Sunday, October 04, 2015


Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a massive stone monument buried under a thick, grassy bank only 3 kilometers from Stonehenge (Wiltshire, England). The hidden arrangement of up to 90 huge standing stones formed part of a C-shaped Neolithic arena that bordered a dry valley facing directly towards the river Avon.

"What we are starting to see is the largest surviving stone monument, preserved underneath a bank, that has ever been discovered in Britain and possibly in Europe," said Vince Gaffney, an archaeologist at Bradford University who leads the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape project.

The stones are thought to have been hauled into position more than 4,500 years ago to form the southern edge of a ritual arena centered on a natural depression. The stones appear to have joined up with a chalk ridge that had been cut into, to accentuate the natural border.

Gaffney believes the stones were pushed over when the site was redeveloped by Neolithic builders. The recumbent stones became lost beneath a huge bank and were incorporated as a somewhat clumsy linear southern border to the otherwise circular "super-henge" known as Durrington Walls.

Paul Garwood, an archaeologist and lead historian on the project at the University of Birmingham, said the the new discoveries at Durrington Walls changed fundamentally how researchers understood Stonehenge and the world around it. "Everything written previously about the Stonehenge landscape and the ancient monuments within it will need to be rewritten," he said.

Edited from BBC News, The Guardian (7 September 2015)
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