New research suggests that the massive sandstone horseshoe at Stonehenge was erected more than 4,600 years ago, while the smaller bluestones were set up at a later date, challenging the notion that the bluestones were raised first.
“The sequence proposed for the site is really the wrong way around,” said study co-author Timothy Darvill, an archaeologist at Bournemouth University in England. “The original idea that it starts small and gets bigger is wrong. It starts big and stays big. The new scheme puts the big stones at the center at the site as the first stage.”
The new timeline, which relies on statistical methods to tighten the dates when the stones were put into place, overturns the notion that ancient societies spent hundreds of years building each area of Stonehenge. Instead, a few generations likely built each of the major elements of the site, said Robert Ixer, a researcher who discovered the origin of the bluestones, but who was not involved in the study.
Story: Tia Ghose, LiveScience | Photo: Albo, Shutterstock