Stonehenge is by far the most famous site in Europe, and it has been puzzling scientists since forever. But, new research revealed that Stonehenge-like ancient sites exist all over Europe, with the most intriguing ones being in France, Portugal, Italy, and the UK.
But that’s not all! The new study also revealed that neither Stonehenge nor other ancient sites in the Middle East and Mediterranean region represented the beginning of these megalithic structures scattered across Europe. In reality, it all started 7,000 years ago in Brittany, in Northwestern France, where an ancient hunter-gatherer civilization built the first such site. And those people were also excellent boaters so that they spread their culture and religious beliefs to other regions by sea.
“This demonstrates absolutely that Brittany is the origin of the European megalithic phenomenon,” explained Michael Parker Pearson, an archaeologist and Stonehenge specialist from the University College London, in the UK.
Stonehenge-like Ancient Sites Exist All Over Europe
About 20 years ago, another Stonehenge-like ancient site was unearthed in Portugal. That was the work of Bettina Schulz Paulsson, a prehistoric archaeologist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and the new study’s leading author. She was impressed by her findings and wanted to find the secrets behind these megalithic structures.
“Everyone told me, ‘You’re crazy, it can’t be done.’ But I decided to do it anyway,” Bettina Schulz Paulsson said. As she said, she went for it and started to date Stonehenge-like ancient sites across Europe. And that’s how she found out that one particular megalithic structure from Brittany, in France, is the oldest such site in Europe, dating to about 5,000 BC (about 7,000 years old).
By about 4,300 BC, Stonehenge-like sites became to populate southern France coastlines, the British Isles, Portugal, and even Italy and other Mediterranean regions. Accordingly, Stonehenge, which emerged around 2,400 BC, is just a young megalithic structure in comparison with the 7,000-year-old ancient site from Brittany, France.
With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.