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The original Stonehenge? A dismantled stone circle in the Preseli Hills of west Wales

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 February 2021

Mike Parker Pearson*
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK
Josh Pollard
Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton, UK
Colin Richards
Archaeology Institute, University of the Highlands & Islands, UK
Kate Welham
Department of Archaeology & Anthropology, Bournemouth University, UK
Timothy Kinnaird
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of St Andrews, UK
Dave Shaw
Allen Archaeology Ltd, Lincoln, UK
Ellen Simmons
Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield, UK
Adam Stanford
Aerial-Cam Ltd, Upton upon Severn, UK
Richard Bevins
Department of Natural Sciences, National Museum of Wales, UK
Rob Ixer
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK
Clive Ruggles
School of Archaeology & Ancient History, University of Leicester, UK
Jim Rylatt
Past Participate CIC, Sheffield, UK
Kevan Edinborough
Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia
* Author for correspondence: ✉


The discovery of a dismantled stone circle—close to Stonehenge's bluestone quarries in west Wales—raises the possibility that a 900-year-old legend about Stonehenge being built from an earlier stone circle contains a grain of truth. Radiocarbon and OSL dating of Waun Mawn indicate construction c. 3000 BC, shortly before the initial construction of Stonehenge. The identical diameters of Waun Mawn and the enclosing ditch of Stonehenge, and their orientations on the midsummer solstice sunrise, suggest that at least part of the Waun Mawn circle was brought from west Wales to Salisbury Plain. This interpretation complements recent isotope work that supports a hypothesis of migration of both people and animals from Wales to Stonehenge.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Antiquity Publications Ltd

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