Stonehenge, aside from asking, “How’d it get built?” is the question, “Who built Stonehenge?” Well, as revealed by Scientific Reports, UK archaeologists have new information about the identities of the builders, who constructed the monoliths over 5,000 years ago.
In order to identify where the builders came from, archaeologists used a technique called “strontium isotope analysis.” Due to the fact that plants pick up certain alkaline earth metals in the bedrock of the land they are grown in, those metals slowly end up in the teeth and bones of the animal that consumes it. By analyzing certain information in skeletal remains, scientists can figure out where a person got most of their food and most likely lived. The remains of those buried at Stonehenge were cremated, which luckily doesn’t affect scientists’ ability to analyze the necessary chemicals.
Stonehenge cremations shed light on where mysterious monument builders came from https://t.co/HVVoq6pQFc— Colette Derworiz (@cderworiz) August 3, 2018
VIDEO: Research sheds new light on the enigmatic builders of the 5,000 year-old Stonehenge monument in southern England, suggesting they came from as far afield as Wales pic.twitter.com/6n7PfF6i30— AFP News Agency (@AFP) August 4, 2018
Latest scientific research into builders of #Stonehenge confirms the truth of one of our oldest legends. No surprise, of course, it's the intimate connection between indigenous people and their land.https://t.co/kAqhDjYIcx— Nick Griffin (@NickGriffinBU) August 3, 2018
After going through the remains of 25 people buried within the stone circle, University of Oxford researchers were able to figure out where they had spent most of their lives. Predictably, many of them lived in the nearby area of Wessex. However, 10 of the people seemed to have come from west Wales, at least 124 miles away. Since Stonehenge was built in 3,000 BCE, that’s pretty strange.
To make matters even more interesting, it seems that the non-local people were from the Preseli Hills in west Wales, the source of the henge’s bluestones, which are the smaller stones in the inner circle of the site, as opposed to the iconic large standing stones.
The team analysed skull bones from 25 individuals to better understand the lives of those buried at the iconic monument. https://t.co/A9wHFevC95— The Hindu (@the_hindu) August 6, 2018
The bluestone link indicates the non-local people supplied the stones from their west-Wales quarry. They also traveled with the stones to what is now Wiltshire and were later buried there, too. Yet it still remains a mystery as to what provoked two far-away groups of people to shape a centuries-long bond revolving around a monument in the first place.
“The question of why the west Wales–Wessex connection is a very intriguing one,” said lead study author Rick Schulting, Associate Professor of Scientific Archaeology at Oxford. “It is hard to identify any particular reason these two places should have been connected. There is no evidence for any other strong connection in terms of trade. There is perhaps a sense that Stonehenge was built to bring these two communities together. This is speculative, but it might have come down to personal or familial relationships that somehow developed between the two regions.”
It's a good question and something we'll never know the answer to but there is a school of thought that suggests these Neolithic builders did it BECAUSE it was so difficult. Perhaps, to show community cohesion or tribal strength.— Stonehenge (@EH_Stonehenge) July 16, 2018
Also, when one Twitter use mused about the motivation behind moving such large and heavy objects over a hundred miles, the Stonehenge official Twitter account, which is managed by English Heritage, a registered charity that manages England’s historic National Heritage Collection, replied that perhaps it was done as a feat of strength to show “community cohesion or tribal strength.”
So yet another theory that Stonehenge was built to create some kind of unity or bond between groups of people; however, we can’t know for sure unless archaeologists discover more compelling evidence about the inspiration for the monument. Why do you think Stonehenge was built? Let us know in the comments down below!