22 July 2010
A wood henge at Stonehenge
Breakfast news today carried a report about an archaeological discovery at Stonehenge: a second henge which has been described as the most exciting find at the site in 50 years.
The BBC reports that the newly discovered henge is situated about over half a mile from the giant stones. It consists of a circular ditch surrounding a smaller circle of deep pits about a metre (3ft) wide has been unearthed at the world-famous site in Wiltshire
It has two entrances on the north-east and south-west sides and inside the circle is a burial mound on top which appeared much later.
Project leader Professor Vince Gaffney, from the University of Birmingham, said the discovery was "exceptional You seem to have a large-ditched feature, but it seems to be made of individual scoops rather than just a straight trench," he said. "When we looked a bit more closely, we then realised there was a ring of pits about a metre wide going all the way around the edge.
Data from the site is being collected as part of a virtual excavation to see what the area looked like when Stonehenge was built. This project is being funded by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, in Vienna, and the University of Birmingham, and is assisted by the National Trust and English Heritage.
Professor Gaffney said he was "certain" they would make further discoveries as 90% of the landscape around the giant stones was "terra incognita" - an unexplored region. "The presumption was this was just an empty field - now you've got a major ceremonial monument looking at Stonehenge," he said.
Fascinating stuff. There is the site of another "Woodhenge" a few miles from Stonehenge but this is a great discovery