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One of the world’s most recognisable prehistoric sites just got bigger, as researchers believe they have uncovered as many as 100 more stone monoliths near Stonehenge in Wiltshire. With the find, the site could now be the largest Neolithic monument in all of the world.
Using ground-penetrating radar, a team of archaeologists from the University of Bradford discovered the stones just three feet below the surface. Some of the 4,500-year-old stones are as long as 15 feet.
At Durrington Walls, the site of the discovery, they are dubbing the find “superhenge” due to the number of large monoliths discovered. “We don't think there's anything quite like this anywhere else in the world,” lead research Vince Gaffney told the BBC. “This is completely new and the scale is extraordinary.”
The finds were a result of the work by Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes. They have been creating an underground map of the area as part of a five-year project. The findings were announced this week at the British Science Festival, which is being held at the University of Bradford.
This newest discovery is just under two miles from Stonehenge, Wiltshire and is thought to have been part of a larger ritual site.
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located near Amesbury and Salisbury. A true local treasure, the site is easily reached from our beautiful holiday cottages in Wiltshire. Mysterious in nature, the structure is located at the centre of a dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments, including several hundred burial mounds.
Archaeologists believe the well-known Wiltshire site was built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. At the most recent find at Durrington Walls, scientists believe the stones at superhenge were toppled on purpose. Ancient people may have rolled the stones down the south-eastern edge of the bank of a circular enclosure found at the site.
“The presence of what appear to be stones, surrounding the site of one of the largest Neolithic settlements adds a whole new chapter to the Stonehenge story,” said Nick Snashall, another site archaeologist.
If you would like to know more about this fascinating prehistoric monument, take a look at our answers to the biggest questions about Stonehenge.
Image Credit: Nelo Hotsuma (flickr.com)