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Posts Tagged ‘durrington walls’

Located in Wiltshire, England, Stonehenge is one of the world’s most iconic man-made landmarks. Tourists flock to the raised stones to ponder their origins and meaning. Are these the marks of an alien burial site? Were ancient sacrificial rituals conducted here? How were these stones raised before the advent of modern technology? Stonehenge baffles tourists (and historians) to this day as it sits isolated in the middle of the English countryside.

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Recently, a group of archaeologists from the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project uncovered the extensive remains of a 90-stone structure less than two miles from Stonehenge. Using remote sensing technologies, the archaeologists were able to detect the presence of the massive stone monument, which is currently buried under a bank of grass. Though the archaeologists aren’t entirely sure when the monument was built, they are able to place its construction as contemporary to Stonehenge itself, some time between 2,000 and 3,000 BC.

This new discovery means Stonehenge is not isolated and may in fact be relatively small in comparison to its newfound neighbor. Scientists and archaeologists alike are scrambling to figure out the significance of the new monument and where it figures into the history of the area.

Luckily for them, the new monument is surprisingly well-preserved, and excavation of the stones could lead to specimens more easily researchable than Stonehenge. If full excavation occurs, the monument would form a half moon that dwarfs its sister site. Preemptive hypotheses suggest the new stones might’ve been used for ancient calendar purposes, as a sacred space for religious acts, or as the wall of an arena.

In a statement released to the press by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, Paul Garwood, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, reflected on the project’s game-changing discovery, “The extraordinary scale, detail and novelty of the evidence produced by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project is changing fundamentally our understanding of Stonehenge and the world around it. Everything written previously about the Stonehenge landscape and the ancient monuments within it will need to be re-written.”

Regardless of what scientists uncover, this story will be an important one to watch unfold. And in the near future, the discovery might also be a can’t-miss addition to the English travel itinerary.

By: Fiona Moriarty, Hipmunk (HUFFINGTON POST)

The Best Tours in British History
Wessex Guided Tours

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Stonehenge was constructed more than 4,600 years ago, but its mysterious aura continues to fascinate scientists and Druids alike. Now, new research finds that the story of this ancient site is far deeper than we thought — literally.

stonehenge

British researchers used high-tech archaeological sensing techniques to reveal hundreds of new features hidden beneath the dirt in lands surrounding Stonehenge, including 17 previously unknown circular monuments. Far from a solitary structure, Stonehenge appears to have been just one part of a much larger landscape of shrines. The results are being announced in a BBC feature to air tonight.

Going Deep Without Digging

The archaeological team used six different techniques to scan a 4.5-square-mile swath of land around Stonehenge, both by air and land, beginning in 2010. Magnetometers and ground-penetrating radar allowed researchers to compile three-dimensional information about structures hidden beneath the dirt. From the sky, laser scanning built precise topographic maps of the ground’s surface.

monument distribution

Seventeen smaller neolithic shrines were found scattered throughout the search area. Researchers’ data also revealed 60 huge stones and pillars that formed part of the previously identified “super henge” called Durrington Walls, Britain’s largest henge. Some of these stones were roughly 10 feet tall and likely stood upright like the iconic structure we all know. Durrington Walls is located roughly 2 miles northeast of Stonehenge.

They also found evidence of uses that predated Stonehenge itself. Prehistoric pits, burial mounds and a long “barrow” (a wooden building likely used for “defleshing” the dead in preparation for burial) were among the features discovered underground. You can learn more about their project and findings online.

Researchers believe the entire Stonehenge landscape developed over the past 11,000 years. They plan to continue poring over data to further understand the history and evolution of one of the world’s most intriguing sites.

Not-So-Ancient History

In addition to the stuff of ancient history, their investigation also revealed a few modern relics. Surveys produced detailed maps of practice trenches dug around Stonehenge by troops preparing for World War I, as well as the remnants of a military airbase used by the Royal Flying Corps.

Stonehenge, the 4,600-year-old gift that keeps on giving.

barrow

Top photo credit: Kiev.Victor/Shutterstock

By Carl Engelkin http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2014/09/11/lasers-reveal-underground-secrets-of-stonehenge/#.VBRsb_ldXwg

Wessex Guided Tours
Explore Stonehenge and the ancient landscape with a local expert

http://www.HisTOURies.co.uk

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West of Amesbury on Salisbury Plain in south Wiltshire

Walk in the steps of our ancestors at one of the world’s best-preserved prehistoric sites.  If you have the luxury of time whilst visiting the Stonehenge area please take the time to explore these sites:

Don’t miss
■Great views of the famous Stonehenge circle
■Mysterious ceremonial landscape of ancient burial mounds, processional walkways and enclosures
■Haven for wildlife, from brown hare and butterflies, to birds such as the skylark
■Colourful displays of downland wildflowers in June and July

Stonehenge Down
The long grassland shrouded in mist at Stonehenge Down. © NT / Margriet van VianenHome to skylark and brown hare, Stonehenge Down is a wide open landscape with fine views of the famous stone circle. From here you can also explore Bronze Age barrow cemeteries and prehistoric monuments, such as the Stonehenge Avenue and the mysterious Cursus. SU125425


King Barrow Ridge on a beautiful summer's day. © NT / Lucy EvershedHere Bronze Age burial mounds stand among impressive beech trees, with views of Stonehenge and the downs. The hazel coppice provides shelter for wildlife along the ridge, while in summer, chalk downland flora attracts butterflies such as the marbled white. SU134423

King Barrow Ridge


Normanton Down on a bright summer's day, showing a field of daisies in the foreground. © NT / Margriet van VianenNormanton Down offers one of the best approaches to the stone circle. The round barrow cemetery dates from around 2600 to 1600BC and is one of the most remarkable groups of burial mounds in the Stonehenge landscape. The downland and arable fields here are home to a variety of farmland birds such as corn bunting and stonechat. SU117415

Normanton Down


The red and gold hues of autumn at Durrington Walls. © NT / Stephen FisherIn 2005 Durrington Walls was revealed to be the site of a rare Neolithic village, with evidence of shrines and feasting. You can still see some of the banks of this circular earthwork, the largest complete ‘henge’ in Europe. Post holes show that there were large timber structures here, like those at nearby Woodhenge. SU150437

Durrington Walls


The Chalkhill Blue, common to chalk grassland, can be seen in the summer months. © NT / Margriet van VianenAnother fascinating example of a prehistoric cemetery. The wide range of barrow shapes found here show that this site was used over a long period of time for burials of people of high status. Newly sown chalk downland flora covers the landscape – look out for brown hares too. SU101417

Winterbourne Stoke Barrows

I would be happy to email you a free walking tour route, just email me

David – Stonehenge Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK – Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours

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