For thousands of years, Stonehenge has stood on the downlands of what is now southern England. With its origins and purpose shrouded in mystery, the massive prehistoric monument has long captivated the imagination of mankind.
In his 12th century book “The History of the Kings of Britain,” Welsh cleric Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote that Merlin, the wizard prominently featured in the legend of King Arthur, was enlisted to lead an army to Ireland and transport a ring of gigantic mystical stones, called the Giants’ Dance, to what is commonly believed to be Salisbury Plain, a chalk plateau in the English county of Wiltshire where Stonehenge is located.
Although Geoffrey’s book is a work of pseudo-history, a new discovery raises the possibility that there’s a grain of truth in the 900-year-old tale of Stonehenge’s origins.
A team of archaeologists, led by Mike Parker Pearson of University College London, has unearthed Britain’s third-largest stone circle in the Preseli Hills of western Wales that they believe was dismantled, moved 175 miles to England’s Salisbury Plain and rebuilt as Stonehenge, according to research to be published Friday in Antiquity, a peer-reviewed journal of archaeology.
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