Archaeologists Find Mile-Long Neolithic Structure Near Stonehenge Site
Archaeologists claim to have discovered a ring of prehistoric shafts nearby the Stonehenge monument in southern England.
Researchers from the British universities of St Andrews, Birmingham, Warwick, Glasgow and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David claim that the 1.2 mile long circle of shafts dates to 4500 BC, dating before the construction of the well known Stonehenge monument in 3000BC. Both structures date from the Neolithic period, although the ring of underground shafts appears to be considerably older than Stonehenge itself.
Dr. Richard Bates of St. Andrews is describing the previously hidden ring of underground shafts as an indicator of previously unknown sophistication of the prehistoric peoples that populated Britain.
“Clearly sophisticated practices demonstrate that the people were so in tune with natural events to an extent that we can barely conceive in the modern world.”
Theories indicate that Stonehenge itself was constructed as a site intended for observation of the summer solstice, and the structures nearby may have been designed for a similar utility. In a coincidence, the discovery of the previously unknown shafts occurred just days after the 2020 summer solstice.
Researchers have described discovering 20 unique shafts, which measure more than 10 meters in diameter and five meters in depth. They believe that the trenches may have served as a boundary to a religious site perhaps similar to Stonehenge.
Both of the neolithic artifacts are located near the abandoned settlement of Durrington Walls, a town in the neolithic period of history that may have been the largest in northern Europe at the time.
“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,” said Dr. Nick Snashall of Britain’s National Trust.
“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.”