Aerial images show that ancient creators of Stonehenge slot slabs into each other

Prehistoric Lego! Aerial images show that ancient creators of Stonehenge used holes and studs to slot slabs into each other

  • The ancient slabs in Wiltshire were interlocked using holes and protruding studs 
  • The method was far more sophisticated to those used in stone circles at the time
  • English Heritage, which looks after the 5,000-year-old site, said the use of this technique allowed the monument to stand the test of time 

The ancient creators of Stonehenge built the monument just like Lego, a rare photograph taken from above shows.

It reveals how the stones were interlocked using protruding studs on one which fitted snugly into corresponding holes carved in another.

The method – based on an interlocking woodworking method called mortise and tenon – was far more sophisticated than that used on other stone circles of the era and has led to suggestions that Stonehenge’s builders were determined for it to stand the test of time.

English Heritage, which looks after the 5,000-year-old site in Wiltshire, posted the remarkable image of one of the outer circle’s stones on Twitter, writing: ‘This is a rarely seen view of the top of one of the giant sarsen stones.

‘The protruding tenons are clearing visible and the corresponding horizontal lintel stone would have had mortise holes for them to slot into. A bit like early Lego!’ 

A rare aerial photo of a giant stone at Stonehenge, Wiltshire has revealed a series of slots and holes were used to join the monument, like an early version of lego

The charity’s Susan Greaney said: ‘One of the big questions is why Stonehenge was constructed with such precision engineering. It may well be simply that they wanted to make sure it lasted a very long time.

‘Putting unworked sarsens as lintels on top of the uprights would have been pretty unstable. Our presumption is there were similar timber monuments at the time in which mortise and tenon joints were probably being used.

Pictured: A March photo of Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, where English Heritage discovered a series of slots and holes on the top of the stones

Pictured: A March photo of Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, where English Heritage discovered a series of slots and holes on the top of the stones

‘They don’t survive because they have rotted away. Stonehenge is the only one we have with this sort of working and shaping. It’s exactly like Lego. We sometimes say to our schoolchildren who visit that Stonehenge is just like Lego.’   

The method has proven effective, with 17 of Stonehenge’s original 30 upright stones still standing and five of its lintels remaining in place.

Lego was delighted with the comparison, with the Danish toymaker responding to English Heritage on Twitter, saying: ‘Ah, where it all began’.

   

 

 

 

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