If the "shafts" are circular, 10 metres diameter, and 5 metres uniform depth, and there are 20 of them, that is 7,853 cubic metres of earth and rock excavated by hand with non-metallic tools, transported and disposed of somewhere. Neolithic tools means shoulder blades of oxen, wicker baskets, digging sticks, and possibly wooden shovels. That's a huge undertaking.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-england-wiltshire-53132567
Archaeologists have discovered a ring of prehistoric shafts, dug thousands of years ago near Stonehenge.
Fieldwork has revealed evidence of a 1.2 mile (2km) wide circle of large shafts measuring more than 10m in diameter and 5m in depth.
They surround the ancient settlement of Durrington Walls, two miles (3km) from Stonehenge.
Tests suggest the ground works are Neolithic and were excavated more than 4,500 years ago.
Experts believe the 20 or more shafts may have served as a boundary to a sacred area connected to the henge.
They then analysed sarsens from 20 sites across southern England including Mutter’s Moor in Devon and Valley of the Stones in Dorset, comparing their composition with the chemistry of the chips. Nash said they were surprised that stones from West Woods, which in the time of Stonehenge was probably treeless open high ground, turned out to be an exact match.
While it is thought the smaller bluestones were sourced from Pembrokeshire because the builders of Stonehenge had some sort of sacred connection with the landscape there, it may be that the West Woods site was chosen for – relative – convenience.
Greaney said: “When sourcing the sarsens, the overriding objective seems to be size – they wanted the biggest, most substantial stones they could find and it made sense to get them from as nearby as possible.”
Another puzzle is why two of the 52 stones appear not to be from West Woods. One possibility is that they are the work of different builder communities who chose to source their materials from a separate area.
Because they have pinpointed the source with a much greater degree of accuracy than before, due to a core sample taken in the 1950s, when invasive procedures were still allowed, being returned a couple of years ago; a fascinating story in itself.Odd that four weeks before this latest "discovery" the Times reported (Ramonmercado's 2 July post above):
The provenance of Stonehenge has been debated for centuries. The source of the large grey-green stones — the so-called “sarsens” — that form the most visible part of the monument is no mystery. They come from the local area of southern Wiltshire.
And that indeed is what I'm sure I was taught at school 40+ years ago, and I'm also sure I saw either a BBC or C4 documentary 20+ years ago which visited the area where they came from, not far from Stonehenge, and showed various unused sarsens lying around on the ground at that location.
So why all the excitement?