New ‘Stonehenge’ discovered – October 2009

26 10 2009

ANOTHER stone circle has been discovered just a mile away from Stonehenge.

The find, on the west bank of the River Avon, has been named Bluestonehenge after the colour of the 25 Welsh stones from which it was formed.

The discovery was made during the Stonehenge Riverside Project, in which teams from British universities led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson from the University of Sheffield are studying the area around the famous monument.

The stone circle is 10 meters in diameter and surrounded by a ditch and external bank.

Although the stones at the site of the new discovery were removed thousands of years ago, the holes remain and show it was a circle of bluestones brought from the Preseli Mountains in Wales.

Like the stones that make up Stonehenge it appears they were dragged 150 miles 5,000 years ago and put up in a circle.

Archaeologists revealed the builders of the stone circle used deer antlers as pickaxes and radio carbon dating is being carried out to give more precise dates.

Experts also believe the stones from Bluestonehenge were removed by Neolithic people, and possibly dragged along the route of the Avenue to Stonehenge, to be incorporated within its major rebuilding in around 2,500 BC.

Director of the project, Prof Pearson said: “It could be that Bluestonehenge was where the dead began their final journey to Stonehenge.

“Not many people know that Stonehenge was Britain´s largest burial ground at that time. Maybe the bluestone circle is where people were cremated before their ashes were buried at Stonehenge itself.”

Dr Josh Pollard, co-director from the University of Bristol added: “This is an incredible discovery. The newly discovered circle and henge should be considered an integral part of Stonehenge rather than a separate monument, and it offers tremendous insight into the history of its famous neighbour. Its landscape location demonstrates once again the importance of the River Avon in Neolithic funerary rites and ceremonies.”

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