Building a Neolithic Sled | Prehistoric Technology

Building a Neolithic Sled | Prehistoric Technology

Have you ever wondered how the people who
built Stonehenge, may have moved the stones? Well so have we. Here at Stonehenge we’ve been running some
experimental archaeology projects for a couple of years. Last year, we tried to move a stone
about the size of one of the lintels using rollers. This year we’re going to be testing
our new timber framed sledge to move the same stone. The project we’re doing today is an experimental
archaeology project and that involves using well researched authentic tools made in the
correct way. Using the techniques that we can find in the archaeological evidence to
produce the sledge. And the idea is that by combining those known methods and techniques
we can try and get to some of the unanswered questions that surround this kind of site.
First of all we have to take these whole logs and split them down into usable timbers and
we do that with wooden wedges and really it’s a case of driving a wooden wedge into the
log and actually controlling where the split runs to make the shapes we want. We then have
to reduce it in length and we’re doing that with our stone axes, cross cutting them which
is actually probably the hardest thing to do because you’re working directly against
the grain of the wood. And then the final process is to use an adze, and you actually
swing that between your legs and it skims off the surface of the wood. So we’re using
the adzes to turn a sort of pie-shaped quarter of a log into a rectangular timber, so that
we can actually start to joint it really precisely. So we don’t know how long it would have
taken them to build a sledge like this but the only way we can try to get to that answer
is to time everything we’re doing and then that will give us some idea as to how long
it might have taken. So the lessons we’re learning from this project are that first
of all we’re modern humans and our volunteers understandably on day three are just getting
used to the tools so they’re producing surfaces and they’re using tools well but there is
a long, long way to go before we reach the level of sophistication of Neolithic carpenters. I find this whole subject really fascinating
because actually we tend to see the stone remains of the late Stone Age but actually
what we’re missing is that incredible timber infrastructure that must have gone with it
and so we can see the sophistication of the mortise and tenon joints at Stonehenge itself
but to create the frameworks that must have put those stones in place they would have
been using similar joints and even more advance joints in the timberwork they were doing.
So in short I think we always underestimate the sophistication of people, not just in
the Neolithic but further back into the Stone Age, simply because we’re no longer capable
of using the tools to the same degree that they would have used them every day. We haven’t
started at the age of six or seven. We haven’t made our own tools and got used to exactly
how they work. So we’re always sort of approaching it from five steps behind where they would
have been. So once the carpentry has been completed we
take our 16 different pieces of timber and we have to construct them around the monolith.
So the sledge is now finished and what we’ve found during the course of this project is
that it’s about five times slower to use a stone tool than it is to use a metal tool.
So the aim of the sledge is to test it of course, so what we’ve got planned is a course,
and we’re going to drag the sledge down a course that is measured and we’re also
going to try and drag it on grass so we want to test all of those things and get the public
involved to really see whether it would be efficient or less efficient to use a sledge.

Antonio Breitenberg

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20 thoughts on “Building a Neolithic Sled | Prehistoric Technology

  1. Nirvana Asmr says:

    Amazing 😍

  2. Lexie Madz says:

    It was aliens👽 Sorry… I had to. I got the first comment 😉 Cool video!🤓❤️

  3. Ludwig van Beethoven says:


  4. debbie boring says:

    I know what you are doing but please use back braces. We don't want any back boo boos. Will be looking forward to see how it goes.

  5. 3DaysAgo says:

    It is amazing that they may have used such sophisticated wooden frames to move the stones so that they could built a structure to make astronomical observations and yet their hammers were huge pieces of log. Come on people.

  6. Sofía Juárez says:

    Wow 😍

  7. AMFR Guitar says:

    Primitive technology is still just that…technology. We forget that our ancestors were big brained humans just like us. God bless human ingenuity.

  8. Anita Szymanski says:


  9. Markvincent Bonachita says:

    Good to see this person doing something quite amazing.

  10. Eric Eaton says:

    Lots of hard work and looks fantastic however, I'd like to see the process used to load that stone onto that sled. Hopefully in the next video.

  11. Julie Baker says:

    So you figured out how they were able to move such heavy stones around (maybe). Now for the $64 question….how were they able to put them up on top of the upright stones? And for the bonus round….how were they able to stand THOSE stones up on end in the first place

  12. Madeline Bailey says:

    I really appreciate the time and effort you put into this! Well done 👍

  13. Leonidas Piledriver says:

    Not gonna lie, Im a bit pissed off it wasn't Mrs Crocombe building it

  14. Carnelian Topsoil says:

    Watch videos of the guy moving his house with pebbles and you'll know how they moved these stones

  15. Ben Canevari says:

    Here's a very simple solution. The stones in Stonehenge were already in the immediate area and all they had to do was use manpower and very primitive technology to manipulate the stones in the way they are seen today.

  16. Laura Metheny says:

    Fascinating! I hope I will get to watch you test it…from my "armchair". Sadly that is the closest I will get. But thankyou guys all so much for making that possible. God bless😘🇬🇧🤘

  17. FOOD by Lyds says:

    Interesting! I've always wondered how the stones were moved at Stonehenge

  18. bremda miller says:

    Anyone that has played Dawn of Man knows you need 6 wood and 2 leather to build a sled. As for moving it expect about a third of your population to either starve or freeze to death before they make it back to the village. 🙂

  19. Suzanne Berry says:

    Time Team would have made a great special of this.

  20. blóma mun sigra says:

    i would really love to endeavor into experimental archeology one day.

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