Salisbury Plain a Second Home for Stonehenge: Archaeologists

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February 13, 2021

Building on evidence announced in recent years, archaeologists now say that Stonehenge was first built in Wales and then dismantled and moved to its current location, on the Salisbury Plain.


University College London archaeologists have found the remains of an older stone circle in Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, Wales. That circle is the same diameter as Stonehenge–361 feet–and the scientists found that a blue stone that is part of Stonehenge would fit in a hole at the Welsh site, known as Waun Mawn. The indentation of other holes provided evidence that the Welsh site, like Stonehenge, would have had stones configured to accommodate the shining of the Sun on the day of the summer solstice.

Four stones remain at the Waun Mawn site. The Salisbury Plain location is 180 miles away. Archaeology team leader Michael Parker Pearson said in 2019 that the bluestones, the earliest of the large stones at the famous Stonehenge, came from Carn Geodog and Craig Rhos-y-felin, two quarries in the Preseli hills, in Pembrokeshire. Chemical testing at Stonehenge found matches to the areas around the quarries. As well, Stonehenge the ancient Britons excavated the quarries about 3000 B.C. and then transported the giant stones to their current location using human-powered wooden sleds. Using ropes and simple tools, the ancient people would have had a somewhat easy time of it because the bluestones were not buried inside larger areas of rock.

The bluestones are one of two types of stones at Stonehenge. The other, larger ones are called sarsen stones. Scientists in 2020 discovered that those stones were not native to the site, either, but came from much closer. In fact, the scientists found, the sarsen stones came from near what is now Marlborough, just 15 miles away.

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