Thursday, September 11, 2014

More Stonehenge Secrets Uncovered

This has been a good couple of weeks for Stonehenge discoveries. In the wake of England's dry summer revealing the positions of missing stones, archaeologists have now released the results of a large ground-penetrating radar and laser survey showing the site to be far more than a single isolated monument. Rather, it was part of a much larger complex several miles across, the exact function of which is still unknown.

Just a week after finding out that Stonehenge was once a complete circle, archaeologists from Birmingham and Bradford universities, and from the Ludwig Boltzman Institute in Vienna, have shattered the image of Stonehenge as a desolate and lonely place.

After four years of painstaking effort, and by using a magnetometer, a ground-penetrating radar (GPR), and a 3D laser scanner, archaeologists have shown that Stonehenge was once a sprawling complex that extended for miles.

And then there's the previously unknown "super henge," a monument located just two miles from Stonehenge. Scans suggest that each buried stone is about three meters (10 feet) long and 1.5 meters (5 feet) wide. The stones are positioned horizontally, not vertically, but it's conceivable that they originally stood upright like other standing stones. The archaeologists suspect they were brought to the site shortly before 2,500 BC.

The "super henge" is known as the Durington Walls, and can be seen in the upper right of the image above, which you can click to enlarge. None of the stones are still standing, but according to this latest survey it is likely that they originally did. The circle indicates its relative size compared to Stonehenge, near the center of the picture. The various red dots show new monument sites unearthed by the survey, and with so many new locations to investigate it seems that more discoveries about the ancient complex should be forthcoming.

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