Blog Post

Stonehenge Hoax – Dating the Monument

Could Antler Picks build these Monuments……………….. (Extract from the Book The Great Stonehenge Hoax- dating the monument)

The Problem

The first time real science could be used to date the ancient monument was when archaeologists   ‘carbon dated’ the antler picks found within the ditch of the site – as it was assumed that these were the tools used to dig the ditches, which they had been discarded as a ‘ritual’ to the bottom of the trench once it was completed.  Since then, archaeologists have attempted to justify these dates with all new finds on the site and have rejected as anomalies all other radio carn dates that don’t match its ‘established’ timescale.

The Solution

A type of tool found widely among the sites of Neolithic communities in North-Western Europe.  They are formed from a red-deer antler from which all but the brow tine has been removed; the beam forms the handle, and the brow tine the ‘pick’.  They were used for excavating soil and quarrying out stone and bedrock.  The marks left by their use have been detected on the sides of ditches, pits, and shafts.  Experiments suggest that they were used more like levers than the kind of pickaxe swung from over the shoulder.  (Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology)

If you read any book or watch a program about archaeology and the construction of their monuments and sites, you will hear the experts talk about finding antler picks in the general vicinity and linking the structure with these objects.  As the description above indicates, these ‘tools’ are from red deer, which shed these natural growths annually.

According to archaeologists, this was the primary tool of prehistoric people – a natural resource that became a handy tool in excavating the ditches and digging holes in the chalk bedrock that surrounded most of their sites.  This is where the Victorian term ‘antler picks’ originates and still exists today, but for an unknown reason, this tool has now changed its use  (but not its name),  as archaeologists have now realised that if these ‘antlers’ were used to cut into hard bedrock chalk, they would leave blunt ends and scars from flint re-sharpening, which there is no evidence. 

Yet, if you look at any prehistoric report about the monument’s construction, you find a degree of ‘acceptance’ that antlers were used as the primary source of digging out the chalk downlands.  For example, here is a typical report from English Heritage’s ‘bible’ (Stonehenge in its landscape, 1995, Cleal et al.) and the use of Antler picks.

Typical Antler - Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)
Typical Antler – Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)

“Over 130 antler implements are known to survive from excavations by Gowland, Hawley, and Atkinson et al.  Antler implements have frequently been associated with Neolithic and Early Bronze Age monuments in Britain located on chalk or limestone, and it is generally assumed that they were the principal implements used in the digging of ditches, postholes and stone holes.

In a paper on the Neolithic, engineer Atkinson (1961) wrote, “the tools used – antler picks, bone wedges and occasionally stone axes – are well-known and require no further discussion.  However, some of the generalisations made in the literature about antler implements require modification in the light of the finds from Stonehenge.”

The Victorian Archaeologists found antlers all over Stonehenge, particularly in the ditches that had filled up over the years.  So, the conclusion ‘was that no other tools’ – apart from antlers and bone parts had been used as these were the only remains found.  However, the only part of the antler that could successfully break the solid chalk is the harder ‘tines’.

English Heritage Display of Finds from Stonehenge showing Antlers with broken and not blunt tines - Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)
English Heritage Display of Finds from Stonehenge showing Antlers with broken and not blunt tines – Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)

The problem with the tines is that they all grow the same way, and so they would not naturally allow a clean strike at the chalk bedrock if used like a ‘pickaxe’ unless you removed two of the three tines.   And hence the ‘gobbledygook’ sorry line in the Atkinson’s report which says that “methods of modification and the forms of the picks are more varied than has been hitherto appreciated”.

If we are the seeing systematic use and preparation of these tools (as has been suggested by archaeologists in the past), we should first see two clean cuts with a stone axe or cutter to ‘prune’ the antler and then secondly blunt and reshaped tines with compression strikes from a stone or another blunted instrument on the antler stem behind the tine spike – but we don’t!

How a Antler pick should look like if it was to work - Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)
How a Antler pick should look like if it was to work – Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)

Of the 118 antler picks found at Stonehenge, 82 antlers had the harder tines attached.  Of the 82 with tines – only 25 had the other two smaller tines removed to make them usable; this is only 21% of the antler finds.   Moreover, none of the 25 picks that could have been used had compression marks or signs of sharpening.

Remembering, these 25 picks were the entire finds within the Stonehenge area, which archaeologists have suggested was constructed in three phases over 700 years.

Grimes Graves Antler with flat point from use - Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)
Grimes Graves Antler with flat point from use – Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)

Moreover, in Phase I of the Ditch, Bank and the construction of the Aubrey holes (which would have contained the Bluestones from Wales).  It has been estimated that these tools needed to remove 87,000 cubic feet of chalk, taking 30,000 working hours.  Yet, according to the location where the discarded antlers were found, only seven suitable antlers were available with the correct tines removed; this would mean that each whole antler had removed 12,429 cubic feet without damage.

Sadly, even more implausible, we have not even considered the size of the antler.  The bigger, the better (more robust), and the more extended the antler, the better the levering motion and ability to remove the chalk blocks easily. 

This being the case, they must have used the most massive antlers possible, especially considering the enormous number of Deer in Britain in prehistoric times compared to today.  Furthermore, bucks shed their antlers annually; there are 1.5 million Red Deers in Britain – therefore, the builders of Stonehenge could have chosen the best from at least a million shed antlers.

However, the evidence shows that this was far from the truth.  The distribution analysis shows that the sizes varied greatly with the number of antlers found.  The average length of a typical antler found at Stonehenge is just 210mm (8.5″), and some antlers are as small as 150mm (6 inches) in size – compared to the most significant found, which was 299mm (12 inches) in length, and only one of this size was found.  Antlers typically measure 710mm (28 in) in total length, although large ones can grow to 1150 mm (45 in). Consequently, they used the most inferior antlers available?

The statistics we have obtained from English Heritage ‘could be much better’ and more accurate as they only measure the distance between the bur (the thickest part attached to the head) and the trez, which is the third tine up from the base bur.  The Trez is not the strongest tine on the antler – that is the brow.  However, there are so few antlers cut to this correct and more effective way that EH decided on this unorthodox method to compare sizes – even so, we can see these antlers were not selected for their size.  The Average size (distance from Bur to Trez) was 190mm (7.5″), some as small as 110mm (4″) – compared to the largest again available of 410mm (16″).

This strange lack of evidence can also be seen in other monuments where even greater numbers of ‘antler picks’ would be required – but have not been found.  Such as Avebury, which has one of the most significant monuments in Britain containing three stone circles within.   Current archaeological estimates suggest that it took 1.5 million working hours to build the Avebury monument, including digging out 3.4 million cubic feet of chalk, which is forty times larger than Stonehenge.

1922 Avebury excavation - Dating the monument (Stonehenge)
1922 Avebury excavation – Dating the mounument (Stonehenge)

Excavation at Avebury has been limited.  In 1894, Sir Henry Meux put a trench through the bank, which gave the first indication that the earthwork was built in two phases.  The site was surveyed and excavated intermittently between 1908 and 1922 by a team of workmen under the direction of Harold St George Gray.  He could demonstrate that the Avebury builders had dug down 11 metres (36 ft) into the natural chalk using ‘red deer antlers’ as their primary digging tool, producing a henge ditch with a 9-metre (30 ft) high bank around its perimeter.  Gray recorded the base of the ditch as being four metres (13 ft) wide and flat, but later archaeologists have questioned his use of untrained labour to excavate the ditch and suggested that its form may have been different.  Gray found few artefacts in the ditch-fill, but he did recover scattered human bones, among which jawbones were particularly well represented.  At a depth of about two metres (7 ft), Gray found the complete skeleton of a 1.5-metre (5 ft) tall woman.  (Wikipedia)

Grey cut through the ditch and suggests the tools that built this structure, but the expected vast amounts of abandoned antler picks from their labour are minimal to non-existent.  The reality is that he found more human bones than antlers.

Used Neolithic Stone Axes found in Central Europe – a far more intelligent choice than an Antler? - Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)
Used Neolithic Stone Axes found in Central Europe – a far more intelligent choice than an Antler? – Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)

To highlight the absurdity of this antler myth, we need not look any further than English Heritage’s publication called ‘Radiocarbon Dates, from samples funded by English heritage from 1981 – 1988’ – one would imagine that if we scratch below the surface of these monuments, the broken remains of the tools used to build these magnificent constructions would be obvious.  Instead, however, the book tells another story.

Of all the samples found, ‘Antler’ was the second smallest behind Animal Bone, Human Bone, Wood and Charcoal by a large margin.  Animal Bones fragments were three times larger than antlers.  However, human bones were five times the most significant find – the reality is they found only three pieces of antler (one from the bank of Avebury in 1937,  one from West Kennet Avenue and one from the Avebury ditch in 1909), and even then, we are not sure what parts of the antler were found.

What was found in the Avebury Ditch - Dating the monument (Stonehenge)
What was found in the Avebury Ditch – Dating the monument (Stonehenge)

Therefore, how can a scientific discipline claim that these features were made from antler picks and shoulder blade shovels when only one antler fragment was ever carbon-dated at Avebury?

The truth is that this myth has grown around the excavations in the last century at Stonehenge when the archaeologists found antler picks in the ditches.  Carbon dating was a new science in the 1950s, and only organic samples could be dated – therefore, antler picks were perfect for testing out this unique dating process, and the site had just been ‘revamped’ by the ministry of works in 1958, to become a new tourist attraction – adding paths, concreting prehistoric sarsen stones and rehanging lintels. 

Stone Axe used to cut ditches - Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)
Stone Axe used to cut ditches – Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)

Therefore, a new date in the distant past was excellent news for the media, and consequently, the archaeological circus started and has never finished – with a constant need for publicity rather than sound science.

The reality is that rather than using antler picks to build these monuments, the workers used a much more resilient and more practical tool which we know does not break as often and was abundant at the time of the construction of these sites – the stone axe.

This is the ONLY tool that could have been used to cut down the trees for these monuments – yet they put it away to use an inefficient antler tool when digging out either pits or ditches?  Such an idea is so absurd that it does question the expertise of those who continually suggest that the antler pick was used for such tasks and that the construction dates based on these tools are accurate.

Moreover, some have broken ranks in recent years and offered tantalising clues on a more rational explanation of our history and the deception game being played by academia  Mike Parker-Pearson in his book ‘Stonehenge’ revealed that they found ‘cut marks’ in the chalk in an excavation at Durrington Walls (Woodhenge) that looked like it was made from a ‘metal’ instrument.

This would make a lot more sense than current archaeological theories – but what is the big deal if this was true.  Why not accept the evidence and go forward with these more practical metal tools?

Copper Axes also available at the time of these monuments’ construction - Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)
Copper Axes also available at the time of these monuments’ construction – Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)

Well, this is when archaeology ‘digs’ itself into a giant theoretical hole as metals (such as Bronze) were supposedly not invented until AFTER 2500 BCE in Britain (hence the Victorian term of the ‘Bronze Age’ – 2500BCE to 70BCE), 800 years before the supposed build date of Stonehenge. 

However, we now know that bronze and copper axes were available elsewhere in Central Europe and the Mediterranean thousands of years earlier.  And it is pretty feasible that these tools were available as we now believe we have been trading with Europe since the Mesolithic period.  As we have found boat yards (at the bottom of the Solent) that travelled to Anatolia for grain in the 6th Millennium BCE.

Central Mesolithic European Grave with Bronze Axes 5000 BCE - Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)
Central Mesolithic European Grave with Bronze Axes 5000 BCE – Dating the Monument (Stonehenge)

Further Reading

For information about British Prehistory, visit for the most extensive archaeology blogs and investigations collection, including modern LiDAR reports.  This site also includes extracts and articles from the Robert John Langdon Trilogy about Britain in the Prehistoric period, including titles such as The Stonehenge Enigma, Dawn of the Lost Civilisation and the ultimate proof of Post Glacial Flooding and the landscape we see today.

Robert John Langdon has also created a YouTube web channel with over 100 investigations and video documentaries to support his classic trilogy (Prehistoric Britain). He has also released a collection of strange coincidences that he calls ‘13 Things that Don’t Make Sense in History’ and his recent discovery of a lost Stone Avenue at Avebury in Wiltshire called ‘Silbury Avenue – the Lost Stone Avenue’.

Langdon has also produced a series of ‘shorts’, which are extracts from his main body of books:

The Ancient Mariners

Stonehenge Built 8300 BCE

Old Sarum

Prehistoric Rivers

Dykes ditches and Earthworks

Echoes of Atlantis

Homo Superior

For active discussions on the findings of the TRILOGY and recent LiDAR investigations that are published on our WEBSITE, you can join our and leave a message or join the debate on our Facebook Group.