Rare photo shows Stonehenge was built 'like Lego' using carved studs and holes

A RARE aerial photo highlights how prehistoric Brits built Stonehenge thousands of years ago.

The image shows studs carved into the monument that allowed its huge stones to be slotted together at the mysterious site in Wiltshire – a bit like early Lego.

Posted by English Heritage on social media, the fascinating photo shows an aerial view of one of the sarsen blocks, the larger stone's that form the site's outer perimeter.

Clearly visible on top are markings similar to those of a woodworking method called a mortise and tenon joint.

A mortise and tenon joint functions by inserting one end of a piece of material – usually wood – into a hole in another piece.

English Heritage, which looks after the ancient site, wrote that the protruding lumps would have been used to connect with the holes in other blocks.

Stonehenge, located near Amesbury, Wiltshire, is estimated to have been built around 3,000 BC – thousands of years before the iconic toy blocks were invented.

The method used to connect the stones was far more sophisticated than that used on other stone circles of the era and has led experts to speculate that its builders wanted it to stand the test of time.

In a tweet, English Heritage said: "This is a rarely seen view of the top of one of the giant sarsen stones.

"The protruding tenons are clearing visible and the corresponding horizontal lintel stone would have had mortise holes for them to slot into. A bit like early Lego!"

What is Stonehenge?

What you need to know about Britain's most mysterious monument

  • Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire
  • It's a ring of standing stones that measure around 13 feet high and seven feet wide
  • Each stone weighs roughly 25 tons
  • Experts say that the monument was constructed between 3000 and 2000 BC
  • In 1882, it was legally protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument
  • And in 1986, the site and surroundings became a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Stonehenge itself is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage
  • But the land around Stonehenge is owned by the National Trust
  • Part of what makes Stonehenge so mysterious is that it was produced by a culture with no written records
  • Scientists regularly debate over how and why Stonehenge was built, and what it was used for
  • One theory suggests Stonehenge was a sacred burial site
  • Another proposes that it was used for celestial and astronomical alignments
  • And some think it was an ancient place of healing
  • It used to be believed that it was created as a Druid temple
  • But we now know that Stonehenge predated the Druids by around 2000 years

The charity's Susan Greaney said: "One of the big questions is why Stonehenge was constructed with such precision engineering. It may well be simply that they wanted to make sure it lasted a very long time.

"Putting unworked sarsens as lintels on top of the uprights would have been pretty unstable.

She added: "Our presumption is there were similar timber monuments at the time in which mortise and tenon joints were probably being used.

"They don't survive because they have rotted away. Stonehenge is the only one we have with this sort of working and shaping. It's exactly like Lego. We sometimes say to our schoolchildren who visit that Stonehenge is just like Lego."

The method clearly worked: Seventeen of the original 30 stones are still standing, while five of its horizontal blocks – called lintels – are also still in place.

The popular tourist spot is currently closed due to the current global pandemic.

The Lego Group began making its famous plastic interlocking blocks in 1949.

A Lego spokesperson said: “As a company that aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, it was something of a surprise to see us linked to prehistoric builders; but we were humbled to be mentioned by English Heritage in their tweet comparing the monuments’s stones with Lego bricks.”

In other news, the mystery over who built Stonehenge may finally have been solved after experts uncovered "Britain’s first city" a mile away.

The face of a 1,000-year-old Viking warrior woman with a gruesome battle wound across her skull has been revealed.

And, a lost Bronze Age stone circle used for ancient rituals has been uncovered in Gloucestershire by laser scanning.

What do you think of the Stonehenge finding? Let us know in the comments!

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