Scientists Make Big Find Near Stonehenge

Giant circle of pits discovered about 2 miles away
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2020 7:56 AM CDT
Updated Jun 27, 2020 10:00 AM CDT
Big Discovery Near Stonehenge Adds to Site's Mystique
Security staff stand near the ancient Stonehenge site on Salisbury Plain.   (Adam Davy / PA via AP)

(Newser) – The more they look, the more intriguing the area around Stonehenge gets to archaeologists. The latest discovery comes about two miles away: Scientists found what Reuters describes as a "giant circle of pits." And this was no random circle: In the exact center is another ancient monument, previously discovered, known as the Durrington Walls, reports the Guardian. The best guess is that the newly discovered circle served as either an entranceway to the monument at its center, or perhaps as a barrier or warning to prevent visitors from getting closer. The circle, the Durrington Walls, and Stonehenge all appear to have been built around the same time, about 4,500 years ago, per the BBC.

“As the place where the builders of Stonehenge lived and feasted, Durrington Walls is key to unlocking the story of the wider Stonehenge landscape,” says archaeologist Nick Snashall of the National Trust, which runs the Stonehenge site. “This astonishing discovery offers us new insights into the lives and beliefs of our Neolithic ancestors." Scientists made the find using a combination of high-tech tools, including ground-penetrating radar, as well as standard site excavation. They have so far found about 20 pits, each more than 16 feet deep and 32 feet across. Digging holes of such size would have been no small feat with primitive tools. More interesting: It suggests builders used a relatively sophisticated counting system to measure distances for the 1.2-mile wide circle. (Read more Stonehenge stories.)

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