07 October 2009

According to today’s Guardian archaeologists have discovered evidence of what may have been another large stone circle located a little more than a mile away from Stonehenge. The new find on the west bank of the river Avon has been called "Bluestonehenge", after the colour of the 25 Welsh stones of which it was once made up.

Excavations at the site have suggested there was once a stone circle 10 metres in diameter and surrounded by a henge (a ditch with an external bank). The stones at the site were removed but the sizes of the holes in which they stood indicate that this was a circle of bluestones, brought from the Preseli mountains of Wales, 150 miles away.

The standing stones marked the end of the avenue that leads from the river Avon to Stonehenge, a 1¾-mile long processional route constructed at the end of the Stone Age. The outer henge around the stones was built about 2400BC but arrowheads found in the stone circle indicate the stones were put up as much as 500 years earlier.

Project director, Professor Mike Parker Pearson, of the University of Sheffield said his team was waiting for results of radiocarbon dating which could reveal whether stones currently in the inner circle of Stonehenge were originally located at the other riverside construction. It should also show whether the newly discovered circle's stones were removed by Neolithic people and dragged along the route of the avenue to Stonehenge, to be incorporated within its major rebuilding about 2500BC. After that date Stonehenge consisted of about 80 Welsh stones and 83 local sarsen stones.

Dr Josh Pollard, project co-director from the University of Bristol said that "the newly discovered circle and henge should be considered an integral part of Stonehenge rather than a separate monument and it offers tremendous insight into the history of its famous neighbour. Its landscape location demonstrates once again the importance of the river Avon in Neolithic funerary rites and ceremonies."

Once again this is the sort of thing that I find fascinating. I am a sucker for a stone circle... The time, the effort and the ingenuity that went in to creating it amazes.

16 comments:

Stephanie, Mama Dramatist said...

I, too, am a total sucker for the stone circles. I've made the pilgrimage to Stonehenge, and I once got near-hopelessly lost in County Mayo trying to find a Druid stone circle.

Now I have another site I'll need to see!!

Does that make me a total nutjob? Or is that evidence that I was likely a nutjob already?

Bengbeng said...

i find this fascinating too.i have always been faqscinated by Stonehenge

Sean Jeating said...

As the architect and master builder of Seanhenge I do - as you will easily be able to understand - appreciate the skills my esteemed colleagues developed, a couple of years BS (read: Before Seanhenge).

CherryPie said...

Very fascinating indeed, I love hearing about new excavations and findings with regards to Stonehenge.

jams o donnell said...

Thanks everyone.. This sort of thing is utterly fascinating to me. Stephanie, if you make it back to Britain I would strongly recommed Avebury if you havent been there

Ah Sen the builders would be most pleasd to ehar that Seanhenge carries on their august traditions

Claudia said...

If only the stones could speak and tell us what, and how, and why.

jams o donnell said...

If only Claudia!

James Higham said...

What amazes me is how this was not known about earlier.

jams o donnell said...

It does seem strange. But some things hide in plain sight or just underground I suppose

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SnoopyTheGoon said...

I have a suspicion that it was just a way of ancient folk to play with our minds. Like crop circles of today, but more stable.

After all they did have beer too or, at least, something resembling it.

jams o donnell said...

It would amuse me if it turned out that Stonehenge was a huge washing line!

susan said...

I was there long enough ago to have been able to spend a midsummer night at the Henge (the one we've all known about) and watch the sunrise long before it was closed to visitors. No I didn't write my name on anything :-)

There are a lot of stone circles made by North American natives in the US west. It seems our ancestors had a lot more respect for the natural world than we do.

jams o donnell said...

Ah now that must have been so worth it Susan. THe one I would love to attend is the winter solstice at Newgrange

I am fascinated by such structures. I would love to visit some of teh native american structures one day

Bengbeng said...

It would amuse me if it turned out that Stonehenge was a huge washing line!-> hahahahahahahah

jams o donnell said...

It's a thought Bengbeng!