Archaeologists were “almost on the verge of giving up” when they made their “amazing” discovery about Stonehenge, said television scientist Professor Alice Roberts.
Experts believe that “they may have rediscovered the true origins of the ancient monument”.
It is now believed that Stonehenge’s smaller bluestones originally formed an even older, long-lost monument in the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Prof. Roberts presents a BBC broadcast, Stonehenge: The Lost Circle Revealed, which followed archaeologists over years of excavation and a decade of research.
The results of Professor Mike Parker Pearson now show “that the original stones of Britain’s most famous monument had an earlier life”.
Moderator Prof. Roberts said the archaeologists are “always against”.
She said of her research and digging, “You had a terrible time. You’ve been doing this for about 10 years.
“They looked in many different places and found nothing.
“You were almost on the verge of giving up and then you went to this special place called Waun Mawn.”
The website was previously described as “dubious and insignificant”.
But “they decided to dig anyway and see if they could find something, and they found these ghosts made out of stone holes …”
She added, “And they were exactly the same diameter as the outer circle in Stonehenge.
“It’s just amazing stuff, incredible archeology.”
And Prof. Roberts quipped: “On the one hand, it shows that Stonehenge is a second-hand monument!
“It wasn’t originally set up there. It was set up in West Wales.”
The former Time Team star said the find was “the most exciting archeology in Stonehenge that certainly happened in my lifetime”.
The host added, “It’s incredibly exciting.
“When I first heard about it, I didn’t believe it at all.”
But she added from Prof. Pearson: “He appears to have found the origin of the earliest phase of Stonehenge.”
The stones may have been removed as part of a population movement from West Wales.
The moderator said: “Of course there are questions as to why these stones would have been brought to Salisbury Plain from West Wales … but ultimately it’s prehistory and we don’t know …
“Very often in history we ask these questions and I don’t think we’ll ever know because we just don’t have a written record.”
Archaeologists used 3D scanning techniques, traditional field archeology, and laboratory analysis to find out when and where the stones for Stonehenge were quarried and where they came first.
She said the BBC documentary will show the “ups and downs” before the discovery.
Prof. Roberts said, “There were a few days when they (the archaeologists) all went home and pulled their hair out.
“After the discovery, so many programs about discoveries are made on television … (with) sometimes a bit of drama reconstruction to capture the excitement of the excavation.
“But this production company… was so confident that Mike Parker Pearson would find something exciting.
“So you have followed his story and he and his team have been following this path for almost 10 years. That’s part of the program.
“For a long time, to be honest, it didn’t look like they’d find anything …
“But it’s just amazing to have this amazing breakthrough and have a production company there that has been filming it over the years.”
Stonehenge: The Lost Circle Revealed is on Friday, February 12th at 9pm on BBC Two.