Archaeologists announced Monday that they've discovered the remains of another prehistoric stone monument less than two miles from Stonehenge, and it's completely reshaping how researchers understand the history of the area.
The arrangement, believed to be about 4,500 years old, was revealed by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project on the first day of the British Science Festival at the University of Bradford.
It is composed of about 30 intact stones and 60 fragments of possible stones buried three feet beneath the Durrington Walls "super-henge" and though to be a Neolithic ritual site. The stones, some of which stand up to 14 feet high, appear as if they were once lined up to form a C-shaped "arena" surrounding a valley and springs leading to the River Avon.
None have been excavated, and they were found using "non-invasive geophysical prospection and remote sensing technologies," a press release from the project said.
The archaeologists believe this new discovery could predate Stonehenge and presents the possibility that monumental architecture was happening in the area earlier than previously thought.
"The extraordinary scale, detail and novelty of the evidence produced by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, which the new discoveries at Durrington Walls exemplify, is changing fundamentally our understanding of Stonehenge and the world around it," Paul Garwood, the principal prehistorian on the project, said in the press release. "Everything written previously about the Stonehenge landscape and the ancient monuments within it will need to be re-written."
It may also be the largest Neolithic site yet discovered.
“What we are starting to see is the largest surviving stone monument, preserved underneath a bank, that has ever been discovered in Britain and possibly in Europe,” Vince Gaffney, who leads the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape project, told The Guardian. “This is archaeology on steroids.”
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