Posted on April 30, 2019 by Rick Spilman
For centuries, ancient megalithic monuments, such as Stonehenge, existing all across Europe, have been abiding mysteries. Who built them, how and why?
A new study by Bettina Schulz Paulsson of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden may have at least one of the answers. Who built the monuments? She concludes that sailors spread the practice of building megalith monuments.
Her analysis suggests that megalith building started from a single source, in northwest France over a period of 200-300 years around 4500 BC. The tradition then spread through Europe spanning 2,000 years along the sea routes of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts, concentrated in coastal regions. The megaliths appear to have spread by societies which developed sophisticated sea-faring technology, far earlier than previously thought.
New Scientist quotes Schulz Paulsson, “They were moving over the seaway, taking long-distance journeys along the coasts.” This fits with other research she has carried out on megalithic art in Brittany, which shows engravings of many boats, some large enough for a crew of 12. The previous view was that large boats capable of traveling long distance were only developed in the Bronze Age, some 2000 years later.
Where did these ancient seafarers originally come from? One other recent study analyzed DNA from Neolithic Britons from around the time of the construction of Stonehenge and concluded that they traveled by sea via the Mediterranean from Anatolia around 4,000 BC.
Thanks to Roberta Weisbrod for contributing to this post.