History's Greatest Mysteries (2020) s04e16 Episode Script

Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge

Tonight, one of the world's
most famous landmarks.
Stonehenge is an amazing place.
These stones are enormous.
Some of the biggest ones
rise up 30 feet
and weigh an estimated 25 tons.
To this day, no one knows
how it was built or why.
Were people
really that much smarter than us
5,000 years ago?
Now, we'll explore
the top theories
surrounding this mysterious
It's everything
from a magical feat
by King Arthur's wizard, Merlin,
to a Druid venue
for human sacrifice.
Experts have found two skulls
that show evidence
of primitive surgery.
This was a place that was
specifically built for the dead.
Can modern technology
unlock its many secrets?
Now, suddenly this opens up
a whole new world of theories
which could actually be true.
What is the true purpose
of Stonehenge?
Salisbury Plain, England, 2021.
While traveling the UK,
researcher Michael Goff
visits one of the country's
most famous landmarks.
Like millions before him,
he goes to see Stonehenge,
the massive, mysterious circle
of giant stones that draws
as many as 9,000 visitors a day.
Stonehenge is like
a letter from the deep past.
It's there, it's physical,
you can't ignore it.
But what does it mean?
Goff believes
he's finally solved the mystery,
one that begins
hundreds of years ago.
The first written mention
of Stonehenge
is not until 1130
by Archdeacon Henry
of Huntington.
He describes the monument,
but he doesn't actually guess
on what it may have been for.
But soon after,
someone else does.
In 1136, a British cleric
named Geoffrey of Monmouth
shares the first
documented theory on Stonehenge
in his book "The Histories
of the Kings of Britain."
Monmouth tells of a time
in the fifth century
when the Saxons
are ravaging the land.
Treacherous Saxon leader Hengist
masterminds the betrayal
and murder
of more than 400 British nobles,
leaving a mass grave
in Salisbury Plain.
The high king
Ambrosius Aurelianus
asks his people to create
a monument to the dead.
But no one feels worthy
of this task,
so he was told
to ask the wizard Merlin.
According to Geoffrey
of Monmouth,
it's this legendary wizard
who brings the famous
stone circle to England.
Yes, we are talking
about that Merlin,
the famous wizard
from the Arthurian legend.
Merlin is the one
who tells Aurelianus
that in order to bless
this burial site forever,
he needs to build
a stone circle.
Merlin doesn't want
to build one from scratch,
he wants to steal
an existing one from Ireland.
Merlin says these
particular stones in Ireland
have healing properties
as well as a kind of magic
that will preserve the memory
of the dead.
According to Monmouth's book,
Aurelianus and Merlin bring
a small army to Ireland
to capture the stones.
15,000 men tried to bring
the stones from Ireland,
but they couldn't.
Legend has it that
Merlin flies through the air
to capture the stones,
then sets them up
on Salisbury Plain.
Monmouth writes that Ambrosius
is eventually buried there
along with his brother,
Uther Pendragon,
father of King Arthur.
This really seems like
a fantastical theory,
especially because we know
that Merlin and King Arthur
were fictional characters.
But this theory persists
for hundreds of years
as the explanation
of Stonehenge.
Then in the 1620s,
English architect Inigo Jones
uses new tools
to analyze the site.
So, now it's the Renaissance,
and people are less interested
in magic
and more interested in science.
King James I sends Jones
out to Stonehenge
to do a proper survey with
the modern equipment of the day.
What Jones does, is he looks
at the site from the perspective
of a builder's eye,
being an architect.
So, Jones goes out to the site
with his student, John Webb,
and he sees many similarities
in the architecture
of Stonehenge
to what we see
in Roman architecture.
And he becomes certain
that's who built it,
which means it's much older
than Monmouth's estimate
of the fourth century A.D.
And in
some ways this makes sense,
because the Romans
had conquered the British Isles
in 50 B.C.,
and just some 100 years later,
they were treating it
as a colony of Rome.
But unlike aqueducts,
and roads, and amphitheaters,
there is no obvious utility
to Stonehenge.
So, Jones and Webb study ancient
Roman architectural plans
to try to understand
what this could be for.
So, they look for any
Roman architectural plans
that might be
similar to Stonehenge.
They find two in a book
from about 30 B.C.
called "De Architectura."
One of these is called
the monopteros,
and the other is the peripteros,
and they're both Roman temples.
Jones and Webb are convinced
they know what Stonehenge is.
In 1644, the researchers
go a step further
to prove their theory.
Jones creates a draft
of a restoration
of what he thinks
the monument of Stonehenge
would have looked like
before it fell into ruins.
According to Jones' drawing,
Stonehenge was laid out
in a precise Roman form
based on four
equilateral triangles
arranged to create a hexagon
by a circular colonnade.
Stonehenge resembles
the layout and proportions
of Vitruvius' designs,
but because it was built
without a roof or enclosure,
Jones concluded
that it was built
to worship the sky god Caelus.
Even the people of the time
were having trouble
justifying Jones' idea
that this was a Roman
because you can look
at Roman construction
and understand it
through its refinement
and its pure geometric
Contrast that against
Stonehenge's megalithic
trilithon assemblies,
even at the time,
it was understood that
this was a far-fetched idea.
Meanwhile, around the same time,
renowned English archaeologist
John Aubrey
is in the midst of his own
excavation at Stonehenge.
Aubrey makes a lot
of discoveries at this site,
and one of these
was a ring of pits,
56 of them around the outside
of the main monument,
and these are now known
as the Aubrey holes.
Curiously, these holes were dug
and filled many times over.
On a hunch, he does something
no one has ever done before.
He sketches out
the positions of the stones
and then compares them
to the stars.
He realizes something
really important,
that these stones
are placed so precisely,
that on the summer solstice,
the rising sun
appears precisely
between the two largest stones.
To Aubrey,
this can't be a coincidence.
Aubrey spends over 20 years
analyzing Stonehenge,
and publishes his findings
in 1666.
Like Jones and Webb, he agrees
that Stonehenge is a temple.
But he thinks it predates
the Roman arrival in Britain
by a great deal,
and was instead built
by the Druids.
The Druids themselves
were active in early Britain
in the third century B.C.
They're an early
mysterious group of priests
that were part
of the Celtic religion.
Druidic law forbade writing
down religious teachings,
so we don't really know
much about them today.
Greek and Roman writers,
including Julius Caesar,
judge the Druids
to be extremely knowledgeable,
especially in the fields
of mathematics,
astronomy, and science
all subjects
that would be useful
in planning and constructing
a massive stone monument
aligned to the sun.
Over the next 100 years,
additional British scholars
advance Aubrey's research,
including 18th century scientist
William Stukeley.
Stukeley really spends
a lot of time
studying the ancient writings
focusing on the Druids'
ancient religious beliefs.
It was thought that the Druids
worshipped the sun,
held very elaborate ceremonies,
and they potentially even
included human sacrifice.
If that is the case,
Stukeley proposed
that they would need a venue
for these practices,
and Stonehenge is that venue.
In fact, one stone in particular
even becomes known
as the "slaughter stone,"
because the hollows of the stone
turn red
when they fill with rainwater,
which some believe to be stains
from the blood of the victims
of human sacrifice killed there.
Stukeley is also
one of the first
to try to precisely
date the monument.
So, based on
the construction methods,
and the layout,
and the alignments at that time
with the summer solstice,
Stukeley believes that
it was constructed
in about 460 B.C.
And for the next 100-plus years,
this is the final word
on Stonehenge
it's a Druid monument from
somewhere around 400-500 B.C.
Case closed.
This theory is so pervasive
that many people today
still believe
it was built by the Druids
and used for their ceremonies.
But those people are wrong,
because a new scientist
is about to uncover evidence
that Stonehenge
is much, much older
than we ever believed.
For hundreds of years,
scientists and visitors
have wondered about
the true purpose of Stonehenge.
It's everything from
a magical feat
by King Arthur's wizard Merlin,
to a Roman ruin,
to a Druid venue
for human sacrifice.
These diverse theories
definitely show
that people have been interested
and curious about Stonehenge
for a very long time.
Then, in the late 1700s,
an archaeologist
named William Cunnington
proposes a new theory,
one that starts
with an accident.
In 1797, a large tremor
is felt by the villagers
in Cunnington's home town
of Wiltshire, England.
Shockingly, the cause
of this tremor is actually
some of the massive stones
at Stonehenge falling over.
The impact can be heard and felt
at least half a mile
from the site.
Sometimes known
as the Great Fall,
this is one of only three times
that stones have collapsed
at the site in modern times.
One of the stones actually
breaks as it hits the ground.
The fall of any of these stones
is really a sad occurrence,
but to lose three of the largest
stones at Stonehenge
was really quite devastating,
considering they have stood
there for thousands of years.
For Cunnington, this was not
only a tragedy,
but it was an opportunity,
because it meant that
he could start to dig
in the place where the stones
previously existed.
By 1802, Cunnington digs a pit
that's six feet deep.
And in this pit,
he uncovers animal bones,
charred wood, and antler bones
that were used for digging.
His early finds
generate excitement.
In 1804, nobleman
and fellow archaeologist
Sir Richard Colt Hoare
begins financing
Cunnington's excavations,
enabling him
to do the kind
of detailed work that he wants.
This is perhaps the first
serious and sustained attempt
to understand what Stonehenge
truly is.
Cunnington figured out
that Stonehenge
actually had two
different kinds of stone.
The large stones are what's
called sarsen, or sandstone.
And there are a set
of smaller standing stones
which are called bluestone,
which are a variety
of kinds of stone
which when wet can seem bluish.
Because there are two
different kinds of stone
in the circle, he believes
that there are probably
two different periods
of activity here,
but he can't conclude
much more than that.
For seven years, the pair
conduct many excavations
and investigations on the site,
and they discover areas
where there are burial mounds,
and in these mounds,
there are human remains.
This startling discovery
only opens up more questions.
So, like the many
who've come before him,
Cunnington feels that
without written records,
he's at a loss.
After ten years, in 1807,
Cunnington finally gives up.
Though Cunnington and
Hoare actually reach a dead-end,
they end up excavating
465 sites at Stonehenge,
and their archaeological studies
are what inspires
the next generation.
Including a researcher
named John Lubbock,
who picks up the mantle in 1862.
Lubbock comes in
and studies the excavations
of Cunnington and Hoare,
ultimately focusing
on these burial mounds.
For Lubbock, the burial mounds
are likely the key to unlock
the mystery of Stonehenge.
Lubbock spends
over three decades
investigating Stonehenge,
and eventually he makes
a surprising breakthrough.
He's able to determine that
along with the bones
and bone fragments,
there are cremated remains.
According to Lubbock,
this means Stonehenge
is much older than anyone
has ever considered.
By this time,
archaeologists had realized
that cremation hadn't been
practiced by the local Britons
since the Bronze Age,
which dates back
to about 3000 B.C.
Lubbock finds proof
that Bronze Age tools
were used to carve the stone
and then bury it
alongside the cremated
remains of the artisans.
Up until this point,
the monument is believed
to be no older
than the fifth century B.C.
Lubbock's claim places it
2,500 years older than that.
The Bronze Age is way, way,
way before the Druids,
the Romans, and the legends
of King Arthur.
There are two ways
that you can feel
about these new revelations.
First, the bad news.
I'm sorry, but yes,
we're back at square one
when it comes to theories
on Stonehenge
and what it was for.
Every previous theory
is now officially wrong.
But the good news
now, suddenly this opens up
a whole new world of theories
which could actually be true.
Unfortunately, progress
after that isn't immediate.
It's not for another 100 years
after Lubbock
that we get
our next breakthrough.
In 1961, a new research team
led by Boston University
astronomer Gerald Hawkins
descends on Stonehenge with
state-of-the-art technology.
Hawkins and his team
map out every stone
and every pit at the site,
and they also collect
astronomical data,
plotting out the stars
each day that they're there.
They punch the coordinates
of all those things onto cards
and feed them into a huge
IBM 704 mainframe computer
at Boston University.
Hawkins is shocked
to discover over 100 alignments
between the stones,
and the sun, moon, and stars.
In the 17th century,
Aubrey thought the stones
might have tracked the sun
one day a year.
Hawkins thinks
it does way more than that.
Based on these alignments,
Hawkins decides
that the monument
can track the sun and moon over
a recurring 56-day cycle,
as well as possible eclipses.
Remember when Aubrey found
those 56 small pits
in a circle around the stones?
Hawkins believes that those
once held smaller stone
or wooden markers
that would be moved
around the circle
to track the moon's phases.
Hawkins publishes his findings
in the 1965 book
"Stonehenge Decoded."
When Hawkins eventually
publishes his works,
it's a bestseller.
I mean, this book is rewriting
what we understand
from prehistory.
But in doing so, he's getting
quite a bit of backlash
from his contemporary
archaeologists at the same time.
In fact, one of Britain's
top archaeologists,
Richard Atkinson,
is scandalized by the idea.
He believes Stonehenge was built
by, quote, "howling barbarians"
who couldn't possibly have had
the sophistication
to make astronomical
Hawkins is ridiculed until 1971,
when Oxford professor
Alexander Thom
finally backs up his theory.
Alexander Thom studies
many stone circles
throughout Britain.
He had already studied over 250.
This includes Stonehenge,
and some that are even older.
Thom decides that all
of these sites
had astronomical use,
and that 4,000 years ago,
people had this very
sophisticated knowledge
of engineering, and linking
their stone circles
with the skies.
Far from howling barbarians
or mindless savages,
Thom believes
that the creators of Stonehenge
use the huge stones
in conjunction with
the landmarks on the horizon
to mark the position where
the moon rises or sets.
Thom finds their calculations
to be incredibly precise,
close to what modern astronomers
can do with tools and technology
that would have been unthinkable
5,000 years ago.
We have computers
and the Webb Telescope.
They had antlers to dig with
and very large stones.
It's incredible.
But there are many scholars,
archaeologists who just
don't really agree.
As enigmatic and interesting
as this theory is,
it still doesn't explain
why there are so many
human remains
in and around the monument.
So, there has to be even more
to this place.
In early 1971,
Oxford engineer Alexander Thom
announces a compelling
new theory.
Like other ancient
stone circles,
Stonehenge was built to track
the movement of the heavens.
But this doesn't take
into account one critical fact.
Building this structure
is so dangerous,
it seems inevitable that workers
would die, and for a long time,
this is the primary theory
as to why human remains
are found at the site.
One of the things that
people always talk about
is just how difficult
it would have been to move
these large stones.
And we can start
with the sarsen stones,
the sandstones.
The closest place
they could be from
is Marlborough Downs,
which is over 20 miles away.
Now, to you and I,
20 miles might not sound
that far.
But these folks had no cars.
We don't think they had
wheeled carts, either,
or any large beasts
that could pull them.
And these stones weigh
an average of 25 tons.
The largest stone of all
weighs 45 tons.
That's as much
as an adult humpback whale,
and that's just one stone.
So, how did they move them?
Some believe
the ancients used wooden sleds.
Others postulated that they used
wooden rollers
made from tree trunks.
Those are just
the sarsen stones.
The other stones,
the bluestones,
there's nothing like them
anywhere remotely close
to the site.
The best estimate we have
is that these stones
come from Wales
in the Preseli Mountains,
which are 140 miles away.
We're talking a vast distance
for ancient technology.
After the haul,
the work is far from over.
At the site,
the stones have to be shaped
with very simple bronze tools,
chipping off small pieces
to taper the stones as needed.
Then, to fit the upright stones
with the lintels, the builders
had to use an intricate
tongue-and-groove system
that was used predominantly
in wood.
And then, using antler picks
and stone tools,
they had to dig out the cavity
in which the stones
could be placed
so that they would stand tall
and not fall.
Researchers estimate
that it takes
more than 10 million
combined man hours of labor
to construct the monument.
This would be
equivalent to 1,200 people
working nonstop, 24 hours a day,
for an entire year.
For almost a century,
the bodies found at Stonehenge
are believed to belong
to the dedicated workforce.
But in 2008,
British archaeologist
Michael Parker Pearson
makes an astonishing discovery
that suggests
something different.
Michael Parker Pearson
is the head
of the Stonehenge
Riverside Project,
and he goes through
and studies the human remains
found at the site.
Interestingly enough,
he discovers something
that nobody else
has realized before.
There are not just
male workers' bodies
buried on the site.
There are also women
and children.
Suddenly, we now realize
that the burials
probably aren't just
from construction accidents.
This was a place
that was specifically built
for the dead.
To figure out
how old the remains are,
Parker Pearson uses cutting-edge
radiocarbon dating.
He learns that they're not
just from one period,
but they were deposited there
in an over-500-year period.
Next, Parker Pearson
tries to figure out
who these people were.
Alongside one of the burials
is a mace that would have been
associated with a form
of nobility at the time.
Another burial mound
contained a number
of bronze and copper knives,
and many of these
had ornamental designs.
These fine objects
actually provide the evidence
that it was the elites that
were buried here at Stonehenge.
This isn't a mass burial site,
because over the course
of about 500 years,
there are only 240 burials
that took place.
But where did
these ancient nobles come from?
While there's evidence
that people
are buried at Stonehenge,
there's no evidence that people
actually lived there full-time.
So, he looks at
the nearest settlement
to figure out
if there are more clues.
Two miles north of Stonehenge
is an area known
as Durrington Walls.
Durrington Walls contains
nearly 300 dwellings,
making it the largest village
in northern Europe at the time.
And in the middle of it,
Parker Pearson finds the remains
of a giant wooden henge
Woodhenge, if you will.
Not only do Stonehenge
and the wooden structure
look very similar,
but radiocarbon dating
indicates that it was in use
right around the same time
Stonehenge's largest stones
get installed.
Why would these two structures
be built so close together?
Parker Pearson believes
it's because
they're spiritually linked.
To him, Stonehenge
isn't just an isolated
Parker Pearson believes that
we're looking at a pairing
one in timber to represent
the transient nature of life,
and the other in stone
to mark the eternity of death.
What he's suggesting
is that Stonehenge
may represent
the final resting place
both in body and in spirit
of ancient peoples.
The two henges, wood and stone,
represent this journey
both literally and figuratively.
So, perhaps if one were near
the end of his or her life,
they would come
to the wooden henge to die,
and then be buried
at Stonehenge.
We really don't have
any way to know
if this is actually the case.
The ancient builders
have left us with a mystery
that will probably
never be solved.
In 2008, a pair
of archaeologists
are granted rights
to the first excavation
of Stonehenge's inner circle
in almost five decades.
What they find suggests
a whole new purpose
for the monument,
one that brings visitors
from all over the world.
During their digs at Stonehenge,
Geoffrey Wainwright
and Timothy Darvill
focus specifically
on the monument's bluestones.
Darvill and Wainwright find
the actual quarry
of the bluestones in Wales,
and it's a site
known as Carn Menyn.
They spend six years
surveying the area,
trying to figure out why
the ancient people would have
transported these bluestones
all the way to Stonehenge.
What's so special about them?
One thing they discover is that
the stonecutters who managed
to remove the rocks
also dug manmade springs.
To see this type
of manmade spring
in the ancient world
is extremely rare.
Darvill and Wainwright
suppose that this
is some kind
of medicinal spring,
and that the bluestones
that were brought to Stonehenge
were brought there
for healing purposes.
Some of Stonehenge's
earliest theorists
also believed in the site's
healing properties.
In 1215 A.D.,
the British poet Layamon
writes that the stones
hold magical healing power.
According to him,
the ancient people
would wash the stone,
and with the water,
quote, "bathe away
their sickness."
This sounds very much like what
Darvill and Wainwright
had found in Wales.
Perhaps these writers
from the Middle Ages
had heard some world histories
that had been passed down
for generations
that these stones
held some healing powers.
More evidence is uncovered
when they take a closer look
at the human remains.
They find an unusual
number of skeletons in the area
with signs of disease or injury.
About half of them are from
outside the vicinity.
In fact, isotope analysis
of teeth from the remains
at Stonehenge find people
had traveled
from as far away
as Germany, Italy, and France.
Experts have even found
two skulls
that show evidence
of primitive surgery.
It could very well be
that Stonehenge
was some kind of hospital.
In 2013,
another group of academics
expands on this theory.
Researchers at England's
Royal College of Art
make a strange request
to the government.
They ask for permission
to, quote, "whack the henge,"
with rounded quartz hammers.
They suspect that the stones
have special acoustic
or sonic healing properties.
The government
grants their request,
and the results
are actually pretty cool.
'Cause when struck,
each stone gives off
subtly different sounds
and reverberations.
And the circular arrangement
enhances the sound quality
and volume.
It's like you're sitting in
a sound room, for the most part.
It's as if the stones
are meant to be played.
The rocks produce
sounds that are so clear
that churches in the area
use them as bells
well into the 1700s.
One village nearby
is actually named Maenclochog,
which means "ringing stones."
But can sounds actually heal?
Many cultures think so.
Ancient Egyptians
believed that sounds
can generate vibrations
with healing abilities.
They even built structures
to amplify
the therapeutic effects
of these beneficial sounds
during religious ceremonies.
In ancient Greece
it's widely believed
that diseases can be cured
with repetitive sounds.
Sound therapy plays
a very important role
in Greek medicine.
But of course, if Stonehenge
actually was a hospital,
the sad thing is,
we only really know about
the people who died there.
This makes it
incredibly difficult
to understand or determine
how successful a hospital
it actually was.
For centuries,
scholars have debated
why Stonehenge was built.
But equally as puzzling
is how it was built.
In 1968, Swiss author
Erich von Däniken
believes he has simultaneously
answered both of these
And the answer is aliens.
von Däniken claims it simply
makes no sense that
ancient people would have been
able to transport
these stones on their own
and build these structures.
And the fact that we still
can't figure out how they did it
is pretty suspicious.
It forces us
to ask the question,
were people 5,000 years ago
talented, smart enough,
and had the right ability
to build something like this?
von Däniken believes that
aliens shared their technology
with humans to move
human civilization forward
in the areas of science
and technology.
He feels they did this
at several times
in human history,
and that explains
many different monuments
and structures
all across the globe,
including the ancient
Egyptian pyramids
and the Easter Island
Moai structures.
So, in the case of Stonehenge,
the aliens helped teach
the humans about astronomy,
and then helped them move
and arrange the stones
in this particular pattern.
This idea is picked up
in a 2008 book,
"The Gods' Machines: From
Stonehenge to Crop Circles,"
by author Wun Chok Bong.
He suggests Stonehenge
had a dual purpose.
He believes that
the astronomical orientation
of the site was really
an aid for navigation
so that aliens could
figure out where to land.
According to Wun,
after a ship landed on top,
the stones could act
as conduits for electricity
pulled out of the Earth.
So, the monument is actually
a combination of landing pad
and charging station.
In 2013, an unexpected source
offers proof of UFO activity
in the area.
In June of 2013,
the British Ministry of Defense
declassifies their final
collection of UFO files
after closing the program down.
One of these files
includes several photos
sent to the ministry
that show a disc-shaped object
hovering over Stonehenge.
This is just one of many reports
of unexplained aerial phenomena
at Stonehenge.
In 2019, Philippe Rosset
is taking pictures
of the sunset in Knap Hill,
15 miles from Stonehenge,
and he spots
a bright spherical object
on the horizon.
The ball of light is then
joined by another,
and then several more.
The spheres appear to create
some sort of formation.
They've hovering
silently in the sky.
In 2020, a couple
driving in Mere, Wiltshire
observe a disc of light
hovering near Stonehenge.
Look at that thing in the sky.
What is it?
They capture it on video,
and just as suddenly
as the disc of light appeared,
it vanishes.
But most modern
scholars are skeptical.
At the end of the day,
is there anecdotal evidence
of UFO activity near Stonehenge?
But is this evidence
that aliens built Stonehenge?
Not really.
Throughout history,
people have wanted to believe
that humanity at the time
of Stonehenge's construction
were savages or barbarians,
but I think that's foolish.
Okay, physically,
they were just like us
maybe not the exact same DNA,
but similar in most respects.
So, if you're insulting them,
ultimately, you're just
insulting yourself.
With each new discovery,
there's hope that
we're one step closer
to figuring out
what Stonehenge is
and why it was built.
You think it's a cemetery,
but it also tracks
the sun's position.
How does that detail fit in?
At this point, the more
we study Stonehenge,
in some ways, the less we know.
But in 2021,
Michael Goff believes
he may have finally
solved the puzzle.
When researcher
Michael Goff is at Stonehenge,
he already knows about
the monument's alignment
with the heavens, and he thinks
that was a purposeful choice.
But while he's looking around,
he realizes there's a lot more
to it than that.
Goff starts
by studying how Stonehenge
would have looked
thousands of years ago
before any of the stones
were lost to time.
He reconstructs the entire site
and demonstrates that
the monument's outer circle
originally consisted
of 30 sarsen pillars
and the same number
of connecting lintel stones.
He also notes that
the four cardinal points
north, south, east, and west
line up with the structure.
This means sunlight
is intentionally focused
through the stones,
casting light and shadows.
This was all known before,
along with the fact
that Stonehenge tracks
the length of the year,
since the annual solstice
appears in the same spot
every time.
But Goff believes
that with one extra tool,
Stonehenge could track more
than just the time of year.
Goff figures out that if you add
some smaller markers
in the middle, Stonehenge could
tell the time of day every day,
like a sundial.
According to Goff, Stonehenge
actually had moving parts
that are now missing.
These could have been
little stones,
or maybe even pieces of wood
that have since been lost
to time.
Some small stones
have actually been found
within the monument that
could have served this purpose.
The real trick to this, however,
is that these stones or markers
would have had to have been
moved every year
to keep the clock accurate.
So, how did they know
where to move them?
Goff believed they used
a particular constellation,
the Southern Cross,
that would appear
prominently right on the horizon
in that area
thousands of years ago.
According to Goff,
every year when the Cross
was centered in the southern gap
at Stonehenge,
the people could just
move the small stones
to calibrate their clock
for the upcoming year.
Around the same time,
more evidence is uncovered
to support this,
but in a different location
and by a different team.
Michael Parker Pearson
goes to Wales with a team
to excavate in the area
where the bluestones were found.
There, they find a dismantled
stone circle
made from bluestones
at a place called Waun Mawn.
Researchers start to wonder
if these Waun Mawn stones
might be related
to the stones at Stonehenge.
As they search for evidence
using modern-day
scientific techniques,
they realize that
these two circles
have the same diameter
of 360 feet across,
and both are aligned to
the midsummer solstice sunrise.
But one small clue
proves the connection
is much bigger.
There is evidence
that Waun Mawn was dismantled,
most of its stones
pulled up and removed.
But in one of the holes,
a stone chip is left behind.
A computerized model
is made of the chip,
and incredibly, that chip
fits perfectly
into one of the stones
at Stonehenge,
one that's called Stone 62.
It's like a key into a lock.
Parker Pearson concluded
that around 3000 B.C.,
most of the stone circle
at Waun Mawn was dismantled,
and the stones were carried
the some 140 miles
to Stonehenge.
But why go to such lengths
to excavate and arrange
the huge bluestones,
only to then move them
140 miles away?
Goff believes his clock theory
holds the answer.
Today, the Earth's tilt
has changed so much
that the Southern Cross
is no longer visible at all
from Stonehenge.
This slow movement
was happening back then too.
Goff believes that's precisely
the reason Stonehenge was moved.
Goff's theory
is that the ancient clock
was first installed
at Waun Mawn,
because that's where
the Southern Cross
is at the horizon,
and you can use it as a clock.
As the Southern Cross
disappeared from that location,
they moved it 140 miles away,
rebuilt it at Stonehenge
where the Southern Cross
is visible at the horizon,
and now you get another
100 years of use
out of your clock.
It's a pretty cool idea,
but you also have
to ask yourself,
scientists and archaeologists
have been studying Stonehenge
for centuries.
How could a clock
not have been discovered before?
According to Goff,
it's all because
of the number 30.
There are 30 pillars
at Stonehenge,
and therefore the clock theory
never worked
with our current
24-hour concept of time.
That's why nobody
ever figured it out.
Once you try it
with a day that's broken up
into 30 parts
so a 30-hour day
Goff's theory works perfectly.
The total length of the day
is the same.
It's just the hours
are now 48 minutes long.
But if Stonehenge is a clock,
why are human remains
buried here?
The burials of the elite
or royal people,
the clock doesn't seem
to explain those,
until you think about the fact
that maybe the timekeepers
are also the rulers
of this society.
You can imagine
that type of knowledge
would be quite powerful
at this time.
So, the leaders
would have lived, died,
and be buried with the source
of their power, the clock.
Look, there's
a popular saying in science,
"correlation does not
equal causation."
Just because
your football team won
when you wore mismatched socks,
doesn't mean this is why
they won.
And unfortunately,
this applies to Goff's theory.
Just because it lines up,
doesn't mean this is why
they did it.
And just because
there are bodies,
doesn't mean it's a cemetery.
You can apply this
to pretty much every theory
about Stonehenge.
We'll never have any records
that tell us what this thing is.
These ancient builders
have left us with a mystery
that will probably
never be solved.
Recent dating of charcoal
found at Stonehenge proves
the site has been in use
since 7000 B.C., long before
the stones ever arrived.
This exciting new evidence
gives archaeologists
many more puzzles to solve.
I'm Laurence Fishburne.
Thank you for watching
"History's Greatest Mysteries."
Previous EpisodeNext Episode