Andrew Young, the student behind the new theory, started cooking up the idea when he saw carved stone balls near Neolithic stone circles. He said:
"I measured and weighed a number of these stone balls and realised that they are all precisely the same size-around 70 millimeters [3 inches]in diameter-which made me think they must have been made to be used in unison, rather than alone"
He further speculated that wooden balls could be used because they were easier to carve and were much lighter to transport.
When he tested this rail-and-balls set up, he found that he could move 220 pounds of concrete with just one finger. And with seven people pushing, they could move a four-ton load, as heavy as Stonehenge's smaller stones. As for the 45-ton bigger rocks, Young speculates that it could've been a combination of oxen and Stone Age strength.
An interesting theory, that with a little more work and testing, might be able to explain how those gigantic slabs of stone were transported miles upon miles. Ah balls, as integral to history as ever. [National Geographic]