Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 13 July 2020

Stonehenge's pieces slot together like Lego bricks, rare photo shows

'Ah, where it all began,' the toymaker joked of the image

Newly released photos of Stonehenge's towers show that they link together much like Lego building blocks. Getty Images 
Newly released photos of Stonehenge's towers show that they link together much like Lego building blocks. Getty Images 

As far as wholesome social media exchanges go, it does not get much better than Lego and Stonehenge, who had a little back-and-forth on Twitter earlier this week.

The team that runs the social media accounts for the famed prehistoric stone monument in the south of England tweeted a photo from the top of one of the landmark's protruding stones, pointing out that they work a little like the popular Danish toy brand's blocks.

"This is a rarely seen view of the top of one of the giant sarsen stones," Stonehenge teamwrote.

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

The toy brand replied a few days later, tweeting: "Ah, where it all began", with a heart emoji.

A diagram from the Historic England archive demonstrates the way that the Lego-like joints slot together. It is much more common to find these joints in woodwork than stonework.

A diagram showing the Lego-like joints used in the outer sarsen circle. Courtesy Historic England Photo Library / illustration by Peter Dunn
A diagram showing the Lego-like joints used in Stonehenge's outer sarsen circle. Courtesy Historic England Photo Library / illustration by Peter Dunn

Stonehenge is considered to be one of the most important ancient monuments in Britain, with construction dating back to between 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The site was added to Unesco's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986.

English Heritage explains: "The first monument at Stonehenge was a circular earthwork enclosure, built in about 3000 BC.

"A ditch was dug with simple antler tools, and the chalk piled up to make an inner and an outer bank. Within the ditch was a ring of 56 timber or stone posts. The monument was used as a cremation cemetery for several hundred years.

"In about 2500 BC, the site was transformed by the construction of the central stone settings. Enormous sarsen stones and smaller bluestones were raised to form a unique monument. Building Stonehenge took huge effort from hundreds of well-organised people."

In line with UK government guidelines aimed to curb the spread of Covid-19, Stonehenge is currently closed to the public.

A Lego Stonehenge

As it stands, you cannot buy a Lego version of the British monument to build at home. However, there are plenty of Unesco World Heritage Sites that can be recreated with the little bricks.

India's Taj Mahal can be duplicated with Lego, just one of the Unesco World Heritage Sites that can be recreated. Courtesy Lego 
India's Taj Mahal can be duplicated with Lego, just one of the Unesco World Heritage Sites that can be recreated. Courtesy Lego

India's Taj Mahal can be scaled down and duplicated in 5,923 bricks; Italy's Leaning Tower of Pisa comes as part of a less-intricate 345-piece set; and the Great Wall of China (or at least a portion of it) can be built at home with 551 Lego bricks.

Updated: April 16, 2020 11:51 AM

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