“Everything previously written about the Stonehenge landscape and the ancient monuments within it will need to be re-written.......” Now how many times have we heard that before? Vince Gaffney and his team have gone into overdrive with their latest research announcement -- but this is interesting. The revelations about 100 standing stones (and maybe a lot more) having once stood at Durrington Walls adds another component to another complex story on Salisbury Plain. Further info awaited. But for now, the media are full of it -- it will probably be all over the BBC News today.
Stonehenge researchers 'may have found largest prehistoric site'http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-34156673
The find has been dubbed a "superhenge" because the site is five times the area of Stonehenge, as Victoria Gill reports
Standing stones found buried near Stonehenge could be the "largest" intact prehistoric monument ever built in Britain, archaeologists believe.
Using ground-penetrating radar, some 100 stones were found at the Durrington Walls "superhenge", a later bank built close to Stonehenge.
The Stonehenge Living Landscapes team has been researching the ancient monument site in a five-year project.
Finding the stones was "fantastically lucky", researchers said.
The stones may have originally measured up to 4.5m (14ft) in height and had been pushed over the edge of Durrington Walls.
The site, which is thought to have been built about 4,500 years ago, is about 1.8 miles (3km) from Stonehenge, Wiltshire.
The stones were found on the edge of the Durrington Walls "henge", or bank, an area which had not yet been studied by researchers.
Lead researcher, Vince Gaffney said the stones were "lost to archaeology" but found thanks to modern technology.
National Trust archaeologist Dr Nick Snashall said: "In the field that lies to the south we know there's a standing stone which is now the only standing stone, now fallen, that you can go up to and touch in the whole of the Stonehenge landscape," he said.
"It's called the Cuckoo Stone.
"If there are stones beneath the bank... they're probably looking at stones of pretty much the same size as the Cuckoo Stone."
Dr Snashall added there was a "sense" of one area set aside for the living and another for the dead at Durrington Walls - and that had changed over time.
The findings are being announced later on the first day of the British Science Festival being held at the University of Bradford.
Huge ritual monument found hidden near Stonehengehttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/archaeology/11844357/Huge-ritual-monument-found-hidden-near-Stonehenge.html
The super-henge of Durrington Walls has been hiding a secret for thousands of years. A huge row of megalithic stones buried beneath.
A new line of stones has been found under Durrington Walls super-henge
By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor
A huge ritual monument which dates from the time of Stonehenge has been discovered hidden under the bank of a nearby stone-age enclosure.
Durrington Walls, a roundish ‘super-henge’ has long puzzled archaeologists because one side is straight while the rest of the structure is curved.
As early as 1810, historian Richard Colt Hoare suggested that its shape had been left ‘much mutilated’ by centuries of agriculture.
But now ground penetrating radar has found that the straight edge is actually aligned over a row of 90 massive standing stones which once stood 15ft high, and formed a c-shaped arena which has not been seen for thousands of years.
The stone line, which curves into a c-shape towards one end, is likely to have marked a ritual procession route, and is thought to date from the same time as the sarsen circle at Stonehenge.
The earliest phase of Durrington Walls with its line of megaliths
Archaeologists believe the stones were pushed over and a bank built on top, but they are still trying to work out exactly why they were built. Nothing exists like it in the world.
“It’s utterly remarkable,” said Professor Vince Gaffney, of the University of Bradford. “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.
“We can’t tell what the stones are made of, but they are the same height as the sarsens in the Stonehenge circle, so they may be the same kind.
“It was probably for a ritual of some sort, or it could have marked out an arena. These monuments were very theatrical. This a design to impress and empower.
“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 completed super-henge after the stones were toppled over and buried under the right bank
Durrington Walls, which sits in a depression not far from the River Avon, near Amesbury, Wiltshire, is one of the largest known henge monuments, measuring around 1,640 feet in diameter and built around 4,500 years ago in the Neolithic, or new stone age.
It is surrounded by a ditch of up to 54ft wide and a bank of more than three foot high and is built on the same summer solstice alignment as Stonehenge. Some archaeoolgists have suggested that the builders of Stonehenge lived at Durrington. A nearby wooden structure, called Wood Henge was thought to represent the land of the living while Stonehenge represented the realm of the dead.
But the discovery of the stones suggests that Durrington Walls had a far earlier and less domestic history than has previously been supposed.
Durrington Walls is around 1.5 miles from Stonehenge
The Bradford archaeologists have been working alongside an international team of experts as part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes project which has been mapping the entire area around with the latest technology.
“Everything previously written about the Stonehenge landscape and the ancient monuments within it will need to be re-written,” said Paul Garwood, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Birmingham and principle prehistorian on the project.
The stones would have been as tall as some of those at Stonehenge
Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust Archaeologist for the Avebury and Stonehenge World Heritage Site, said the new results were providing ‘unexpected twists in the age old tale.’
“These latest results have produced tantalising evidence of what lies beneath the ancient earthworks at Durrington Walls. The presence of what appear to be stones, surrounding the site of one of the largest Neolithic settlements in Europe adds a whole new chapter to the Stonehenge story.”
The research will be presented at the British Science Festival in Bradford this week.