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Secrets of Lost Empires
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Questions & Answers | List of Questions

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How do you know how much the monoliths at Stonehenge weigh?

It's one thing to drag a ten ton stone over three step middle planks. Was anyone making nice new planks 4,000 years ago? Probably a lot harder to drag a stone on rough cut timbers from Brad.

Why was Stonehenge built? I've heard that on either the longest or shortest day of the year, the sun rises or sets just at the entrance. Why did they build it like this?

Without the use of the wheel, the builders must have used sledges, log rollers, and many people, right?

How far has the procession of the equinox moved the position of the summer solstice on the horizon since the time Stonehenge was built? Raymond

On the Stonehenge raising, they used a weighted tip to tilt the main riser stone into the hole. Why not just have the stone dragged up an Earth ramp with wood rails to a pivot point of wood (timber) and just burn the timber? The loss of the support will drop the stone or is the angle too great for the raising? I can't see the stone (re: concrete) angle stone under the pivot point being used.

Using the techniques from the show, how long did it take to build the entire structure?

How do you know when it was built?

What kind of language or dialect did this ancient community speak?

Why didn't they use pullleys to lift the monolith?

The ropes that you used, were they purchased or did you make them?

I saw from the show that the ancients of the time had gold. Did they have any other metals?

Where did you get stone slabs that big?

Where are the stones you have erected in this experiment now? Will they be left on this site? It appears they are a bit heavy to move. I hope to visit Stonehenge in July, hence these questions.

Is there an estimated population size at the time of construction that would have helped move the monoliths easier without the use of such elaborate devices that you used?

What was the closest known settlement to Stonehenge at the time of its construction, not including the area where the workers may have stayed?

A thought occurs to me as I sit and think of the Indian burial mounds in my area: Wouldn't something like that have been useful in making the ramp for the piece on top? How old is the idea of mortice and tenon? Also, are there any writings on the stones at all?

I saw from the program that people were used to pull the ropes. Is it possible that beasts of burden were used for the heavy pulling?

What type of marks, if any, were left on the monoliths as evidence of how they were moved?

In a book I read, it said that they probably put burning branches on a place they wanted to cut, then poured cold water on, cracking it. Is this what your experiment showed that they did?

To move the stones, could the ancients have lashed enough logs to the stone to form a cylinder, loop ropes around the complete assembly, and pull on the upper loops to roll the stones to their site?

Who owns the property on which Stonehenge is located?

Most religious practices in those days involved some sort of ritualistic or actual animal sacrifice. Is there any evidence of such at Stonehenge?

How did they carve out the holes in the top piece and how did they make the stone pins that fit inside?

Could it be that the large stones were moved not on tracks, as such, but on streams or slusways for irrigation/flood control systems?

Have you considered using a series of sliding fulcrums where each end of the 40-ton stone is pulled in turn, and in effect walking it balanced in the middle? I have done this with large 18th century logs for a log house with only one helper.

Might the weather conditions have been different enough 4,500 years ago to use snow and ice to reduce the friction of dragging and also to build ramps?

Were the workers forced labor, or was it perceived as a community goal with benefit for all? Who was doing the farming during the construction?

If, as is estimated on the show, it took up to three weeks just to carve out the bowl for the tenon for the lintel, how long may it have taken to shape the stones themselves? How much work did they put into the shaping of the stones? After all this time, it's fairly rough-looking.

Any sense of the role women may have played in the creation of Stonehenge?

Since there were previous wooden structures at the site, why do you think that particular spot is so special throughout time?

I believe when the holes were dug, the dirt was put in a large mound in front of where two of the upright stones were to be placed. The stones were then raised to upright with a mound of Earth acting as a stop support and later as an incline to facilitate moving the lintels in place.

I am trying to figure out how the original Stonehenge could be raised by using your methods, since you required a couple hundred yards of empty space on one side of the stone and enough space to lay the stone flat in the other direction. In the pictures, these stones appear to be very close together. By the way, great job and very interesting.

Living in rocky New England, my mother-in-law and I had to use ingenuity to move a huge underground stone in order to plant a straight row of border hemlocks on our property. I would not say we were muscular types, but my elderly neighbor showed us how to dig a small hole next to the boulder, toss in stones, dig some more, toss in a few more stones, until we actually made the bolder pop out of the ground. Might the stone age builders are used stones as leverage instead of ramps to set the Stonehenge stones upright?

Do you know if they've sunk deeper into the ground since they were first placed and erected?

What is the purpose of a calendar that only accurately forecasts two days of the year?

It was mentioned that the monoliths stand 20 or 30 feet above ground. How deep below ground level are they buried?

You mentioned the use of a timber crib, since the U-shaped circle of stones in the center were after the ring. The earth ramp is limited by the area inside the outside ring, right?

Why did one of the largest monoliths fall over? Was it an earthquake?

Do these rock structures have any connection with the menhirs?

Considering the accuracy with which the monoliths were placed, what tools were found, not for building, but for measuring distance from the angles necessary for the use of such elaborate principles of physics to construct the trililthon?

I was wondering if there was any truth to the statement made by someone about the circumference of Stonehenge. I heard the circle would fit exactly inside one of the Great pyramids in Egypt, with each of the walls touching the circumference of stonehenge. Could there be some possible link between these two great mysteries?

When I visited Stonehenge in 1987 I was told that the current monument was the 6th or 7th on the site and that it had never been a place of habitation, except during the various constructions and a few religious caretakers. It is still a windy hill top without a large settlement in sight. Is this this current thinking? And, if so, what do we know of the people who built Stonehenge that they would take so much trouble in a place away from where the bulk of them lived, hunted, farmed, etc.?

I think that instead of erecting the two bigger stones and then putting the third on top, that perhaps the protrusions in the two larger stones were used to help hold the third stone on. I realize that it would take more than just these protusions but it seems to me that it might be easier to erect all three vertically at once. Perhaps incorporating your ramp to help raise all three stones. This is just a suggestion. Great show and great work.

Very little was said about the numerological (dimensional) aspects of the site. any ideas why there were the number of stones there were in the circleor why the stones were set at the specific height they were? do they align with any constellations or particular stars or is it purely a solar tool?

Besides the greased rails that may have been used to move the stones, is there any evidence that the builders slid stones down hills (perhaps after a rainstorm) to take advantage of the natural terrain to ease the transport?

Is it possible that the purpose of stonehenge was a sort of gateway to the heavens, what these early thought of as the transcendental realm? It seemed to me that the clustering of the grave sites around stonehenge might give a clue to this.

1. Why use the animal-fat-based greased "cold" - why not keep pots of it heated for continual application as needed?

Another question addressed ice/snow - but why not dig a shallow ditch to pour water in during sub-freezing yet non- snow times - stone slides on this frozen railway, but lack of snow outside it, gives traction for stone-moving team.

For hoisting stones, consider tripod lift structure, not just A-frame. No pulley; just run ropes over vertex. Alternately add notched post as third leg to A-frame - can rest vertex of A-frame in each notch for incremental lifts.

I know that on the summer solstice, the sun rises directly above the heel stone, the one in the opening of the circle. If one were to draw an imaginary straight line from the center of Stonehenge and through the heel stone, is it possible that this line would intersect with the Bosporous ("Cow crossing") or Heliopolis ("Sun city") in Egypt?

What do you think of water being used to move the stones into position. I created a mock experiment. I discovered that a circle of wood timbers supported by the mounding of earth around them, for reinforcement and ramp, would provide the perfect arena to maneuver the stones into exact positions. The most man power needed would have been in pulling and pushing the stones up the ramp, as you demonstrated in your show, and then sliding them down into the water. Ropes secured around the stones would allow workers to move into place with much less man power than expected! I think this theory has merit. This method could be accomplished without the wheel pulley's or hundreds of men. Perhaps they even made a ravine filled with water to move the large stones using beasts of burden over (below) ground to their destination? This theory has merit. I'm interested in your thoughts.

If they used one A-Frame could they have linked two or three of them, and reduced the effort more?

Is it possible that Stonehenge was created as a place of healing for those with nasty contagious diseases? That might explain who paid for the work (the wealthy who had taken ill). It might also explain the burial mounds (quarantine areas) and way the burial mounds were ranked with the wealthiest men being closest to Stonehenge. The fact that at least some of the gold artefacts were not stolen from the barrows might indicate that people were afraid to go near these places Also doesn't it seem possible that the fellow that used the ramp to cap the trilithon got it right. If you were going to excavate enough earth to place a 40-ton stone would you not want to utilize the product of your labor to make a ramp? This would also enable these people to raise and cap the trilathon in one day. Maybe during an elaborate ceremony to celebrate the work.

I noticed several questions about using pulleys. I, too, thought of this idea, and considering how simple it is to make a wheel, I am wondering why you think the wheel hadn't been invented. Also, considering that wood would not last these thousands of years, why would you expect to find any archaeological evidence of pulleys? I think you are underestimating the intelligence of these ancient engineers. Also, do you have any _real_ engineers working with you? I doubt you, as archaeologists, have nearly the mechanical know-how or ingenuity of even the least intelligent ancient engineer.

You've probably answered the concepts of "counterweights" a million times, or even the compulsion for it. With buckets, ropes, logs, ramps, sand and/or rocks - progressively increased sizes of rocks - could these wonders have been built by just a few folks? Is there a technically disqualifying aspect of this concept or simply a, "why SHOULD they use counterweights"?

I was wondering if it would be possible if they could have built a hill over the entire area. Then simply dig a hole or possibly used forms before the dirt was hauled in. In this manner the large stones could be set in place in much the same way as shown on May 5. I would have to see a Geothermal map of this area to be able to tell if there were any large holes dug that would suggest this.

Could there be any link between Stonehenge and other large stone works elsewhere on earth, such as the pyramids? As there is no reliable written history, could the "giants from Africa" be Egyptians, or another race, and isn't it funny that they all came from relatively the same time period?.....the workmanship is a little different, but still, the tactics used to move large pieces of stone seem to be the same, at least in modern re-creations.............

You mentioned that Stonehenge was erected 4500 years ago. How many 1000s of years ago did human first habitate in this area (U.K.)? I always thought the Mediterannean (Egyptian) area was one of the first locations for human inhabitants. Am I correct when I say that was about 2000 BC?

I visited Stonehenge when I was eight. I do not remember the dimensions. But, is it possible that all three pieces of a trilithon could be raised together? Perhaps tied together and lashed to a wooden frame, then raised? I believe this would be labour intensive, but more simplistic in engineering it. Has anyone tried?

I have heard a brief mention of a way that someone could lift a mega ton stone. By finding the Zero gravity spot on these stones single individuals could lift massive tones with ease. Have you heard of such an explanation? Is there any proof that this could be possible?

In the Stonehenge project, what if the hole that was dug for the vertical stones was "c" shaped so that the stone would slide in, then use its own momentum to stand itself erect? Is this possible? Thanks for your input.

The show was very interesting. However, the people in the show forgot about the one resource that the people back then had. That was time and lots of it. The construction of Stonehenge may have taken many many years, not the short period of time that the show seemed to be portraying. The stone age people also undoubtably used many many more people than the show did. They may have also used captured enemies to do the work also. The cap piece could have been "walked" up the ramp by pulling on one set of ropes at a time, effectivly doubling the manpower. Did the stone age people know about the block and tackle or even an early form of it? Overall, though, a very educational and wonderful show. Please keep up the great work.

Would it not make sense to only roughly cut the stones at the location in a cylindrical form and roll them to the final assembly point, where the final square cutting would be performed? Do the dimensions of the uprights + the dimensions of the topping stones add to a cylindrical shape? The tracks seem to be way too much capital and human investment for the task at hand. Does the quarry have evidence to show the stones were cut square at the site? Another method would be to build wooden craddles shaped like wheels for either end (actually best if placed at 1/3 and 2/3's of the length) of the stone, using the stone as the connecting axle. Clearly from the shape of the final building and the burial mounds the concept of the circle, and hence the wheel, was probably well understood. Enjoyed the program but agreed with the analysis that the solutions were over engineered.

Could you have tipped the large stone to vertical by men pushing the top with timbers and driving wedges or filling with stones behind? Also, were the pits dug that deep? Wouldn't a considerable amount of silt layers have accumulated over the thousands of years?

During the NOVA program, raising Stonehenge, the question of the methods used to erect the stones was bandied about, in particular how the lintels were raised. Simply put has any stratagraphic analysis of the soils around Stonehenge been done with an eye to spoils piles removed from putative dirt ramps? Could these piles be detected to this day by virtue of the disturbed strata and presumably undisturbed soils in the area of the monument?

I had thought that the stones in Stonehenge were of a sort that came from Wales? Sorry to make your Herculean effort sound trivial but perhaps boats were used to bring to a spot even further than yours? Also how does one use bronze tools to cut rock? Thank You for you foray in History.

I think the idea of the A-Frame lever was very good. Why not use another mechanical advantage for transporting the stones, namely a pulley? Rope is affixed to a post in the ground, run around a post attached to the stone, then pulled upon by the pullers. 2X advantage!

What was the average life span of the stonehenge builders?

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