In Brief

'Archaeology on steroids': Huge stones found buried next to Stonehenge

Stone monument thought to be largest in Europe is likely to rewrite history about Neolithic Britain

A group of up to 90 standing stones found buried close to Stonehenge is thought to be the largest preserved stone monument ever discovered in Britain.

The site, which is thought to have been built about 4,500 years ago, is 1.8 miles from Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

The arrangements of stones buried under a grassy bank were found using ground-penetrating radar as part of the Stonehenge Living Landscapes archaeology project. Archaeologists believe the stones form part of a C-shaped Neolithic arena that faced directly towards the river Avon.

Arranged in a long line, the stones are likely to have marked a ritual procession route, and are thought to date from the same time as the sarsen circle at Stonehenge, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Professor Vince Gaffney leading the project declared: "It's utterly remarkable, it's just enormous. It is definitely one of the largest stone monuments in Europe and is completely unique. We've never seen anything like this in the world."

Gaffney went on to describe the development as "archaeology on steroids" saying: "Not only does the 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 stones lie on the edge of the Durrington Walls "henge" – an area of land surrounded by a 50ft wide ditch. Previously archaeologists had thought the builders of Stonehenge had lived at Durrington and that a wooden structure in Durrington known as Wood Henge had been a monument to the living as Stonehenge was to the dead.

However the new discovery has placed the site at Durrington at a much earlier moment in history than had been previously thought.

Paul Garwood, an archaeologist and historian on the project declared the findings to be crucial to understanding Stonehenge and the surrounding area.

"Everything written previously about the Stonehenge landscape and the ancient monuments within it will need to be rewritten," he said.

The research will be presented at the British Science Festival in Bradford this week.

Recommended

Raab, Rayner and the ‘approving wink’
Dominic Raab
Why we’re talking about . . .

Raab, Rayner and the ‘approving wink’

Partygate inquiry kicks off: Westminster’s Jerry Springer?
Labour grandee Harriet Harman
Talking point

Partygate inquiry kicks off: Westminster’s Jerry Springer?

The pros and cons of streaming trials online
Lady Justice on top of Old Bailey the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales
Pros and cons

The pros and cons of streaming trials online

Meghan Markle bullying report: why the palace is staying ‘tight-lipped’
The Duchess of Sussex at a thanksgiving service during the Platinum Jubilee
Behind the scenes

Meghan Markle bullying report: why the palace is staying ‘tight-lipped’

Popular articles

Are we heading for World War Three?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Are we heading for World War Three?

When will paper £20 and £50 notes expire?
Paper banknotes
Business Briefing

When will paper £20 and £50 notes expire?

What happened to Zara Aleena?
Zara Aleena
In Brief

What happened to Zara Aleena?

The Week Footer Banner