Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7f7b94f6bd-l8tfn Total loading time: 0.347 Render date: 2022-06-29T23:54:53.087Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

The original Stonehenge? A dismantled stone circle in the Preseli Hills of west Wales

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 February 2021

Mike Parker Pearson*
Affiliation:
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK
Josh Pollard
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton, UK
Colin Richards
Affiliation:
Archaeology Institute, University of the Highlands & Islands, UK
Kate Welham
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology & Anthropology, Bournemouth University, UK
Timothy Kinnaird
Affiliation:
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of St Andrews, UK
Dave Shaw
Affiliation:
Allen Archaeology Ltd, Lincoln, UK
Ellen Simmons
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield, UK
Adam Stanford
Affiliation:
Aerial-Cam Ltd, Upton upon Severn, UK
Richard Bevins
Affiliation:
Department of Natural Sciences, National Museum of Wales, UK
Rob Ixer
Affiliation:
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK
Clive Ruggles
Affiliation:
School of Archaeology & Ancient History, University of Leicester, UK
Jim Rylatt
Affiliation:
Past Participate CIC, Sheffield, UK
Kevan Edinborough
Affiliation:
Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia
*
* Author for correspondence: ✉ m.parker-pearson@ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

The discovery of a dismantled stone circle—close to Stonehenge's bluestone quarries in west Wales—raises the possibility that a 900-year-old legend about Stonehenge being built from an earlier stone circle contains a grain of truth. Radiocarbon and OSL dating of Waun Mawn indicate construction c. 3000 BC, shortly before the initial construction of Stonehenge. The identical diameters of Waun Mawn and the enclosing ditch of Stonehenge, and their orientations on the midsummer solstice sunrise, suggest that at least part of the Waun Mawn circle was brought from west Wales to Salisbury Plain. This interpretation complements recent isotope work that supports a hypothesis of migration of both people and animals from Wales to Stonehenge.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Antiquity Publications Ltd

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Archaeological Services, Durham University. 2016. Long Meg and her Daughters, Little Salkeld, Cumbria: post-excavation full analysis (Report 4043). Available at https://altogetherarchaeology.org/Reports%20and%20Proposal%20Docs/Long%20Meg/Long%20Meg%20FA%204043.pdf (accessed 18 November 2020).Google Scholar
Atkinson, R.J.C. 1956. Stonehenge. London: Hamilton.Google Scholar
Bevins, R.E., Ixer, R.A. & Pearce, N.G.. 2014. Carn Goedog is the likely major source of Stonehenge doleritic bluestones: evidence based on compatible element geochemistry and principal components analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science 42: 179–93. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2013.11.009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brace, S. et al. 2019. Ancient genomes indicate population replacement in Early Neolithic Britain. Nature: Ecology and Evolution 3: 765–71. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-0871-9Google ScholarPubMed
Bronk Ramsey, C. 2009. Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon dates. Radiocarbon 51: 33760. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033822200033865CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bronk Ramsey, C. 2020. OxCal version 4.4.2. Available at: https://c14.arch.ox.ac.uk (accessed 18 November 2020).Google Scholar
Burl, A. 1976. The stone circles of the British Isles. New Haven (CT): Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Burl, A. 1999. Great stone circles: fables, fictions, facts. New Haven (CT): Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Burl, A. 2006. Stonehenge: a new history of the world's greatest stone circle. London: Constable.Google Scholar
Burrow, S. 2010. Bryn Celli Ddu passage tomb, Anglesey: alignment, construction, date, and ritual. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 76: 249–70. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0079497X00000517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Casswell, C., Comeau, R. & Pearson, M. Parker. 2018. An early medieval cemetery and circular enclosure at Felindre Farchog, north Pembrokeshire. Archaeology in Wales 56: 100106.Google Scholar
Childe, V.G. 1957. The dawn of European civilization (6th edition). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
Darvill, T. & Wainwright, G.J.. 2009. Stonehenge excavations 2008. Antiquaries Journal 89: 119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Darvill, T. & Wainwright, G.J.. 2016. Neolithic and Bronze Age Pembrokeshire, in James, H., John, M., Murphy, K. & Wainwright, G.J. (ed.) Prehistoric, Roman and early medieval Pembrokeshire: Pembrokeshire County history volume I: 55222. Haverfordwest: Pembrokeshire County History Trust.Google Scholar
Darvill, T., Marshall, P., Pearson, M. Parker & Wainwright, G.J.. 2012. Stonehenge remodelled. Antiquity 86: 1021–40. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00048225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davies, W. 1982. Wales in the early middle ages. Leicester: Leicester University Press.Google Scholar
Davies, W. 1990. Patterns of power in early Wales. Oxford: Clarendon.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Evans, J., Pearson, M. Parker, Madgwick, R., Sloane, H. & Albarella, U.. 2019. Strontium and oxygen isotope evidence for the origin and movement of cattle at Late Neolithic Durrington Walls, UK. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 11: 5181–97. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-019-00849-wCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gillings, M. & Pollard, J.. 2004. Avebury. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
Grimes, W.F. 1963. The stone circles and related monuments of Wales, in Foster, I. & Alcock, L. (ed.) Culture and environment: essays in honour of Sir Cyril Fox: 93152. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
Gron, K.J., Rowley-Conwy, P., Fernandez-Dominguez, E., Gröcke, D.R., Montgomery, J., Nowell, G.M. & Patterson, W.P.. 2018. A meeting in the forest: hunters and farmers at the Coneybury ‘anomaly’, Wiltshire. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 84: 111–44. https://doi.org/10.1017/ppr.2018.15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hedges, R.E.M., Clement, J.G., Thomas, C.D.L. & O'Connell, T.C.. 2007. Collagen turnover in the adult femoral mid-shaft: modeled from anthropogenic radiocarbon tracer measurements. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 133: 808–16. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.20598CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ixer, R.A. & Bevins, R.E.. 2011a. The detailed petrography of six orthostats from the Bluestone Circle, Stonehenge. Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine 104: 114.Google Scholar
Ixer, R.A. & Bevins, R.E.. 2011b. Craig Rhos-y-felin, Pont Saeson is the dominant source of the Stonehenge rhyolitic ‘debitage’. Archaeology in Wales 50: 2131.Google Scholar
Ixer, R.A. & Bevins, R.E.. 2016. Volcanic group A debitage: its description and distribution within the Stonehenge landscape. Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine 109: 114.Google Scholar
Ixer, R.A., Bevins, R.E. & Gize, A.P.. 2015. ‘Volcanics with sub-planar texture’ in the Stonehenge landscape. Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine 108: 114.Google Scholar
Ixer, R.A., Turner, P., Molyneux, S. & Bevins, R.E.. 2017. The petrography, geological age and distribution of the Lower Palaeozoic sandstone debitage from the Stonehenge landscape. Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine 110: 116.Google Scholar
Ixer, R.A., Bevins, R.E., Turner, P., Power, M. & Pirie, D.. 2019. Alternative Altar Stones? Carbonate-cemented micaceous sandstones from the Stonehenge landscape. Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine 112: 113.Google Scholar
Parker Pearson, M. 2013. Stonehenge: exploring the greatest Stone Age mystery. London: Simon & Schuster.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Parker Pearson, M. 2019. Stonehenge's bluestones, in Teather, A., Topping, P. & Baczkowski, J. (ed.) Mining and quarrying in Neolithic Europe: a social perspective: 83100. Oxford: Oxbow.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Parker Pearson, M. & Ramilisonina, . 1998. Stonehenge for the ancestors: the stones pass on the message. Antiquity 72: 308–26. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00086592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Parker Pearson, M., Chamberlain, A., Jay, M., Marshall, P., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Thomas, J., Tilley, C. & Welham, K.. 2009. Who was buried at Stonehenge? Antiquity 83: 2339. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00098069CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Parker Pearson, M. et al. 2015a. Craig Rhos-y-felin: a Welsh bluestone megalith quarry for Stonehenge. Antiquity 89: 1331–52. https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2015.177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Parker Pearson, M., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Thomas, J. & Welham, K.. 2015b. Stonehenge: making sense of a prehistoric mystery. York: Council for British Archaeology. https://doi.org/10.11141/AfA2Google Scholar
Parker Pearson, M., Casswell, C. & Welham, K.. 2017. Excavations at Castell Mawr Iron Age hillfort, Pembrokeshire. Archaeologia Cambrensis 166: 141–73.Google Scholar
Parker Pearson, M., Casswell, C. & Welham, K.. 2018. A Late Bronze Age ring-fort at Bayvil Farm, north Pembrokeshire. Archaeologia Cambrensis 167: 113–41.Google Scholar
Parker Pearson, M. et al. 2019. Megalith quarries for Stonehenge's bluestones. Antiquity 93: 4562. https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2018.111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Parker Pearson, M., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Thomas, J., Tilley, C. & Welham, K. (ed.). 2020. Stonehenge for the ancestors. Part 1: landscape and monuments. Leiden: Sidestone.Google Scholar
Piggott, S. 1941. The sources of Geoffrey of Monmouth. II. The Stonehenge story. Antiquity 15: 305–19. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00015842CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pioffet, H. 2017. Societies and identities during the Early Neolithic of Britain and Ireland in their West European context: characterisation and comparative analyses of pottery production between Channel, Irish Sea and North Sea. Past 87: 5 7.Google Scholar
Pitts, M. 2000. Hengeworld. London: Century.Google Scholar
Reimer, P. et al. 2020. The IntCal20 Northern Hemisphere radiocarbon age calibration curve (0–55 cal kBP). Radiocarbon 62: 72557. https://doi.org/10.1017/RDC.2020.41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Richards, C. (ed.). 2013. Building the great stone circles of the north. Oxford: Windgather. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv13gvfvxGoogle Scholar
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. 1925. An inventory of the ancient monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire. Volume VII: County of Pembroke. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
Ruggles, C. 1997. Astronomy and Stonehenge, in Cunliffe, B. & Renfrew, C. (ed.) Science and Stonehenge: 203–29. London: British Academy & Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Smedley, R. 2018. Telling the time with dust, sands and rocks, in Smedley, R. & Wintle, A. (ed.) Luminescence dating: reconstructing Earth's recent history. Elements 14: 9 14.Google Scholar
Snoeck, C. et al. 2018. Strontium isotope analyses on cremated human remains from Stonehenge support links with west Wales. Scientific Reports 8: 10790. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-28969-8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Soffe, G. & Clare, T.. 1988. New evidence of ritual monuments at Long Meg and her Daughters, Cumbria. Antiquity 62: 552–57. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00074706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thomas, C. 1994. And shall these mute stones speak? Post-Roman inscriptions in western Britain. Cardiff: University of Wales.Google Scholar
Thomas, H.H. 1923. The source of the stones of Stonehenge. Antiquaries Journal 3: 239–60. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003581500005096CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

Pearson et al. supplementary material

Pearson et al. supplementary material

Download Pearson et al. supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 458 KB
4
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The original Stonehenge? A dismantled stone circle in the Preseli Hills of west Wales
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

The original Stonehenge? A dismantled stone circle in the Preseli Hills of west Wales
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

The original Stonehenge? A dismantled stone circle in the Preseli Hills of west Wales
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *