Even though it’s one of the most studied locations in the world, archaeologists are still making new discoveries in the area surrounding Stonehenge in southern England. This week, experts led by the U.K.’s University of Bradford report finding a massive 1.2-mile-wide ring of Neolithic shafts.
The report states that the shafts are up to 32.8 feet wide and 16.4 feet deep. Scientists carbon-dated the samples back to 2500 B.C., according to Fox News.
At this time, archaeologists identified more than 20 shafts. However, experts believe originally there may have been more than 30. In terms of location, the shafts form a ring around the “super henge” at Durrington Walls. Super henge is located around two miles from Stonehenge and is the much larger Neolithic monument of the two. In fact, it is about 15 times larger than Stonehenge, according to LiveScience.
From the Team Behind the Discovery
Professor Vince Gaffney, an archaeologist involved with the study, explains the significance of finding the new shafts. “The area around Stonehenge is among the most studied archaeological landscapes on earth and it is remarkable that the application of new technology can still lead to the discovery of such a massive prehistoric structure which, currently, is significantly larger than any comparative prehistoric monument that we know of in Britain, at least,” Gaffney said.
Gaffney says the team didn’t realize the discovery they found at first. “When these pits were first noted it was thought they might be natural features – solution hollows in the chalk,” Gaffney said. “Only when the larger picture emerged, through the geophysical surveys undertaken as part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project, could we join the dots and see there was a pattern on a massive scale.”
The discovery was part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project. A number of institutes sent experts to be part of the team. The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Austria participated. the U.K.’s Universities of Birmingham, St Andrews, Warwick, the University of Wales Trinity Saint Davids, and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre at the University of Glasgow also participated.