Sometime around 3,300 BC, Neolithic people in the Preseli Hills of Pembrokeshire, Wales, erected a circle of bluestone monoliths, mined from a nearby quarry. They buried them upright to align with the midsummer solstice sunrise at a site known as Waun Mawn, in a configuration much like that of the better-known Stonehenge, some 150 miles (240 km) away.
Now, researchers think that the descendants of those builders may have dismantled parts of the Waun Mawn monument and used the stones in the construction of Stonehenge several centuries later -- possibly when the inhabitants of the Preseli region migrated south to present-day Wiltshire, England, and took the bluestones with them as a reminder of their ancestral identity.
Exploring the mystery of Stonehenge:
- Archaeologists say this theory could explain why the bluestones, thought to be the first monoliths erected at Stonehenge, were brought from so far away. Most stone circles were constructed a short distance from their quarries.
- A series of stone-holes in the Waun Mawn circle’s 360-foot (110-m) outline matches Stonehenge’s construction. One bears an imprint that matches the unusual cross-section of a Stonehenge bluestone “like a key in a lock,” the archaeologists said.
- The link may give some credence to an ancient myth in which the wizard Merlin led men into Ireland to capture a stone circle called the Giants’ Dance and rebuilt it in England. The Waun Mawn circle would have been considered part of Ireland back then.