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Archaeology & History

Did European megaliths inspire Stonehenge ?

By T.K. Randall
February 12, 2019 · Comment icon 10 comments

Where did the idea of building a stone circle come from ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Simon Wakefield
A new study has suggested that European neolithic stone monuments may have first arisen in France.
Stonehenge, which was built around 5,000 years ago in Wiltshire, England, may be the best known megalithic structure of its kind in the world, but it certainly wasn't the first.

Bettina Schulz Paulsson of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden has spent over ten years using radio carbon dating to analyze over 2,000 megalithic structures across Europe.

Her findings have indicated that the first such structures - which arose around 7,000 years ago in the northwest of France - may have ultimately inspired the builders of Stonehenge.
There is also reason to believe that the culture surrounding the construction of these enigmatic neolithic structures was spread throughout Europe via ancient sea routes.

If true, it would mean that the maritime skills and technology of the people of the time were a lot more advanced than had been previously realized.

The idea is also further cemented by the fact that a lot of these structures seemed to have been built in coastal regions - thus implying a maritime influence.

"We have thus been able to demonstrate that the earliest megaliths originated in northwest France and spread along the sea routes of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts in three successive principal phases," Paulsson wrote.

Source: | Comments (10)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by paperdyer 5 years ago
More conjcture/theory. But I'm sure the people of that age had to be more advanced than first thought to be able to make these structures.
Comment icon #2 Posted by bison 5 years ago
The original scientific paper assumes that a surprisingly advanced maritime technology must have existed, in order to spread the megalithic culture throughout the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of Europe. Sailing vessels some 6000 years ago, fit for travel from Brittany to Ireland and Scotland, Sweden and Italy. A heady vision.
Comment icon #3 Posted by godnodog 5 years ago
There must be an error in the article, it states this was done arround 7000 ears ago, the proble is there is a "stonehenge" like structure in Portugal dated for over 6000 B.C, wich would mean it would be  at most arround1000 years older than this. Maybe I am confused, I dont know. The structure is the "Cromeleque dos Almendres", or cromlech of Almendres I dont think its even the older.    
Comment icon #4 Posted by bison 5 years ago
The scientific paper that started this discussion doesn't appear to mention Almendres. It seems that the European megalithic culture is even older than its author supposes. If we use the relative age of the stone monuments as a basis for deciding where the megalithic culture began, a starting point in Portugal will have to be considered. I'd never heard of megalithic structures in Portugal. I wonder if there are others there of a similar age, either already known, or waiting to be turned up. Being as old as this, some may be covered over, collapsed, or plundered for building stones, and so, ... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by Coil 5 years ago
There is a version of why people began to build megaliths and not temples. After the moral fall of Atlantis, its inhabitants hated temples and gold, which in recent times turned into places of worship for lower spirits, so they moved to European continents built outdoors out of stones adhering to simplicity and proximity to nature .
Comment icon #6 Posted by Essan 5 years ago
Except "Atlantis" wasnt invented until long after these stone circles were raised.   May as well ascribe them as devices to protect against the dark arts and attack by Dementors  
Comment icon #7 Posted by godnodog 5 years ago
Honestly I've heard some theories that this type of monuments actually first started here and then spread, but I never took it serious. Portugal is filled with these monuments. If not mistaken the region just north of Algarve is where you can find the most amount of these.  Some speculate that the region where I live now, Peninsula of Setubal, was one of the very last places where Neanderthals lived, not sure if related in any way. The point I am trying to make is that Iberia is one of the oldest human habitats in Europe. For those who know the football club FC Porto, their older stadium, bef... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by Coil 5 years ago
The last part of Atlantis sank 10 thousand years ago, so from the time of the catastrophe and before the appearance of megaliths 6 thousand years ago their origin may be explained (if they did not begin to occur immediately after the resettlement of Atlanteans to European lands). And the fact that France and the United Kingdom are close to water explains that the settlers crossed the ocean and settled on nearby lands and began to build religious pedestals. Among them were not only humans but also the demigods who erected posthumous mounds:
Comment icon #9 Posted by Everdred 5 years ago
Here's the original journal article: If you look at supplementary dataset 1, you'll see that the study includes some 30 megalithic sites just from Alentejo. The fact that this cromlech is not included strongly suggests that it was never subjected to carbon dating. Rather, the dating seems to be relative, where they're putting it into different broad periods (Early Neolithic, Middle Neolithic, etc.). But the dates they're providing for these periods are incorrect (possibly because the monument seems to have been investigated several decades ago). At 6,000... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by godnodog 5 years ago
The oldest neolitic stuff in Portugal date to 6k to 7k years ago, wich would place it arround 4000Bc to 5000BC, so yes afterGreece but not 1,5k to 2k after.

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