Sonic Stonehenge rocks from Pembrokeshire’s Preseli hills
What was so special about the bluestones of Preseli that Stone Age man decided to haul them all the way from Pembrokeshire to Wiltshire? It’s only in recent years that experts have confirmed that rocks from the Preseli Hills helped build Stonehenge.
Their source has in fact been identified to within 70m of Craig Rhos-y-Felin in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, near the coastal village of Newport and Pentre Ifan Burial Chamber in Pembrokeshire and West Wales.
It’s fascinating in itself that Stonehenge is still such a draw for study and research 4000-5000 years after it was built. While it’s been believed since the 1920s that stones were hauled the 200 miles from Pembrokeshire, no-one has really known why. Studies now claim that the giant bluestone rocks may have been chosen for their acoustic properties and that the sound they produce may have been a reason for their selection.
Researchers from the Royal College of Art in London wanted to record what people of the Stone Age would have heard and seen in a prehistoric landscape. Thousands of stones were tested in the Preselis and a high proportion of them were found to ‘ring’ when struck. The principal investigator on the Landscape and Perception Project said that the stones on Carn Menyn ridge ring just like a bell, that there are so many different tones you could play a tune. And this might explain why they were selected for Stonehenge.
Ringing rocks are a significant part of many ancient cultures, so it could well be that creating a gigantic pre-historic glockenspiel was a reason for their transportation. Will we ever know?