Archaeologists in the UK have unearthed a stunning find near the iconic Stonehenge site. Hidden beneath layers of dirt and natural detritus, researchers claim to have found a ‘Superhenge’ close to the Durrington Walls section of the historical complex.
The 4,500-year-old monument comprises around ninety standing stones measuring many meters in height. In fact, some suggest it was more impressive than Stonehenge. Located just a few kilometres from the heritage-listed site, the Durrington Walls ‘Superhenge’ is dated to the Neolithic period. Scientists and archaeologists believe the structure may have served a ritualistic function, much like Stonehenge. But it would have gone unnoticed were it not for the introduction of new mapping sensors.
Speaking to the BBC, University of Bradford archaeologist Vincent Gaffney said the truly eye-opening discovery could shed light on the history of the complex and the people who inhabited it. “Durrington Walls is an immense monument and up until this point we thought it was merely a large bank and ditched enclosure, but underneath that massive monument is another monument,” Professor Gaffney said.
“This discovery of a major new stone monument, which has been preserved to a remarkable extent, has significant implications for our understanding of Stonehenge and its landscape setting,” he added. “Not only does this new evidence demonstrate a completely unexpected phase of monumental architecture at one of the greatest ceremonial sites in prehistoric Europe, the new stone row could well be contemporary with the famous Stonehenge sarsen circle or even earlier.”
The site, which some theorise might have included more than two hundred large stones, measures over five hundred metres in length, with a circumference of one and a half kilometres. In short, it represents one of the most impressive and surprising archaeological discoveries of recent times.
Those involved with the study are hoping further excavation and mapping will offer greater insights into pre-historic British cultures, and perhaps even clarify the ultimate purpose of the wider Stonehenge complex.
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