When a series of deep pits were discovered in near the world heritage site of Stonehenge last year, archaeologists excitedly described it as the largest prehistoric structure ever found in Great Britain – only for some colleagues to dismiss the potholes as purely natural features.
Now scientific tests have proven that die gaping pits, each aligned to form a circle of 2 km (2 miles) in diameter, were certainly human-made, almost 4,500 years ago in the sacred landscape dug.
The structure appears to have been a boundary conductor people to a saint area, because Durrington Walls, one of Britain’s largest henge monuments are located exactly in the middle. The site is 1.9 miles north-East of Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, in near Amesbury in Wiltshire.
Prof Vincent Gaffney, of Bradford University, an archaeologist who led the team Which made the discovery, said: science had proved that this indeed a huge Neolithic monument. “Some of the debate over the discovery and Stonehenge seemed insane to me,” he said.
Shortly after the discovery, announced in June 2020, one doubting archaeologist called the pits “blobs” on ground” and said linking them to Stonehenge was “completely hypothetical”. Another claimed that archaeologists who had looked at some before of the wells had suggested that they were natural cavities, and that men could be confident that they would recognize a natural cavity feature when they meet one”.
The arguments shocked Gaffney, who recalled one archaeologist suggests his team should have had a geologist on site to recognize natural features. In facthe said, they had two.
while part of the circle does not have survived, due to modern development, Gaffney said the latest fieldwork included scientific analysis of nine of the pits. “We have now looked at almost half of they and they are all the same. So effectively this really says this is one huge structure. It can have evolved of a natural feature, but we didn’t find that. It is therefore the largest prehistoric building found in Britain.”
Each well is approximately 10 meters wide and 5 meters deep, and science supports the theory that the Neolithic people who built Stonehenge also dug this monument.
the earlier unknown underground ring is 20 times bigger than Stonehenge. It adds to evidence that early settlers of Great Britain, mainly farming communities, had developed An way count, hundreds follow of steps to measure out the pits. It gives new insight in the complexity of the monumental buildings in this landscape. While Stonehenge was positioned in relation to the solstice, the boundary of pits may have had cosmological significance.
Specialists in remote to feel technology die can search below soil have now explored ancient features in the landscape that traditional archeology could never discover. They can locate where the ground has been disturbed, even after thousands of year.
The cutting-edge technology includes optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), die the last time sediment was exposed to daylight.
The tests were conducted by Dr. Tim Kinnaird, of the school of earth and environmental sciences at university of St Andrews, who said: “It showed beyond any doubt that the pits date from about 2400 BC.”
He spoke of the “exciting” findings, including “the remarkable consistency between the cores, the identification” of multiple and different fills, the suggestion that the pits were filled at the same time.” Detailed Analytical work in the lab further confirmed that “these were not natural” features”.
He added: “It has been confirmed that the [pits] they are all very similar, which is fascinating.” If these were natural features like sinkholes, they would be different sizes.
gaffney, who studied Stonehenge for 20 years, said: “There is a real revolution in to date technology happens with OSL. You date the sediments directly. Traditional Dating Trust on us find a little of bone of charcoal and then we date that. We do not date the ground. OSL does that.”
The data showed that the wells were used from the late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age, after which they were used left to silt up, he said. “So these things are maintained after the monumental phases of Stonehenge.”
The discovery is under investigation in a Channel 5 documentary titled Stonehenge: The New Revelations, airs on Dec. 9 (9 p.m.).
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