Your guide to Stonehenge, plus 12 fascinating facts you might not know

The landscape surrounding the Neolithic monument contains many secrets, with features dating back to much earlier times. Having surveyed more than 18 square kilometres in the vicinity, archaeologists continue to make surprising discoveries. The latest, a series of deep pits forming a vast circle more than two kilometres in diameter, shows how technology makes it possible to peer even further back into time. Along with their shovels, trowels and brushes, archaeologists have put together a toolbox of new technologies. These were thought to be old filled-in ponds. But ground-penetrating radar, another archaeological tool, raised questions about that notion. This technique, which reflects radio waves off underground structures, showed that far from being shallow, as ponds would have been, the anomalous features had deep vertical sides. They were some ten metres across and five metres or more deep.


The landscape surrounding the Neolithic monument is made up of numerous secrets and techniques, with attributes relationship back to a great deal earlier times. Owning surveyed extra than 18 square kilometres in the vicinity, archaeologists carry on to make astonishing discoveries. The newest, a sequence of deep pits forming a vast circle far more than two kilometres in diameter, shows how technological know-how will make it achievable to peer even additional again into time.

“With optically stimulated luminescence profiling and dating, we can write wider Stonehenge landscape, and this astonishing discovery offers us new insights.

It consists of a ring of standing stones , each around 13 feet 4. The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred tumuli burial mounds. Archaeologists believe it was constructed from BC to BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about BC. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between and BC, [2] although they may have been at the site as early as BC.

One of the most famous landmarks in the United Kingdom, Stonehenge is regarded as a British cultural icon. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage ; the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust. Stonehenge could have been a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. In William Stukeley notes, “Pendulous rocks are now called henges in Yorkshire

Trying to date Avebury with the help of Stonehenge

The druids arrived around 4 p. Under a warm afternoon sun, the group of eight walked slowly to the beat of a single drum, from the visitors entrance toward the looming, majestic stone monument. With the pounding of the drum growing louder, the retinue approached the outer circle of massive stone trilithons—each made up of two huge pillars capped by a stone lintel—and passed through them to the inner circle. Here they were greeted by Timothy Darvill, now 51, professor of archaeology at Bournemouth University, and Geoffrey Wainwright, now 72, president of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

For two weeks, the pair had been leading the first excavation in 44 years of the inner circle of Stonehenge—the best-known and most mysterious megalithic monument in the world. Now it was time to refill the pit they had dug.

one tinme he served as private secretary to the Premier of New South Wales. T HE most celebrated prehistoric monument in Europe is no doubt the complex of.

A circle of deep shafts has been discovered near the world heritage site of Stonehenge , to the astonishment of archaeologists, who have described it as the largest prehistoric structure ever found in Britain. Four thousand five hundred years ago, the Neolithic peoples who constructed Stonehenge, a masterpiece of engineering, also dug a series of shafts aligned to form a circle spanning 1. The site is 1. The Durrington Shafts discovery, announced on Monday, is all the more extraordinary because it offers the first evidence that the early inhabitants of Britain, mainly farming communities, had developed a way to count.

Constructing something of this size with such careful positioning of its features could only have been done by tracking hundreds of paces. The shafts are vast, each more than 5 metres deep and 10 metres in diameter. Approximately 20 have been found and there may have been more than It demonstrates the significance of Durrington Walls Henge, the complexity of the monumental structures within the Stonehenge landscape, and the capacity and desire of Neolithic communities to record their cosmological belief systems in ways, and at a scale, that we had never previously anticipated.

But then these are the same people who also built Stonehenge, dragging bluestones to the site from south-west Wales about miles away.

Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites

The carbon-dating process that dated Stonehenge to about B. The University of Chicago professor developed radiocarbon dating in the late s and won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for it. When plants or animals die, they no longer exchange their carbon with fresh atoms from their environment. Thus, as the radioactive carbon in dead matter decays to the more plentiful isotope carbon, the proportion of C to C declines. Carbon has a half-life of about 5, years, so measuring the proportion of C that’s still present in dead organic matter, and comparing it to the known proportion of C in living matter, will indicate the age of the sample.

New Stonehenge discovery: Neolithic monument dating back 4, years found near sacred site. Archaeologists have discovered a series of Neolithic-era pits.

Over the years, academics and archaeologists alike have attempted to explain why Stonehenge was built. Plenty of theories have been put forward, but here we will focus on the most commonly accepted theories. Analysis of the bones suggests they were buried during this year period. After 2, BC, the people who used Stonehenge stopped burying human remains in the stone circle itself and began burying them in ditches around the periphery, suggesting a shift in the cultural significance of Stonehenge.

From studying the remains of those buried at the site, we know that the bodies of the dead were transported from far and wide to be buried at Stonehenge; some appeared to have lived more than miles km away in Wales. These burial mounds are unique for their dense, grouped distribution across the landscape, and are frequently within sight of the stone circle itself. Researchers have studied the standing bluestones at Stonehenge, and believe they were carefully placed in their surroundings based on early astronomical knowledge.

An analysis of the position and orientation of the stones, compared with well-known astronomical alignments, has revealed a strong alignment with the movements of the sun and moon in particular. To add to this theory, Stonehenge famously aligns to the Summer Solstice longest daylight time and Winter solstice shortest daylight time. According to this school of thought, the smaller bluestones at the centre of the circle are the key to this theory and, ultimately, the supposed purpose of Stonehenge.

Darvill and Wainwright argue that this massive undertaking required considerable resources and effort; resources that would only have been possible had there been a very good reason to attempt such a monumental undertaking. Chippings carved out of the bluestone rocks found during digs around the site were used to produce amulets, suggesting the association of the rocks with protective and healing properties.

According to their research , evidence suggests this practice continued well into the Medieval period. If you’re planning a visit to Stonehenge, our Stonehenge tours from London are the perfect way to explore this ancient Neolithic site and uncover the mysteries behind its construction.

‘Astonishing’ giant circle of pits found near Stonehenge

Archaeologists surveying an area near England’s famous Stonehenge have found what could be one of the largest prehistoric sites known to exist in the country. The discovery consists of 20 underground pits built in a 1. Each is a deep, wide shaft measuring up to 15 feet down and 30 feet across. The series of pits form a ring around Durrington Walls, the site of a large Neolithic settlement that is part of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. Researchers at the site first thought they were ponds or natural sinkholes, but thermal imaging was able to reveal more details.

The first accurate carbon dating of Stonehenge reveals the with our new date for the bluestones of Stonehenge,” said Professor Darvill.

Stonehenge is a massive stone monument located on a chalky plain north of the modern-day city of Salisbury, England. Research shows that the site has continuously evolved over a period of about 10, years. The structure that we call “Stonehenge” was built between roughly 5, and 4, years ago and was one part of a larger sacred landscape that included a massive stone monument that was 15 times the size of Stonehenge.

The biggest of Stonehenge’s stones, known as sarsens, are up to 30 feet 9 meters tall and weigh 25 tons It is widely believed that they were brought from Marlborough Downs, a distance of 20 miles 32 kilometers to the north. Smaller stones, referred to as “bluestones” they have a bluish tinge when wet or freshly broken , weigh up to 4 tons and come from several different sites in western Wales , having been transported as far as miles km.

Whence Came Stonehenge’s Stones? Now We Know

A new study identifies the source of the rest. A test of the metre-long core was matched with a geochemical study of the standing megaliths. The 23ft sarsens each weigh around 20 tonnes. Archaeologists pinpointed the source of the stones to an area 15 miles 25km north of the site near Marlborough. The return of the core, which was removed during archaeological excavations in , enabled archaeologists to analyse its chemical composition.

Exclusive: prehistoric structure spanning miles in diameter is masterpiece of engineering, say archaeologists.

By Linda Geddes. Image: National Geographic. Alternative theories about Stonehenge. Theories have ranged from moon temple, to observatory, and even a UFO landing site. Stonehenge is one of the enduring landmarks of prehistoric times, but the mystery of why it was built has eluded people for centuries. Now one group of archaeologists believe that they are a step closer to an answer. For the first time, human cremation remains excavated from the site have been radiocarbon dated and suggest that, for years from its earliest beginnings around BC, Stonehenge was used as a cemetery.

Archaeologists had previously assumed that the site was mainly used as a burial ground only between and BC. The carbon-dated remains are three of 52 cremation burials originally excavated during the s. They were stored in a local museum, while the remaining 49 were reburied because they were thought to be of no scientific value. The oldest remains were found in one of the 56 pits circling Stonehenge, called the Aubrey Holes , which date to the earliest phases of Stonehenge, around BC.

The remains also date to around this period — between and BC, the study suggests.

Decoding the ancient astronomy of Stonehenge