Monumental Monoliths

A new and very large set of standing stones has been discovered just a few kilometres from the world famous site of Stonehenge. Dubbed Superhenge, the new site is on a scale not previously seen in neolithic Britain. It was found at the Durrington Walls site which was already known as a very large henge whicfth included several smaller enclosures and timber circles. It consists of a ditch 500 metres in diameter and over 15 metres high, already an impressive place this new discovery adds to the history of the area.

The entire Stonehenge area is highly protected and digging there is discouraged except under exceptional circumstances so the new work was done using non-invasive techniques like ground penetrating radar. This combination of techniques revealed a series of 90 great stones, some of them over 4 metres high, that once stood in an arc around the arena-like space. Unfortunately, none of the stones are still standing, if they were we would have found them some time to ago. Some of the stones, though, are still roughly in position having been toppled at some point in the past; others are only detectable by the filled in pit that they left behind like a robbed-out wall. The new discovery pushes back the age of the site by at least 500 years making it almost contemporaneous with the 5000 year old Stonehenge.

The work was carried out as part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project which seeks to learn as much about the environment and context of the monument as possible. The work was announced at the British Science Festival 2015.

Image courtesy of Ludwig Boltzman Institute, Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology
Image courtesy of Ludwig Boltzman Institute, Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology
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