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Stonehenge mystery SOLVED? Older monoliths ‘inspired’ Stonehenge circle

Stonehenge, with its iconic concentric ring of standing stones, is one of the wonders of the world and Europe’s iconic prehistoric monument. Almost nothing was known about who erected the stone slabs on Salisbury Plain and why they took such pains to do so – until now. For a landmark new study suggests it an ancient culture from overseas was in fact responsible for Stonehenge’s standing stones.

A race of early man from what is today known as the Brittany region of northwest France most probably begun building Stonehenge’s structure some 7,000 years ago.

This demonstrates absolutely that Brittany is the origin of the European megalithic phenomenon

Professor Michael Parker Pearson

Study author Dr Bettina Schulz Paulsson of Sweden’s University of Gothenburg believes the megalith building began in France and spread from there via sea routes around Europe over the next millennia.

Over an exhausting 10 years, Dr Paulson created a “megalith evolution” using radiocarbon dating of more than 2,000 historic sites across Europe.

She revealed: ”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.”

So although this group of ancient people may not have built Stonehenge, they probably inspired those people who did go on to build it.

And if this is the case, then the maritime skills, trade and culture will have been far more advanced than previously thought.

Stonehenge is among the most recent megaliths constructed, likely around 2,500 B.C.

This latest research contradicts earlier theories suggesting Stonehenge could have originated in the Near East or even possibly independently.

Michael Parker Pearson, a University College London archaeologist and Stonehenge specialist said: ”This demonstrates absolutely that Brittany is the origin of the European megalithic phenomenon.”

And an unrelated study supports the core of this theory, but believes those who built Stonehenge had travelled from an area near modern Turkey.

This group arriving around 4,000BC, and who rapidly replaced local hunter-gatherer populations, according to the conflicting research.

The team examined DNA from scores of Neolithic farmer skeletons dating from 6,000 to 4,500 years ago and other Mesolithic hunter-gatherer skeletons from the preceding period.

Dr Tom Booth, of the Natural History Museum said: “We looked at the genetic ancestry of human remains from both before and after 6,000 years ago – so some dating to the Mesolithic and some to the Neolithic – to see if we can characterise any changes.

“As soon as these Neolithic cultures start to arrive, we see a big change in the ancestry of the British population. It looks like the development of farming and these Neolithic cultures was mainly driven by the migration of people from mainland Europe.”

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