Professor Nash, from the university’s School of Environment and Technology, said: “The origins of the smaller bluestones near the centre of Stonehenge have attracted most attention over the years. These stones have been shown to originate from parts of Wales. However, virtually no work had been done until now on the sources of the larger sarsen megaliths that form the primary architecture of Stonehenge.
“Although we now understand where most of the sarsen megaliths at Stonehenge originated, there remain mysteries to solve. We still don’t know where two of the 52 remaining sarsens at the monument came from. These are upright Stone 26 at the northernmost point of the outer sarsen circle and lintel Stone 160 from the inner trilithon horseshoe. It is possible that these stones were once more local to Stonehenge, but at this stage we do not know.
“We also don’t know the exact areas of West Woods where the sarsens were extracted. Further geochemical testing of sarsens and archaeological investigations to discover extraction pits are needed to answer these questions.”
Professor Nash and colleagues Dr Jake Ciborowski and Dr Georgios Maniatis from the School of Environment and Technology undertook the study as part of a project funded by the British Academy and the grant-making foundation the Leverhulme Trust. Partners in the project included Susan Greaney (English Heritage), Katy Whitaker (Historic England), Professor Timothy Darvill (Bournemouth University) and Professor Mike Parker Pearson (University College London).
Click here to read the full Science Advances paper.