According tomedia New Atlas, Stonehenge, which stands in the English countryside, is impressive – but only a small part of the building that once existed in the area. Now, archaeologists have discovered a huge, previously unknown ring of shafts around the area near the Durrington Walls.
Stonehenge may be the most impressive building in existence, but in the heyday of the Neolithic period, the honor should belong to the castle of Durrington’s wall. It is located about 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) away and is 500 meters (1,600 feet) in diameter, much larger than the more famous monument. It is believed to have been the seat of a village.
Now, archaeologists have discovered that the site is larger than previously thought. As part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape project, a team discovered a series of shafts up to 10 meters (32.8 feet) wide and 5 meters (16.4 feet) deep. The shafts form a 2km (1.2-mile) wide circle that surrounds the Durrington Wall, the adjacent Woodhenge site, and an older building, The Larkhill Causeway Place.
The team believes the structures date back to around 2500 BC. This is equivalent to the occupation of the Durrington Wall, when the construction of Stonehenge was under way. Although as many as 20 shafts were found, the team estimates that there may have been more than 30.
“The area around Stonehenge is one of the most studied archaeological landscapes on Earth, and it is remarkable that the application of new technologies can also reveal such a huge prehistoric structure that it is now much larger than any of the larger prehistoric sites we know in the UK. Professor Vince Gaffney, the study’s author, said:
From the location of the shaft circle, archaeologists believe the structure was used to mark the boundaries of Thedrington’s tomb and guide visitors to the religious sites. It may also be a warning to less-friendly tourists.
“The size of the shafts and ring passages surrounding the Durrington Wall is unprecedented in the UK,” Gaffney said. “
The study was published online in The Internet Archaeology.