Most detailed analysis yet of prehistoric stone circle shows how masons spent more time making key areas look the best
Like any corner-cutting modern builder, the ancient stonemasons who built Stonehenge
lavished the most work and best materials where they would be first
seen –shining in the last light of the setting winter solstice sun, or
at dawn on the longest day.
The first complete 3D laser scan of
the stone circle has also revealed tool marks made 4,500 years ago,
scores of little axehead graffiti added when the enormous slabs were
already 1,000 years old, and damage and graffiti contributed by Georgian
and Victorian visitors.
The survey, carried out for English Heritage,
exposes numerous details now invisible to the naked eye and will be
used in displays for the long-awaited new visitor centre, due to open
late next year. It shows the stones in unprecedented precision,
from the double-decker bus height sarsens from Salisbury Plain that
give the monument its unmistakable profile, to the smaller bluestones
brought from west Wales by means still hotly debated, and the stumps of
stones that have almost been destroyed.
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