Waun Mawn: the Welsh origin of the Stonehenge stones


Despite being in a ringed archaeological complex of more than two kilometers, Stonehenge is one of the best-known megalithic complexes in the world. Located in the county of Wiltshire, for a long time, especially due to medieval legends, it was associated with the Celtic cult and it was believed that this town had built it; Regardless of whether they could have used it, research has placed its construction at some point between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age (3000-2000 BC). However, an investigation that began in the first decade of the 2000s at the Waun Mawn site, in Wales, has obtained results and notable repercussions at an academic and cultural level today, twenty-one years later: they have discovered that Waun Mawn ( 5000 BC) is, neither more nor less, the place where some of the gigantic rocks that make up the current Stonehenge were, before being transported to their current position.

At the Waun Mawn site there is a circle of exactly 110 meters in diameter, identical to that of Stonehenge and the holes in the stones are located somewhat irregularly, but in almost the same positions, aligning with the sun on the solstice of identical way. What's more, there is one of the specific stones of Stonehenge that has an unmistakable transversal mark, whose trace has been marked in the footprint of the place where it would go in the Welsh site. Although this does not mean that all the stones were transported and relocated, the vast majority were, since they keep a characteristic of their region: they are blue stones or bluestones (a way of calling non-native stones), originating from quarries. Welsh, something that always gave archaeologists pause when examining the rest of Wiltshire's megalithic monuments, made with native materials.

Everything points to it, given the concentration of megalithic monuments and archaeological remains. However, why did they abandon the site around 3000 and move that particular building? It is still unknown if they were climatic or social issues, what is known is that Stonehenge was a good substitute, a considerable ground also sacred. The transport of the megaliths divides the experts, who think that perhaps they used the Avon River for their transfer, since both sites are more than 280 kilometers apart. In the mouth of Parker Pearson, a writer and professor at University College London, the stones were their ancestral identities. The arduous task of transporting them would not make sense if it were not for the fact that the community would not be itself without them. One might think that those that did not belong to Waun Mawn, but to other sites.

Coincidentally, there is an Arthurian legend, written by Godfrey of Monmouth (1100-1155), in which Aurelius Ambrosius, Romano-British leader of the S.V, -who would later be presented as Arthur's uncle-, decides to raise a monument worthy of the knights British fallen in battle against the Saxons. It will be the magician Merlin who builds the Stonehenge monument, transporting with his magic a set of stones called Cathoir Ghall in Gaelic or Chorea Gigantum in Latin, the Dance of the Giants, from the mountains of Ireland. Although it is not known what concrete value ancient man would place on bluestones, folklore tells us that these stones have great healing abilities, and in fact, it is one of the characteristics described by Monmouth, who says that the giants poured water on those stones to endow it with healing powers.

The remains found at Stonehenge seemed to indicate that in the past individuals came there from far away locations, and the animal remains revealed possible community celebrations with banquets, as well as burials for people considered to be of a social elite. Pearson and Magdwick consider that Stonehenge could have been a sacred but "neutral" place at the population level, open to worship, given the aforementioned gatherings and the diverse origin of the deceased. And precisely because of the importance of these burials, they consider that the stones could have been taken by ancestors, or by their carriers.

Given the importance of Stonehenge in the spiritual world, in druidism and neopaganism, it seemed necessary not to miss the opportunity to introduce this news in ABRA. There are many types of magic, some are ritual, some spiritual, some historical, and some mysterious. The fascinating astronomical geometry of these megalithic crowns draws much attention to their ritual character, and to this day Stonehenge continues to be an important meeting point for archaeologists, hobbyists, and neo-pagans from around the world. Despite all the discoveries that are being made, the conservation, enclave and romantic image of Stonehenge will prevail over many others, but it is worth it, both as a historian, as a tourist, or in a spiritual way, to approach the more than 35,000 existing megalithic enclaves throughout Europe, each with something to contribute and a story to tell.

We link here the article published in the Antiquity magazine of the University of Cambridge:


And the news published in National Geographic, with a more informative and less technical tone:


Pietro Viktor Carracedo Ahumada - pietrocarracedo@gmail.com

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