Florida Resident Returns Missing Piece of Stonehenge After Six Decades
On Wednesday, English Heritage announced that a piece of Stonehenge was returned to the UK after being missing for over 60 years.
The charity organization, dedicated to the preservation of historic buildings and monuments in England, first received knowledge of the missing piece last year. They delayed an official announcement until they could conduct an initial study of the piece and verify reports.
The tube-shaped core from one of the monument’s stones was returned by a man named Robert Phillips, who worked on the restoration of the site in 1958. Employed by a diamond-cutting firm tasked with reinforcing the monument’s structure, Phillips had taken only one of the meter-long cores removed from the stones. The whereabouts of the other two stone cores are unknown.
Phillips later to emigrated to the United States and retired in Aventura, Florida, where he kept the piece for the past six decades. He decided to return the missing piece upon the day of his ninetieth birthday. Phillip’s sons, Lewis and Robin, had travelled to Stonehenge to deliver the piece on their father’s behalf.
“We are very grateful to the Phillips family for bringing this intriguing piece of Stonehenge back home,” said Heather Sebire, a curator for English Heritage.
English Heritage hopes the recently-returned piece will help researchers finally establish the origins of the giant sarsen stones. The organization reported that the recently-returned piece looked “incongruously pristine” in comparison to the “weathered” stones currently at the monument.
Archaeologists believe the chemical composition of the piece will provide them with much-needed evidence about the origins of the monument. “Studying the Stonehenge core’s ‘DNA’ could tell us more about where those sarsen stones originated,” said Sebire.