Watch CBS News

Stonehenge Builders Said to Use Giant Wicker Baskets to Roll Massive Stones

Rolling a 4-ton stone some 200 miles from a Welsh quarry to the site that the world now knows as Stonehenge would have been a daunting enough challenge for even the hardiest of Neolithic-era laborers. There have been any number of explanations offered - the most recent coming last week when a University of Exeter archeology student suggested that wooden ball bearings balls placed in grooved wooden tracks would have facilitated the movement of the massive stone slabs.

A sketch illustrating how Neolithic-era men might have transported huge stone slabs to Stonehenge using giant wicker rollers and oxen. Garry Lavin
Now add another theory to the list. Engineer Garry Lavin, who also happens to be a former BBC presenter, is making the case that giant wicker baskets were deployed by the locals to roll the boulders all that way.

"I always thought that dragging these huge stones was physically impossible because of the friction on the surface," Lavin told the Daily Mail. "The key thing is the technology was always there around them....Woven structures were everywhere at the time, there are even wells which they have discovered were full with woven basketwork. It's just taking that technology and using it in a new way. It is not without some foundation. It was staring us in the face the whole time."

Over the summer, Lavin put his theory to the test and he said he successfully moved a one-ton stone in a wicker cage he constructed. Next one his list: Build a larger wicker cradle and try to transport a five-tone slab. He expects to be ready for that test just around summer solstice time next year.

Just in time to celebrate - if all goes well - at Stonehenge.
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.