Incredible Discovery at Durrington Walls, near Stonehenge.

25 06 2020

This week has seen one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in recent years.

For centuries, archaeologists as well as the public have marvelled at the sheer richness of neolithic history concentrated in the Wessex area. Whether it’s the world famous mystery of Stonehenge, Avebury stone circle or Durrington Walls  (possibly the largest neolithic settlement in Europe). With such a historic landscape, so rigorously examined over the years, new discoveries are often few and far between or small in scale. This week however, archaeologists have discovered a gigantic neolithic circle of deep shafts surrounding Durrington Walls – a discovery of seismic proportions.

A  new circle discovered near Stonehenge, is more than 10 metres in diameter and five metres deep.  Photo taken by Stonehenge Dronescapes.

A new circle discovered near Stonehenge, is more than 10 metres in diameter and five metres deep. Photo taken by Stonehenge Dronescapes.

“This is an unprecedented find of major significance within the UK,” said archaeologist Vincent Gaffney.

The neolithic settlement, thought to be where the builders of Stonehenge resided, lies around 3 km from the iconic monoliths. The newly found surrounding circle consists of over 20 colossal shafts in fastidiously accurate arrangement. Archaeologists have reported that the shafts form a circle more than two kilometres wide around the ancient settlement, and they believe this perimeter served as a boundary to a sacred area. 

The shafts themselves, 10 metres (32 Feet) wide and five meters (16 Feet) deep, are believed to be more than 4,500 years ago, the same age as the Durrington Walls settlement.

Experts from several institutes including University of St Andrews, the University of Wales, Warwick, Birmingham, Trinity Saint David and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre at the University of Glasgow, came together in a multidisciplinary effort to make this stunning finding. 

Not only is this one of the largest finds in recent years, but also could prove to be an incredibly important discovery for our understanding of the Neolithic peoples. This find could be the decisive evidence needed to prove our ancestors enacted a system of counting. Such is the exact and geometrically precise nature of the circle. It has been described by archaeologists who worked on the project as ‘a masterpiece of engineering’. 

Indeed, Prof Vincent Gaffney, a leading archaeologist on the project, said: “This is an unprecedented find of major significance within the UK. Key researchers on Stonehenge and its landscape have been taken aback by the scale of the structure and the fact that it hadn’t been discovered until now so close to Stonehenge.”

Long recognised on old maps as an ancient British Village, Durrington Walls’ true importance only became apparent in the late 1960s when the road through it was realigned on a straighter path. You can see the line of the old, smaller, road in the aerial photo running to the left of the new road.

Long recognised on old maps as an ancient British Village, Durrington Walls’ true importance only became apparent in the late 1960s when the road through it was realigned on a straighter path. You can see the line of the old, smaller, road in the aerial photo running to the left of the new road.

The incredible story unfolded in characteristic fashion. Initially, archaeologists thought the large pits were simple watering holes designed to slake the thirst of livestock. But when they investigated further, using cutting edge radar, they discovered that the holes were far too deep for this purpose.

A combination of techniques were then used to unfold the fascinating reality. Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust archaeologist for the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site, said: “The Hidden Landscape team have combined cutting-edge, archaeological fieldwork with good old-fashioned detective work to reveal this extraordinary discovery and write a whole new chapter in the story of the Stonehenge landscape.”

The discovery only accentuates the sheer scale of neolithic intrigue hosted by the landscape of Wessex. Hopefully there will be many more discoveries in the years to come and the lives of our ancient ancestors will become even clearer to us.

Relevant Stonehenge News:

Vast neolithic circle of deep shafts found near Stonehenge – THE GUARDIAN
Archaeologists Discover Enormous Ring of Ancient Pits Near Stonehenge – SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE
‘Astonishing discovery’ near Stonehenge led by University of Bradford archaeologists offers new insight into Neolithic ancestors – BRADFORD UNIVERSITY
A hole new ‘Stonehenge’! New prehistoric monument dating back 4,500 years made up of 15ft-deep shafts in a mile-wide circle is discovered in English countryside – THE DAILY MAIL
Giant circle of shafts discovered close to Stonehenge – ABC NEWS
Tour company specialising in guided tours of Stonehenge and the surronding landscape – STONEHENGE GUIDED TOURS
Archaeologists discover ‘astonishing’ huge circular neolithic monument next to Stonehenge – THE INDEPENDENT
Durrington Walls, Stonehenge Landscape walk – THE NATIONAL TRUST
Neolithic monument unearthed near Stonehenge in ‘astonishing’ archaeological discovery – THE METRO
HIDDEN HENGE Stonehenge – Neolithic stone circle dating back 4,500 years discovered just miles from site – THE SUN
Durrington Walls: The largest henge monument in Britain – THE STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Salisbury based tour operator offering guided walks and tours of the Stonehenge landsacpe – STONEHENGE AND SALIBURY GUIDED TOURS
Durrington Walls: The largest henge monument in Britain – THE STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Durrington Walls Dig: August 2016 – THE STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
The Blick Mead excavations have transformed the understanding of the Stonehenge landscape. – THE STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG

 

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Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebrations 2020. Watch the summer solstice LIVE from Stonehenge, wherever you are in the world!

13 06 2020

Every year on the 21 June, the rising midsummer sun and Stonehenge’s ancient monoliths combine to create one of the world’s most fundamental and bewitchingly beautiful natural light shows. 

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As dawn rises on the year’s longest day, the age-old stones, transported hundreds of miles and precisely arranged by our ancestors, refract the primal light of the sun in the northeast to render a spectacle which has entranced humanity for centuries.

No pandemic can halt the rays of the splendid sun or topple these arcane stones and the lights will once more enact their yearly dance. And despite restricted physical access to the stones, this year’s summer solstice will still be available to watch via streaming – the first time in its great history.

Stonehenge Summer Solstice live stream 2020

Watch the summer solstice LIVE from Stonehenge, wherever you are in the world! Official English Heritage Livestream

The Solstice and Stonehenge

The summer solstice takes place when one of the Earth’s poles is at its greatest tilt toward the Sun. It happens twice per year, once in each hemisphere. Every year on these occasions, the sun seems to pause in the sky, taking a break from its primordial journey to bask us in its warmth. Our prehistoric ancestors were keen astronomers and Stonehenge, combined with the summer solstice go a great way to substantiate this. Stonehenge, ever since its construction, has been carefully aligned on a sight-line that points to the summer solstice sunset. Every year humanity lays witness to our ancestors’ ingenuity and  the stones appear purpose built for the crystallizing moment of the midsummer sunrise. 

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Our ancestors, both distant and recent, have come together on the summer solstice, to both celebrate the beauty of nature and the world heritage sites’ rich celebratory tradition. Ancients believed the summer solstice was a time to celebrate the balance of nature, as day defeated night and the height of summer and people rejoiced in the warmth and bounty of summertime.These traditions are still honoured to this day as all people are treated equal under the light of the solstice sun. The festival was once named Litha (in the language of the Wicca)

The perceived suspension of the sun imbued light and energy into the ancients’ rituals and that energy has been retained to this day. The celebrations at the stones are one of the most popular solstice celebrations in the world. 

This year, thousands of visitors will not be able to descend on the Stones. Instead, the Stones and the wildlife surrounding them have had a chance to recharge, whilst we can all still watch the incredible sunrise and keep communities safe from the COVID-19 outbreak. The English Heritage organisation is presenting a livestream version of the celebrations, streaming the sunrise on Sunday morning GMT on 21 June across its social media channels. 

Nichola Tasker, director of Stonehenge said he and the rest of English heritage ‘hope that our live stream offers an alternative opportunity for people near and far to connect with this spiritual place at such a special time of year and we look forward to welcoming everyone back next year’

Although times are hard, Stonehenge continues to create excitement and history, and at this time of year it creates one of the  world’s most brilliant natural light shows. English Heritage cameras will capture the best views of Stonehenge, allowing you to connect with this spiritual place from the comfort of your own home.

WHAT TIME IS SUNRISE/SUNSET ON THE SOLSICE? 

The sunset is at 21:26 BST (20:26 GMT) on Saturday 20th June. The sunrise is at 04:52 BST (03:52 GMT) on Sunday 21st June.

More Virtual Summer Solstice Events:
Stonehenge Solstice Festival – Raising money to support the NHS in these troubled times.
Virtual Stonehenge Summer Solstice Ceremony
Glastonbury Virtual Summer Solstice. Hosted by Glastonbury Information Centre
Virtual Stonehenge 2020 Festival  www.stonehenge2020.com
The Glastonbury Festival Experience

Stonehenge Summer Solstice Links:
Stonehenge will be closed during the summer solstice for the first time in decades – THE TELEGRAPH
Avebury closed for Summer Solstice 2020 – NATIONAL TRUST
‘Please don’t travel’ to Stonehenge warning ahead of summer solstice – SOMERSET LIVE
Stonehenge will livestream the sunrise during the summer solstice on June 21 so pagans and travellers in lockdown don’t miss out on the spectacle – THE DAILY MAIL
Summer solstice at Stonehenge to be broadcast live – how to watch – THE BRISTOL POST
The Stonehenge Pilgrims – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Stonehenge with no crowds? Big changes planned for reopening – THE GUARDIAN
A Pilgrim’s Guide to Stonehenge. The Winter Solstice Celebrations, Summer Solstice and Equinox Dawn Gatherings – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Stonehenge Solstice Photographs on FLICKR
Stonehenge Solstice live video footage on PERISCOPE
Stonehenge may have been pilgrimage site for sick – REUTERS
Background to the Stonehenge Solstice Celebrations – STONEHENGE NEWS
Stonehenge Solstice and Equinox Tours – STONEHENGE GUIDED TOURS
Tour Operator offering exclusive Stonehenge Tours – SOLSTICE EVENTS
Virtual Tour of the Stones – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Stonehenge Virtual Tour: Inside the Stones  – ENGLISH HERITAGE WEBSITE

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http://www.Stonehenge.News








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