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Related to Sarsen Stones: Henge


One of several large masses of silicified sandstone or conglomerate found on or near the ground surface in England and Brittany and believed to be the erosional remains of a sedimentary bed deposited during the Tertiary Period. These masses were used by Neolithic peoples as monoliths.

[Short for Sarsen stone, from Early Modern English Sarsen, variant of Saracen, Saracen, heathen, pagan (perhaps in reference to the use of sarsens in ancient monuments); see Saracen.]


(ˈsɑːsən) or


1. (Geological Science) geology a boulder of silicified sandstone, probably of Tertiary age, found in large numbers in S England
2. (Archaeology) such a stone used in a megalithic monument
Also called: greywether
[C17: probably a variant of Saracen]
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References in periodicals archive ?
The track to the right of the woods (4) meanders through gorse and sarsen stones, the latter used by prehistoric man in the building of Avebury and Stonehenge.
Most surprisingly, initial assessment of the survey has suggested that the 'grooves' resulting from stone dressing on some sarsen stones appear to be divided into sections, perhaps with different teams of Neolithic builders working on separate areas.
It went from having bluestones from South Wales to the huge Sarsen stones seen today.
He was a highly influential figure in British archaeology, and in his book "Stonehenge" he enthusiastically promoted the idea that both the sarsen stones and the bluestones had been hauled great distances by the builders of the monument.
Sarsen stones are 'sazzen' stones in the Wiltshire dialect ('sazzen' meaning 'season').
Prof Darvill, of Bournemouth University, said: "Sixty per cent of the bluestone was broken off compared to just five to 10 per cent of the large icon Sarsen stones.
As Dr Jordan suggests, Wiltshire might indeed be viewed as 'a vast ritual landscape' (44), where individual sarsen stones might have as much local importance as the elaborate arrangements of Avebury and Stonehenge.
The vicar once told me that the church stands on sarsen stones similar to those at Stonehenge and that the site has been a place of worship for millennia.
The next stage of development was setting up the sarsen stones in the early Bronze Age.
The sarsen stones, weighing up to fifty tons, were brought about twenty-five miles from quarries of Marlborough Downs.
The access tours can be taken at Dawn, or for late risers, at Dusk, when one can enter the circle privately and walk among the giant Sarsen stones weighing up to 50 tonnes each.
The research will also offer a better understanding of the dressing of the famous sarsen stones of Stonehenge and insights into how the public and private spaces at Durrington Walls and Stonehenge differ from each other.