The origins of the huge ‘sarsen’ stones which create Stonehenge’s distinctive profile have been revealed – with the help of a sample returned from the US.
Tests done on the core of one of the stones, which was drilled during repair work at the Neolithic site in the 1950s, indicates the 20-tonne, seven-metre high megaliths were brought from West Woods, near Marlborough.
The core was removed by a Basingstoke diamond-cutting business as part of measures to use metal rods to reinforce one of the upright stones in 1958 and company employee Robert Phillips kept it in pride of place in his office.
He later took it with him when he emigrated to the US and its existence remained largely unknown for six decades, until he expressed a wish for it to be returned on the eve of his 90th birthday.
His sons brought it over and presented it in 2018 to English Heritage, which cares for the World Heritage site, and now it has helped solve the question of where the enormous stones of the world-famous monument are from.