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Archeologist, Dr. Aubrey Burl
"It is a lovely romantic story"
 real 28k

Project co-ordinator Phillip Bowen
"Volunteers' enthusiasm is overwhelming"
 real 28k

Saturday, 8 April, 2000, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Mammoth Stonehenge trek starts
Moving the stone will take five months
An ambitious project to follow in the footsteps of the builders of Stonehenge begins on Saturday.

A group of about 300 volunteers will move a three-ton piece of bluestone 240 miles from the Preseli Mountains in west Wales to the ancient site in Wiltshire.

Click here to see the route

The journey was first made 4,500 years ago - and like Stone Age man the volunteers behind the project will not have the benefit of modern forms of transport.

Organisers hope the trek will demonstrate how our ancestors may have built Stonehenge - by using a wooden sledge to drag the stone overland and a replica Neolithic boat to transport it across the Bristol Channel.

The stone will be loaded on Stone Age boats called currachs for the journey across the Bristol Channel before being transported along the River Avon to the Kennet and Avon Canal.

100,000 grant

It will then be dragged the final 26 miles to the Stonehenge site.

The volunteers will work in teams of up to 40, with most of the journey being made at weekends. They expect to travel around three miles a day during the land journey.

The National Lottery-funded Millennium Stone Project is being funded by a 100,000 Heritage Lottery grant.

Project co-ordinator Phillip Bowen has got nothing but praise for the volunteers.

He said: "Their first reaction is amazement and they cannot believe what we are asking them to do, but once they learn a bit more about it, their enthusiasm is overwhelming."

Never happened

But some scientific experts question whether the stones were dragged to Stonehenge at all.

Archeologist Dr. Aubrey Burl thinks they arrived there through glaciation.

"It is a lovely romantic story all this great effort of dragging stones and rafting stones and then putting them along rivers and in the end reaching Salisbury Plain.

"It is a wonderful story but I think it is only just over 70 years old -it is not a pre-historic story, it is a recent one, he said."

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09 Nov 99 | Sci/Tech
Facing up to the Stone Age
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