The famous standing stones in Wiltshire have been baffling people for centuries and it is thanks to aerial photos from a hot air balloon that some of these questions have been answered.
Visitors come from far and wide to see the stone circle and yet until recently there has been little understanding about why the stone circle was built in the way it was, in the place it was, or the purpose of the mystic structure.
This month, the aerial photography of a hot air balloonist have helped to unveil some of the mystery about how these stones were put together. Brand new photography reveals that these stones – which were transported to this site from Wales – were fixed using a system of mortise and tenons to hold the stones together. The tenon is a peg-like protrusion, whilst the mortice is a hollowing in the stone to keep the arrangement in place.
This technique of grooves and tongues is more often seen in carpentry than masonry. Local specialists have suggested it is akin to the techniques through which Lego pieces stick together. This finding could only be confirmed thanks to the unusual perspective afforded these experts by the aerial vantage point of a hot air balloon.
All this demonstrates that the stones were considered to be extremely important to these Neolithic era builders, and they intended the structure to withstand the elements for centuries to come. The hot air balloon’s find also reveals information about Bronze Age engineering capacities that we had perhaps underestimated.
We offer hot air balloon adventures over nearby Bath, Bristol and near the stones’ own birthplace of South Wales. Take to the skies to get your own taste of the magic that Bronze Age builders and mystics in this region were perhaps trying to pay homage to.