special feature
Stonehenge experiment
P A N E L   T W O
Transporting a large stone
All the stones that make up Stonehenge were transported over varying terrain from up to 30 miles away. How would this have been done in the Neolithic Age and could it be done with limited manpower?
The team tried various methods. Hauling a concrete replica block with timber rollers underneath it was tested but the rollers were crushed by the weight and got stuck in the mud. Plus directional control was difficult.
The most successful method was the use of a timber sledge to haul the block along a greased timber slipway.
next panel >
This feature was sponsored by
| |
sign up for our newsletter
© 2018 Engineering Timelines
engineering timelines
explore ... how   explore ... why   explore ... where   explore ... who  
home  •  NEWS  •  search  •  FAQs  •  references  •  about  •  sponsors + links
Moving large stones in the Neolithic Age
evidence |  transporting a large stone |  how to rotate it |  getting a stone vertical
Illustrations © 2018 Paul Weston

home  •  news  •  search  •  FAQs  •  references  •  about  •  sponsors + links
The sledge
Made of oak — a slab 5m long,
1m wide and 300mm deep,
with a chamfered leading edge.

A rectangular
section keel was
attached to the
underside to secure
the sledge to the
20mm square-section
slipway. A proprietary
grease, chosen for its
similarity to tallow
(Neolithic equivalent),
was used for
To break the initial resistance caused by the combined friction load and sticking force, two teams of four people rocked the block using levers either side of the leading edge. Others maintained tension on the hauling ropes.

Once it started to move, the block was pulled along at a slow walking pace.

Once at the hole and to help it rotate, the block's 'tipping point' was moved forward by using a block underneath to raise the pivot axis plus additional stones on top, pulled forward

more >