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Archaeologists have discovered a ring of prehistoric shafts, dug thousands of years ago near Stonehenge.
Fieldwork has revealed evidence of a 1.2 mile (2km) wide circle of large shafts measuring more than 10m in diameter and 5m in depth.
They surround the ancient settlement of Durrington Walls, two miles (3km) from Stonehenge.
Tests suggest the ground works are Neolithic and were excavated more than 4,500 years ago.
Experts believe the 20 or more shafts may have served as a boundary to a sacred area connected to the henge.
Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust archaeologist for the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, hailed the "astonishing discovery".
She said: "As the place where the builders of Stonehenge lived and feasted Durrington Walls is key to unlocking the story of the wider Stonehenge landscape, and this astonishing discovery offers us new insights into the lives and beliefs of our Neolithic ancestors.
"The Hidden Landscapes team have combined cutting-edge, archaeological fieldwork with good old-fashioned detective work to reveal this extraordinary discovery and write a whole new chapter in the story of the Stonehenge landscape."
originally posted by: seagull
a reply to: Freeborn
That complex just keeps getting larger and larger, doesn't it??
Someday, I'd really like to get over there to see it... Seems unlikely, but maybe, someday.
The Durrington Shafts discovery, announced on Monday, is all the more extraordinary because it offers the first evidence that the early inhabitants of Britain, mainly farming communities, had developed a way to count. Constructing something of this size with such careful positioning of its features could only have been done by tracking hundreds of paces.
The shafts are vast, each more than 5 metres deep and 10 metres in diameter. Approximately 20 have been found and there may have been more than 30. About 40% of the circle is no longer available for study as a consequence of modern development.
Gaffney said: “The size of the shafts and circuit surrounding Durrington Walls is currently unique. It demonstrates the significance of Durrington Walls Henge, the complexity of the monumental structures within the Stonehenge landscape, and the capacity and desire of Neolithic communities to record their cosmological belief systems in ways, and at a scale, that we had never previously anticipated.”
The Stonehenge road tunnel is a planned tunnel in Wiltshire, England drawn up by Highways England to upgrade the A303 road. It would move the A303 into a tunnel under the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, completing the removal of traffic begun with the closure of the A344 road.
Leading archaeologists say a £1.6bn scheme to build a road tunnel through the historic Stonehenge landscape should be scrapped altogether after the sensational discovery nearby of the largest prehistoric structure ever found in Britain.
The potential for technology to reveal so much more is enormous because only a tiny percentage has been explored so far, Parker Pearson said.
While Highways England has argued that its plan to improve the A303 with a tunnel will cut congestion, Parker Pearson said: “The expenses per mile are mind-boggling. It’s a tunnel that’s basically 2.9km long and it’s going to cost £1.6bn.
“Colleagues who work in that business say, ‘You might as well add 40%.’ I think they’re saying [it’ll take] five to seven years to construct, so that would be continuous traffic jams, and there’s concern that the vibrations will actually impact on archaeological deposits, causing the ground to crack.
Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites is a UNESCO World Heritage site (WHS) located in Wiltshire, England. The WHS covers two large areas of land separated by nearly 30 miles (48 km), rather than a specific monument or building. The sites were inscribed as co-listings in 1986. Some of the large and well known monuments within the WHS are listed below, but the area also has an exceptionally high density of small-scale archaeological sites, particularly from the prehistoric period. More than 700 individual archaeological features have been identified. There are 160 separate Scheduled Monuments, covering 415 items or features
originally posted by: KilgoreTrout
It's been different things to differnet people at different time. I haven't had chance to read this new paper and the findings, but the earliest structure is the 'Wood Henge'. This they believe was a more enclosed circle, with strategic openings aligned to the Sun at solstices or to the Moon - I don't think we can be certain yet, I may be wrong. If it is like other wooden circle finds, it likely had an upturned tree buried at the centre. The megalithic builders belong to a culture believed to have originated in the eastern meditteranean. They came, as they came everywhere in Europe, for metal ores. The stones orginally set, not the main Henge itself, were in some way associated with ancestor worship, it's complicated, but the stones appeared to have represented the personage of esteem who had physically passed. Stone was considered immortal and therefore, by infusing or bonding it with the spirit of the dead person, that person retained a presence in the world. As I said, it is complicated, these people messed around with their dead a lot, decay and decomposition was something they clearly took a huge interest in and understanding of. I personally think that the dead or perhaps dying was laid out on a stone and then that stone 'absorbed' the dead's essense and was subsequently erected by the society of people they were important to. Something like that.
It's a metaphorical landscape, much like the Egyptian labyrinth video that Nice Wolf posted earlier. The Egyptians squared everything, but the basis of labyrinth is like that of the temple, a metaphorical journey through the cosmology of the people that built it and their approach to life and death. Sharing information to make the journey easier. As civilization progresses, it becomes more about trying to make sense of existence by ordering and cataloguing it.