The first draft available to download - any mistakes please tell me!
Over five million years ago buried sand and gravel bars lying on top of the chalk of Southern England were cemented by silica. The composition and hardness of this layer varied. The subsequent millions of years of natural erosion wore most of this layer away leaving a few buried boulders and some extremely hard stones on the surface near where they formed.
The builders of Stonehenge chose the hardest, finest and largest of these. The crispness of the edges of the stones stands testament to their hardness when they were shaped.
It maybe that the Station Stones, for instance, are local, but there is no other credible source for most of the stones than from around Fyfield Down to the west of Marlborough, 18 miles to the north of the monument, where many stones still remain on the surface to this day.
The accepted view is that the stones were taken on a westerly route around the Pewsey Vale. Recent field work and surveys of the landscape makes this seem unlikely as the route would have involved crossing two large marshes, a hill and then going up a steep incline.
The climate at the time of the building of Stonehenge was similar to now so the marshes and swampy streams of the Pewsey Vale were an obstacle to crossing it for all of the year. But there was one firm, dry route possible.
This is the route mapped overleaf which is the shortest and most direct. Ancient roads follow it with no excessive inclines and no marshes to cross. The River Avon would be crossed at its narrowest point which is at the contemporaneous and mysterious Marden Henge, which maybe one day will yield some more clues.
We will never know the full story of the stones and assuming the easiest route is the route they took may be a mistake. After all if the builders had wanted the easy life they wouldn’t have built Stonehenge.