The ancient creators of Stonehenge built the monument just like Lego, a rare photograph taken from above shows.
A photographer is believed to have captured the key feature of the stones from a cherry picker and it was posted dadu online by English Heritage.
It reveals how the stones were interlocked using protruding studs on one which fitted snugly into corresponding holes carved in another.
This interlocking mechanism has drawn comparisons to the popular toy Lego but when builders erected Stonehenge 5,000 years ago it is believed this method helped stabilise the enormous stones and allow it to endure for millennia.
The method — based on an interlocking woodworking method called mortise and tenon — was far more sophisticated than that used on other stone circles of the era.
English Heritage, which looks after the Wiltshire monument, wrote in a tweet accompanying the remarkable image: ‘This is a rarely seen view of the top of one of the giant sarsen stones.
‘The protruding tenons are clearing visible and the corresponding horizontal lintel stone would have had mortise holes for them to slot into. A bit like early Lego!’
A rare aerial photo of a giant stone at Stonehenge, Wiltshire has revealed a series of slots and holes were used to join the monument, like an early version of Lego
The English Heritage Twitter account dedicated to the Wiltshire monument tweeted about the ‘rarely seen view’ and the visible tenons on top of the sarsen stone. The image is believed to have been taken from a hot air balloon. Danish toy-making giant Lego replied with an affectionate message on the social media site
The charity’s Susan Greaney said: ‘One of the big questions is why Stonehenge was constructed with such precision engineering. It may well be simply that they wanted to make sure it lasted a very long time.
‘Putting unworked sarsens as lintels on top of the uprights would have been pretty unstable. Our presumption is there were similar timber monuments at the time in which mortise and tenon joints were probably being used.
‘They don’t survive because they have rotted away. Stonehenge is the only one we have with this sort of working and shaping. It’s exactly like Lego. We sometimes say to our schoolchildren who visit that Stonehenge is just like Lego.’
Lego was delighted with the comparison, with the Danish toymaker responding to English Heritage on Twitter, saying: ‘Ah, where it all began’.
A Lego spokesman said: ‘As a company that aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, it was something of a surprise to see us linked to prehistoric builders; but we were humbled to be mentioned by English Heritage in their tweet comparing the monuments’ stones with Lego bricks.’
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Other monuments built at a similar time to Stonehenge were large blocks of stone raised upright with little assistance to ensure their longevity, but the craftspeople working at Stonehenge were more attentive and added locking mechanisms to keep the huge stones in place
Pictured: A March photo of Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, where English Heritage discovered a series of slots and holes on the top of the stones
The similarities between Lego and Stonehenge are clear, with interlocking blocks being used to create a large structure. Pictured, an image of Lego Stonehenge used as part of a Lego advertising campaign