by C.L. Phillips
Nova on PBS recently examined the many mysteries of Stonehenge. You
know, the big rock thing in England. I was fascinated by a minor part
of the story.
A 70 mm round ball. Actually a set of different balls, each ornate and beautiful with only one common attribute - diameter. Were they Christmas tree ornaments? Large marbles? Dinosaur toys?
At the risk of ruining the story, let me say *spoiler alert*. Watch the show if you don't want to know the ending right now.
The round balls were early ball bearings, created between 3000 and 2500 B.C. These little round balls were the secret to moving the huge stones one hundred and fifty miles from the rock quarry in Pembrokeshire, Wales to their final resting place at Stonehenge, England. Don't ask me why they have beautiful patterns hand-carved into the stone. Or why it took archeologists until 2010 to discover their true use. Make that alleged true use.
Since we don't have any eyewitness accounts from that time, archeologists are speculating.
Why am I so engrossed by these stone balls? Because they represent the ultimate mystery clue. Hiding in plane sight, examined by every researcher for probably two hundred years, they provide a plausible theory as to how the stones at Stonehenge came to be. As a mystery novelist, I dream of creating compelling clues like this.
My question to you - what is your ball bearing? What have you hidden in plain sight, only to have your readers discover in the denouement, and shriek, "of course!"
Go ahead, spill some secrets. You know you want to.
And for those of you in the United States, as you reflect on Memorial Day, send a kind word or thought to our service men and women, our emergency first responders, and the families across the Midwest and South struggling to recover from the recent storms. Our thoughts are with you.