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What Science Has Taught Us About Stonehenge

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Over the years, lots of explanations have been proposed as the origin of Stonehenge, including lost technologies, outright magic, and — of course — aliens. What do we actually know about this prehistoric mystery? Skillshare is offering SciShow viewers two months of unlimited access to Skillshare for free! Try it here: https://skl.sh/scishow-13 Hosted by: Hank Green SciShow has a spinoff podcast! It's called SciShow Tangents. Check it out at https://www.scishowtangents.org ---------- Support SciShow by becoming a patron on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/scishow ---------- Huge thanks go to the following Patreon supporters for helping us keep SciShow free for everyone forever: Greg, Alex Schuerch, Alex Hackman, Andrew Finley Brenan, Sam Lutfi, D.A. Noe, الخليفي سلطان, Piya Shedden, KatieMarie Magnone, Scott Satovsky Jr, Charles Southerland, Patrick D. Ashmore, charles george, Kevin Bealer, Chris Peters ---------- Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet? Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/scishow Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scishow Tumblr: http://scishow.tumblr.com Instagram: http://instagram.com/thescishow ---------- Sources: History and Construction: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/history-and-stories/history/ https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/history-and-stories/building-stonehenge/ http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/20587/1/Antiquity%202012%20(Stonehenge%20Remodelled).pdf https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311767763_Stonehenge_Amesbury_Wiltshire_-_Chronological_Modelling https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/05/23/stonehenge-wasnt-so-hard-to-build-after-all-archaeologists-disco/ https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antiquity/article/retracing-the-footsteps-of-hh-thomas-a-review-of-his-stonehenge-bluestone-provenancing-study/CAD5AD26468F0FF5433BA78B9FECF1FC https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/D1E66A287D494205D22881CBF1F6DDE8/S0003598X15001775a.pdf/craig-rhos-y-felin-a-welsh-bluestone-megalith-quarry-for-stonehenge.pdf https://www.livescience.com/62619-did-glaciers-carry-stonehenge-bluestones.html https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences-and-law/anthropology-and-archaeology/archaeology-general/stonehenge#1 https://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/text/geoffrey-of-monmouth-arthurian-passages-from-the-history-of-the-kings-of-britain https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0016787815000899 Dead and Burials: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-28969-8 http://dro.dur.ac.uk/5849/1/5849.pdf http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1474049/1/Dead%20of%20Stonehenge%20Antiquity%20final%20version.pdf https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-11421593 https://www.wessexarch.co.uk/our-work/explore-stonehenge-landscape Image Sources: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stonehenge_Cremation.jpg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stonehenge_phase_one.jpg
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Text Comments (1419)
Arvind Talukdar (1 day ago)
I’m thinking it was Neanderthals who went extinct.
Taranis Spatula (2 days ago)
So we don't know how they moved the stones, only that they did (but it wasn't magic).... Well Alister Crowley (apparently a top authority on the matter) said that "magic" is defined as "the art and science of causing change in accordance with the will". Now I'm assuming it must have taken an absolutely incredible mastery of will to move those stones without modern technology!! So perhaps maybe we can guess it was done by "magic" (atleast according to the Alister Crowley definition anyway)...
Canis Poetam (2 days ago)
_a new theory says that, while the ancient builders didn't have wheels, they may well have had balls._ https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/12/101210-stonehenge-balls-ball-bearings-science-rolled/ So is that theory no longer in vogue? .
The Angry Economist (4 days ago)
the way this guy talks it is as if the Stonehenge is a greater marvel than the pyramids where 75t granite rocks were lifted hundreds of meters into the sky, also his theories on how it was built are beyond sketchy without any evidence. If they could move these rocks with ramps and pulleys, then why hasn't anyone bothered to replicate it? Dislike from me for the poor scientific research on the matter. Also to suggest there were lots of people involved in moving these rocks means the society was sufficiently organised to do so. I'm not going to help move a rock if I don't have any reason to do so, and which one is it, ramps and pulleys or lots of people?
Danny M (5 days ago)
To be fair they could have dragged them there on a wooden sledge, considering it took 1500 years to complete.
MrStarfox1980 (7 days ago)
maybe they were buried there due to religious beliefs.
Fewyouknewme be for (8 days ago)
before the myceneans and the minoians there were the minians , they were known for theyre megastructure abilities
yawning here (8 days ago)
“WHATS THE MEANING OF STONEHENGE?”
Norry Shauck (9 days ago)
Your mistake is thinking that Merlin wasn’t born until after Camelot was a kingdom. He’s an immortal Demi god, he doesn’t care if you believe he built or not cause he’s cool like that. I was hoping you would talk about the druids and how the site has long been a Celtic and Norse religion holy site. You kind of disregarded the fact that one of the main reasons people have come to Stonehenge for thousands of years is that it is a religious holy site.
Lukeamania (9 days ago)
Wally Wallington from Michigan built a Stonehenge in his back yard all by himself. It's not that hard. Look it up.
Mort (9 days ago)
There are henges all over the world dating from tue same time. From the amazon ,to egypt. There WAS an advanced lost civilization.
Merlin
Jared Sundstrom (10 days ago)
In my opinion, I think the reason stonehenge was built was because of religion. I think the people made it to show their devotion to their God(s). Maybe production eventually ceased because the people eventually died out before it could be totally finished. Again, just a theory but it's the one that makes sense to me
Danny Flo (10 days ago)
I was hoping you would say ancient robot alien wizards built Stonehenge
Ricky Barber (10 days ago)
Having tonnes of fun.
Ricky Barber (10 days ago)
Stonehenge was built to keep people like you, scratching your heads. 😊
Ricky Barber (10 days ago)
Maybe they had VERY STRONG MULES to move the rocks. 😳
Ricky Barber (10 days ago)
Rocks are older than dirt. 😮
Ricky Barber (10 days ago)
Flintstones had Rockeia. 😝
Ricky Barber (10 days ago)
1500 years? Must have been Union controlled. 😒
Ricky Barber (10 days ago)
Autoplay never pauses on Ads, ever notice that? 😅
Steven Davidson (12 days ago)
Funny they don't tell you that the stones where moved in 1950 ish
Anonymous bub (12 days ago)
Century.4
Iforgotmypen (15 days ago)
it looks like he wearing those old timey long johns with the trap door😂
Karl Slicher (16 days ago)
Mushroom temple. Magic traded for manpower.
Jason Gascoigne (17 days ago)
Wally wallington knows how it was built Google him
michael browne (17 days ago)
It was giants obviously but that goes against evolution so we are told its not giants even though history tells us it was giants lol. Ignorance of history
sweiland75 (18 days ago)
Did nobody who lived around that time actually write about Stonehenge?
dowingba (18 days ago)
Obviously the answer is that Merlin could (or *can*) time travel.
Justin Mabe (18 days ago)
i was browsing ikea for a new bed when he said that 5:27
TheFourthWinchester (18 days ago)
Wonder what you people would think if u saw ancient Hindu temples which are not only gigantic, but also filled with intricate carvings and complex, precise mathematical methods in its design. Hauling megaton rocks is relatively quite easy and requires no aliens or God.
stxflyer (20 days ago)
If I remember correctly, Stonehenge is part of a series of monuments that stretch out for about 100 km.
stxflyer (20 days ago)
Geoffery of Monmouth should be tRUMP's biographer.
theodore j (20 days ago)
I think it was the road first, then the ditch henge. Enjoyable upload
Ape X (22 days ago)
With all the radiation from space and produced by us over our existence makes carbon dating useless, don't get me started on the different materials they can consist of.
Ryan (22 days ago)
If by wizards u mean interdementional aliens than yes... they built it
Jin Kim (24 days ago)
Actually... if we're assuming real wizards existed, we may have to assume the legends about them are also true. It should be noted that some wizards were known to age very slowly or not at all, and since there's no clear evidence to suggest when Merlin was born, he could've been thousands of years old when he met the young Arthur, and could've built Stonehenge some time in the past. Just saying. It's too early to rule out wizards at this point simply relying on carbon dating.
sueycoo (26 days ago)
I’m thinking it would be pretty easy to carry the stones over ice btw, you could slide em for miles with minimal effort.
Galadhrim Silverleaf (26 days ago)
I really think people were probably very bored back then. Part of me wonders if all these megastructures were to keep people busy as much as a status symbols or religious purposes.
whk wole (26 days ago)
SciShow/Hank Green : I believe the stones at the Stonehenge are all artificial ones, made of cement. To find out, you only need to find one of the stones there whose crust has partially crumbled to reveal the stone's interior. The interior is of a different color from its crust, the surface and corners of the interior are very smooth as compared with the crust. It looks like a bronze, or iron or wood box. All these lead to the fact that all the stones are artificial. They were built right where they stand, never quarried from faraway, never transported for long distances, never cut to size. No aliens were involved.
Mark C (26 days ago)
Merlin did it.
Troy Thomas (27 days ago)
Wut dus radiocarboning bones hafta do wif stones?
Daniel Rhymes (27 days ago)
This reminds me of the Easter Island story - that the islanders told people the statues 'walked' to their destination, which was written off, but later they realised it only took about a dozen people with ropes to rock the statues back and forth and literally walk them at a pretty impressive pace. We constantly underestimate human strength and ingenuity.
Izeznoiz 411 (28 days ago)
Graham Hancock...enough said.
US (28 days ago)
So Virgins over the age of 30 built stonehenge?
Antonio Valerio (29 days ago)
TIL: it's called Stonehenge and not Stonehedge #TheMoreYouKnow
Freeda Peeple (29 days ago)
Even today, when they need to move a REALLY heavy load via highway, they can only go a few miles/kilometers per hour, and sometimes need special equipment as well. These people could do as well, or nearly so, with logs and sweat...
Синий киви (29 days ago)
Could it be the Celts or am I just wrong by thousands of years?
Синий киви (25 days ago)
+TheRandomHat JF Oh, ok. Thanks.
TheRandomHat JF (25 days ago)
Choco Tetra wrong by thousands of years. Stonehenge would’ve been built by the pre-indoeuropeans, the indoeuropeans being the ancestors to the majority of current day European and North Indian ethnicities.
Noodle Tribunal (1 month ago)
wait till bright insight finds out about this
Freeda Peeple (29 days ago)
He'd probably think it's Atlantis
Msmewgirl1995 (1 month ago)
I dunno, I still think Merlin built it. He's magic, he can time travel. ;)
Preston Irvin (1 month ago)
Stone henge is a hoax
Georgi Georgiev (1 month ago)
Just another SciShow lizardman trying to deny aliens.
Yu Tub (1 month ago)
Merlin didn't do it alone. He had help from the Transformers. Proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqEDenok4A4
Kathleen Faris (1 month ago)
Take that merlin
William Cyparski (1 month ago)
Hank For President!
Neil Osman (1 month ago)
HANK!!
Not Dave's Channel (1 month ago)
We shouldn't be surprised if huge resources went into moving stones to stonehenge. Medieval cathedrals took lifetimes to build at a cost vastly higher than any building today. Believing that you're honouring/appeasing a god/gods is a hell of an incentive. Moving some rocks from one end of Wiltshire to the other is a small price to pay for avoiding a failed harvest.
MrsSaxophonegirl (1 month ago)
Long ad pops up Me: well I guess I’ll watch a science ad about dinosaurs for science. 🤷🏼‍♀️
John Stewart (1 month ago)
I believe it was simply a Winter rendezvous site for a variety of tribes in the area. You needed to know where to go, when, and the site was under an umbrella of peace. You came to barter your excess for someone else’s.....I have flint and some dear skins that I would exchange for your daughter....
James Wilkins (1 month ago)
https://youtu.be/uYQBDhkBfr0 Here is the guy in Flint Michigan
James Wilkins (1 month ago)
Ever seen that guy in Flint, Michigan? He moves giant megaliths by himself no power no equipment.
Kate Groner (1 month ago)
Maybe they took ideas from the Egyptians
no way (1 month ago)
sailboats and canals perhaps
Peter Walker (1 month ago)
Portia and the ants built it.
dylan anderson (1 month ago)
I've always been fascinated by Stonehenge. Truly a marvel.
QapNPoo (1 month ago)
You cannot assume a frames and pulleys when there have never been any pieces of those found near these earthworks, nor anywhere else in humanity of that time. These may be simple machines, but the pulley is only around 3000 years old. You can not just assume aliens, however you are just as incorrect when making assumptions that they used technology which did not exist at the times.
stuffanthings (1 month ago)
you don't use wooden ramps and pulleys once the vertical stones are in place earth is filled so that the top stones could be dragged into place. Then the dirt is removed. Also please actually research the pronunciation of place names I live in Wiltshire and you butchered every name on the list.
David Anderson (1 month ago)
If human history has taught me anything it’s that people will literally do anything and accomplish more than anyone ever thought we could to try and build a bridge to the afterlife.
Michael Sullivan (1 month ago)
Couldn't a few beasts of burden, oxen etc moved them with the given technology rather.... easily?
Laurel Cook (1 month ago)
How stupid are scientists lmao 😂 The ancient people obviously built a nether portal system, that’s why you can’t find the route they took - you’re looking in the overworld. (Hopefully people know I’m making a Minecraft joke)
Still very impressive... That requires a lot of coordination throughout a series of lifetime
theonlyBenReese (1 month ago)
Lol to the very heavy Ikea furniture line! ROFL 🤣
Brallan Dublan (1 month ago)
I built it.
AlbertHofmann91 (1 month ago)
So in the experiment where they pulled a megalith on logs it was stated that the rock was about 1 ton. Didn't you say that some of the Stonehenge rocks were 22 tons? It seems like regardless of how many people you have pulling it 22 tons might be too much compressive force to roll over trees. They also didn't have roads so...
Terry Fulds (1 month ago)
Misinformation alert!!! Nobody thinks they used a frames to erect the stones anymore. They used dirt ramps and holes. They pushed the stones up the ramps and let them fall into the holes. That way the tops were at ground level, making placing the top piece easy. They then removed the dirt, making it LOOK like they raised giant stones. But they didn't, because wood isn't strong enough...
Imagine Studios (1 month ago)
One wizard: let's stack dominoes but use big ass rocks instead.....but leave it there. Other wizard: say no more fam.
Mark Kmiecik (2 months ago)
I found the original owner's manual in a trunk I bought at a garage sale in Bath.
foggle boggle (2 months ago)
if u look at stonehenge from a distance u can see in the ground shapes of the moon and planets but the pathway built by modern man cuts thru most of shapes left in ground its impossible to see the meaning of stonehenge thanks to idots
W0lfbane Shika (2 months ago)
Okay after a little research and reading a bit about the wooden posts made prior to the stonehenge I can only conclude this was an ancient burial site that advanced later on to a stone version with the resource of Stone taken from wales probably carried via rivers as suggested in the video and the slots carved using deer antlers (not bronze tools) using similar construction techniques as the Easter Island statues to pull the stones in place, this is considered a Dolmen site and very similar to the Megalithic tombs in Ireland the burial pits found there consist of human and pig remains which suggest not only a combination of ancient burial but that of human/pig sacrifice practiced by that of lesser known Pagan religions: Irish/Welsh maybe?
W0lfbane Shika (2 months ago)
This took far too much research to come to this conclusion - the Pig sacrifices I believe may have been in remembrance of the dead rather than of ritual practice as it would be disrespectful to practice paganism on top of an ancient burial site. I mean there are several Megalithic tombs scattered around why would you pick this place in particular to practice your religion - there's no rhyme or reason for it.
Ramshackle Alex (2 months ago)
Hank looks like he's wearing old-timey pyjamas in this video. Like the one-piece, bum-flapped kind.
Mrs Slippy (2 months ago)
I forget where I saw it, but I’ve also seen a video talking about the theory that the position of the stones is based on astrology like where the sun rises during the winter solstice and they used it as some sort of calendar or something. I’d be really interested to learn more about whether or not there is other evidence to back up that theory.
KilothATEOTT (2 months ago)
Human Ingenuity = Brute Force "Hey Kingsly, we gotta move these huge rocks, any ideas?" "Our greatest plan, it built the pyramids, it created the stonehenge, and it will create this too.... get as many people as possible and carry it." "You're a genius, sire!"
Skunko Hilarious (2 months ago)
No, jedi travelled from a galaxy far, far away and used the force to build stonehenge.
IcantSeeReplies (2 months ago)
So much for the idea that North Europeans thousands of years ago were primitive cave dwellers. Cough..Afrocentrists
Caio Macret (2 months ago)
Oblivion by Astor Piazzolla, the saddest song in the world! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF-IMQzd_Jo Adios Nonino by Piazzolla could also be but the first part is more "scary" than "sad" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTPec8z5vdY
Trevor Williams (2 months ago)
Hank, what's with the wizard beef?
acegeek (2 months ago)
This sounds like something an alien would say...
Ken O (2 months ago)
In the 1900s restorations / repairs were made to Stonehenge. So those actions must be considered when analyzing the structure. 1. http://blog.english-heritage.org.uk/stonehenge-100-years-of-care/ 2. http://blog.english-heritage.org.uk/stonehenge-100-years-of-care/repairing-stonehenge-1920/ 3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehenge#Archaeological_research_and_restoration
kalebjp 210 (2 months ago)
Yes wizards built Stonehenge. By wizards I mean me. I'm a wizard
Terncote (2 months ago)
Not Merlin? Too old for Merlin? What if Merlin was a time traveling wizard? Eh? Didn't thin k of that one, did you SciShow!
Kevin Benoit (2 months ago)
Do one on Göbekli Tepe next !!!
recon3113 (2 months ago)
So Space Wizards built it?!
BonkedByAScout (2 months ago)
Christ, why does this video keep coming up in my playlist? I've seen it like 10 times now and it's not even one of the better ones.
Mr Darkness (2 months ago)
Mby the stones were gifts and Stonehenge was a sign of peace between people hence why it is such a large feat, to show the dedication to the treaty
Mtrs besar (2 months ago)
It was built by modern mankind in 1920s using ancient stones https://www.exposingtruth.com/105-photos-stonehenge-constructed-modern-times/
KingIceHunter (2 months ago)
There was probably a rich person who was like: hmmmmm I want some giant rocks here.
Dan (2 months ago)
Based on this video, I think its construction went something like this: We build big pretty rock circle. First, we dig big circle ditch around rock circle place. *lots of digging* Okay, now we done that. Let us go get big rocks now. 500 years later: Okay, now we back with rocks. Now we put them up and make very pretty. 1000 years later: Yay! Now we done with big pretty rock circle! Why we build it again? We not sure, but must be very important!
Jack Ryan (2 months ago)
There's an awful lot of human history that we will never know, going back 10's of thousands of years.
david barnett (2 months ago)
Massive treaty between diffrent civilizations, a massive grave site to remind them not to fight because we all lay together in the end.
ANKUR DOME (2 months ago)
I built

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