Monday, January 15, 2007

MORE NEW EVIDENCE FROM STONEHENGE

My book Stonehenge, written with Caroline Malone and published by Oxford University Press, gets constantly updated by the news coming out of the Stonehenge Riverside Project, a joint initiative to explore the land around the area and involves six English Universities. Our book is still an excellent resource for the basics with fine illustrations. Check it out on Amazon or through Oxford directly.

New discoveries just announced on National Geographic News January 12 indicate that similar monuments may have been erected in the shadow of Stonehenge, possibly forming part of a much large complex.

Two miles east of Stonehenge a 9.2 foot-long sarsen stone was found lying in a field next to the River Avon. It had once been upright. A team from Bristol University found the hole that originally held the stone, dug between 2500 and 2000 BCE, as well as two people buried next to the stone. One was a large male at least 6 feet tall. Several archaeologists have suggested that prehistoric burials in the area are connected to mainland Europe and that Stonehenge was an important pilgrimage destination where travelers hoped for miracle cures. Although not all experts agree with this fairly new theory.

There are also new discoveries at Woodhenge 1.2 miles northeast of Stonehenge. Joshua Pollard's team from Bristol University has found new evidence for stone settings at Woodhenge where a timber circle was constructed in about 2200 BCE. Only fragments were found but the holes the stones were set in suggest the block stood up to 9.8 feet tall, according to Pollard. There was also evidence for four smaller stones that replaced the bigger sarsens. Pollard sums up: "So it goes from a timber monument to being a meglaithic monument, albeit not on the same scale as stonehenge." What happend to the stones at Woodhenge? It's a mystery. For the full article: http://tinyurl.com/ylaeeo

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