Comedian Eddie Izzard has a fantastic bit about Stonehenge. The famous monument - located in Wiltshire, England - is partially made from Welsh stones hewn about 200 miles away away. The Welsh stone masons, he jokes, must have been snowed into dragging the two ton rocks by sneaky druids.
"Two hundred miles in this day and age?" he exclaims, exasperated. "I don't even know where I live now!"
But now researchers have a more reasonable - albeit still rather fantastic - theory as to why the stones come from so far away: Stonehenge was actually built in Wales, and sat there for hundreds of years before being moved.
Radiocarbon dating of remnants from campfires indicates that the sites were mined around 3200 and 3400 BC. But the rocks didn't make it to Stonehenge until 2900 BC.
“It could have taken those Neolithic stone-draggers nearly 500 years to get them to Stonehenge, but that’s pretty improbable in my view," UCL professor Parker Pearson said in a statement. "It’s more likely that the stones were first used in a local monument, somewhere near the quarries, that was then dismantled and dragged off to Wiltshire.”
The researchers suspect that the original monument may have sat between the quarries and the final location of Stonehenge.
“We’ve been conducting geophysical surveys, trial excavations and aerial photographic analysis throughout the area and we think we have the most likely spot," Bournemouth University's Kate Welham said in a statement. "The results are very promising – we may find something big in 2016.”