July 22, 2010

Second Monument Found At Stonehenge Site

A team of archaeologists have uncovered a wooden version of Stonehenge approximately 6/10 of a mile from the monument's site, according to a Thursday University of Bingham press release.

The second monument, which is believed to date back to the Neolithic period (2,000 to 4,000 years ago), was uncovered using virtual mapping technology. The discovery comes as part of a three-year, multimillion dollar study that started a mere two weeks ago.

According to the university's press release, "The incredible find has been hailed by Professor Vince Gaffney, from the University's IBM Visual and Spatial Technology Centre, as one of the most significant yet for those researching the UK's most important prehistoric structure."

"This finding is remarkable," said Gaffney said. "It will completely change the way we think about the landscape around Stonehenge"¦ People have tended to think that as Stonehenge reached its peak it was the paramount monument, existing in splendid isolation"¦ This discovery is completely new and extremely important in how we understand Stonehenge and its landscape."

The structure, described as "henge-like" by the author of the university press release, is reportedly on the same orientation as Stonehenge itself.

"You seem to have a large-ditched feature, but it seems to be made of individual scoops rather than just a straight trench," Gaffney told BBC News on Thursday. "When we looked a bit more closely, we then realized there was a ring of pits about a meter wide going all the way around the edge."

"When you see that as an archaeologist, you just looked at it and thought, 'that's a henge monument' - it's a timber equivalent to Stonehenge. From the general shape, we would guess it dates backs to about the time when Stonehenge was emerging at its most complex," he added. "This is probably the first major ceremonial monument that has been found in the past 50 years or so"¦ This is really quite interesting and exceptional; it starts to give us a different perspective of the landscape."

Gaffney told Nina Chestney of Reuters that there were no plans to excavate the site.

"This is a virtual dig. We couldn't excavate at this scale anyway," he said, adding that he had "absolutely no doubt" that the team would discover yet more remains as the project moved forward.


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