Sailors unfold the traditional vogue for monuments like Stonehenge

StonehengeThe origins of megaliths like Stonehenge have been a thriller

Andrew Roland / Alamy Inventory Photograph

Hundreds of historical stone constructions, equivalent to Stonehenge, are discovered all through Europe. Now a long-standing puzzle of the place the practise originated and the way it unfold has been solved.

During the last century there have been two essential views on the origins of the stone constructions, often called megaliths. One was that they began from a single supply then unfold over sea routes. The opposite was that megalith development developed independently in several places.

To search out out which was right, Bettina Schulz Paulsson of the College of Gothenburg, Sweden analysed the dates from over 2000 megaliths in Europe. She used statistical strategies to slim down earlier estimations and get a greater image of the place they constructed and in what order.


Schulz Paulsson discovered that megalith development began in a single location in northwest France over a interval of 200-300 years round 4500 BC. The custom then unfold by Europe spanning 2,000 years alongside the ocean routes of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts, concentrated in coastal areas.

Stone Age Sailors

The sample of how the megaliths unfold over time additionally hints that societies developed subtle sea-faring expertise, far sooner than beforehand thought.

“They had been transferring over the seaway, taking lengthy distance journeys alongside the coasts,” says Schulz Paulsson. This matches with different analysis she has carried out on megalithic artwork in Brittany, which exhibits engravings of many boats, some giant sufficient for a crew of 12.

The earlier view was that giant boats able to travelling lengthy distance had been solely developed within the Bronze Age, some 2000 years later.

Greater than 35,000 megaliths equivalent to stone circles and underground passage graves nonetheless exist all through Europe, from Sardinia to Scandinavia.

“There have been most likely much more. That is only a small proportion of what was initially there within the panorama,” says Schulz Paulsson.

Journal reference: Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences , DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1813268116

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