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Stonehenge Rocks Come From Quarry In Pembrokeshire, Wales: Scientists

First Posted: 12/19/11 06:55 PM ET Updated: 12/19/11 06:55 PM ET

For the first time ever, scientists say they have determined the exact origins of some of the rocks that make up England's famous Stonehenge.

By studying the mineral make-up and texture of fragments of the stones, two geologists claim to have traced the rocks that form a horseshoe and the innermost ring of the prehistoric landmark to an outcropping 160 miles away, according to the BBC.

The rhyolite debitage rocks -- dubbed bluestones -- come from a 230-foot cluster in Pembrokeshire, Wales, called Craig Rhos-y-Felin, The Independent reports.

Though significant, the discovery by geologists Robert Ixer and Richard Bevins doesn't answer one of Stonehenge's biggest mysteries: How exactly the builders of the ancient site transported the rocks such a great distance.

Many experts believe that the rocks that make up Stonehenge were transported by humans overland or by water, but some contest they were moved to areas near the site by glaciers hundreds of thousands of years ago.

"Thanks to geological research, we now have a specific source for the rhyolite stones from which to work and an opportunity for archaeologists to answer the question that has been widely debated," Bevins told the BBC.

"It is important now that the research continues."

Stonehenge's larger rocks, known as sarsens, are believed to have been transported about 20 miles to the site from somewhere in Marlborough Downs hundreds of years after the arrival of the bluestones, Wired reports.

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Filed by Ben Muessig  |