BREAKING NEWS: Geophysical survey reveals secret chambers and corridors underneath Stonehenge.

1 04 2017

Most people are unaware of the underground chamber that lies beneath Stonehenge.

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The six entrances to it are clearly visible in the recent geophysical survey, arranged as a squashed hexagon with linking corridors between them, leading to the antechamber located below the North Barrow and the main room directly below the stone circle.

Col. William Hawley’s excavations of 1926 revealed the existence of the entrances and corridors, but he didn’t investigate further as he was already in his mid-70s and had been abandoned by the workers assigned to assist him.

The records of this discovery existed only in Hawley’s personal notebooks, which lay unexamined until the mid 1950s.

In 1958, under the pretext of re-erecting a collapsed Trilithon, Richard Atkinson’s team made extensive excavations in the centre of the circle in an attempt to break through to the main room after the route via the antechamber was discovered to be blocked by a massive sarsen stone.

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While the waiting crowd’s interest was held by the struggle to put back up two massive uprights and a correspondingly huge lintel, the real work in the centre circle continued for 4 months and 1 day.

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Very few photographs exist of what was found once the chalk capping of the main chamber had been breached, but Atkinson’s archive was badly catalogued so it has been difficult to attribute photos to positions with any kind of accuracy.

A particularly tantalising, but unlabelled, photo has emerged.

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Atkinson never published what he found, in fact his only report of the extensive 1950s excavations and restorations were two popular books – one called “Stonehenge”, and the other called “What is Stonehenge? A Guide for Young People”.

Towards the end of the project the decision was taken to fill the main room, antechamber and access corridors with concrete to prevent the collapse of the monument above.

Was this a cover up?

As far as the world’s press and the public were concerned, the project had been a huge success – a Trilithon that had collapsed in 1797 had been restored along with stones from the outer circle that had fallen on the last day of 1900. Publicity photos showed Stonehenge “restored” to something approaching its former glory.

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Occasionally an photograph appears on eBay claiming to be from the archive of Atkinson’s benefactor Sir “Polo” Divans, the likely recipient of any finds from the main chamber. This is one of a peculiar object from his collection.

Occasionally an photograph appears on eBay claiming to be from the archive of Atkinson’s benefactor Sir “Polo” Divans, the likely recipient of any finds from the main chamber. This is one of a peculiar object from his collection.

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The six entrances were left unsealed but capped with metal covers at ground level – these can easily be found in the grass – and once a year there is a stress test of the concrete infill to ensure no subsidence or cracking has occurred. This is achieved by pumping chemical smoke in at one entrance and checking for leaks at each of the other five.

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Bizarrely, there was a Doctor Who episode filmed at Stonehenge in 2010 entitled “The Pandorica Opens” that used the idea of an “Underhenge” beneath the monument.

Perhaps someone on the production or writing team had some inside knowledge of what really lies beneath. The rest of us will never know for sure.

Thanks to local historian Simon Banton for sharing this ground breaking story

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Ancient dog tooth found near Stonehenge shows 7,000 year old journeys

8 10 2016

We know that man’s best friend is a dog, but archaeologists near Stonehenge have found that dates back 7,000 years!

A dig at Blickmead, a mile from the stone circle, has uncovered a dog’s tooth.

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That particular breed would have been seen as a ‘prized prestige pet’

Scientists from the University of Buckingham and the University of Durham think the dog came from the York area, making it one of the longest known journeys to South Wiltshire ever recorded, at 250 miles.

The finding could also show that people visited the sacred area two millennia before the stone circle’s believed to have been built.

The dog is thought to be an Alsatian, at a time when prehistoric man was only just starting to tame animals and keep them as pets.

Archaeologist David Jacques said:

“The fact that a dog and a group of people were coming to the area from such a long distance away further underlines just how important the place was four millennia before the circle was built.

“Discoveries like this give us a completely new understanding of the establishment of the ritual landscape and make Stonehenge even more special than we thought we knew it was. It would be devastating if the tunnel obliterated our chance of piecing together the jigsaw to explain why Stonehenge was built.”

The site that’s being dug at the moment is under threat as it’s along the route of the proposed A303 tunnel.

There’s more on this story on our national news page at www.spirefm.co.uk/news

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Stonehenge researchers ‘may have found largest prehistoric site’

7 09 2015
Standing stones found buried near Stonehenge could be the “largest” intact prehistoric monument ever built in Britain, archaeologists believe.Large stones at Durrington Walls
The large stones are located around the edge of the henge at Durrington Walls (Image copyrigh Ludwig Boltzmann Institute)

Using ground-penetrating radar, some 100 stones were found at the Durrington Walls “superhenge”, a later bank built close to Stonehenge.

The Stonehenge Living Landscapes team has been researching the ancient monument site in a five-year project.

Finding the stones was “fantastically lucky”, researchers said.

The stones may have originally measured up to 4.5m (14ft) in height and had been pushed over the edge of Durrington Walls.

The site, which is thought to have been built about 4,500 years ago, is about 1.8 miles (3km) from Stonehenge, Wiltshire.

The stones were found on the edge of the Durrington Walls “henge”, or bank, an area which had not yet been studied by researchers.

Large stones at Durrington Walls
The stones could have measured up to 4.5m in height (Image copyright Ludwig Boltzmann Institute)

Lead researcher, Vince Gaffney said the stones were “lost to archaeology” but found thanks to modern technology.

National Trust archaeologist, Dr Nick Snashall said there were “hints” the stones could be buried in the landscape.

“In the field that lies to the south we know there’s a standing stone which is now the only standing stone, now fallen, that you can go up to and touch in the whole of the Stonehenge landscape,” he said.

“It’s called the Cuckoo Stone.

“If there are stones beneath the bank… they’re probably looking at stones of pretty much the same size as the Cuckoo Stone.”

Radar scanning at Durrington Walls, Wiltshire
Ground-penetrating radar was used to detect the large stones at Durrington Walls (Image copyright Geert Verhoeven)

Dr Snashall added there was a “sense” of an area set aside for the living and another for the dead at Durrington Walls – and that had changed over time.

“This gives us a a whole new phase that shows us that has started within 40 years of the site going out of use, or even less than that,” he said.

The findings are being announced later on the first day of the British Science Festival being held at the University of Bradford.

Large stones at Durrington Walls
The row of stones were standing over the edge of the bank of the henge (Image copyright Ludwig Boltzmann Institute)

Source and full story : BBC Wiltshire

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Pre-history may have to be re-written due to groundbreaking finds by Stonehenge team

2 11 2014

Pre-history may have to be re-written following a recent dig by university students near Stonehenge.

Senior research fellow David Jacques

Senior research fellow David Jacques

Signs of human habitation 8,000 years ago have been discovered by Archaeology MA students from the University of Buckingham, led by senior research fellow David Jacques.

Mr Jacques said: “This year we’ve found burnt flint – a sign that people had made fires, so were in the area, around 8,000 years ago.

“The finds will have to be carbon-dated to get a precise date.

“It’s been wonderful that the first ever University of Buckingham archaeology students have unearthed mesolithic tools as part of the team of volunteers at the dig.”

The archaeologist, who is leading the new Archaeology MA course at the university, has just completed a two-week dig at Vespasian’s Camp, a mile from Stonehenge, at which MA students and University of Buckingham staff worked as volunteers, sifting through remains.

A number of ancient flint tools were among the finds.

More than 12,000 items from the mesolithic era (8000 – 3500BC) have been uncovered, including hunting tools, the cooked bones of aurochs – a gigantic cow-like animal – deer, wild boar, and even toads’ legs.

The finds have revealed that the site was in use continually for over 3,000 years, and could even be the reason why Stonehenge is where it is.

Mr Jacques suspects the site will contain evidence of settlements, which would be some of the earliest ever found in the UK and would completely change our understanding of this era.

Mr Jacques appeared on TV this year in BBC 1’s Operation Stonehenge and BBC 4’s The Flying Archaeologist.

And the MA students working alongside him at the dig a fortnight ago found themselves being filmed for a forthcoming episode of Horizon.

Digs at the site over the last few years have already yielded a staggering 32,000 artefacts dating from as far back as 7500BC.

Last year, the dig resulted in 8,000-year-old burnt frogs’ legs being found, revealing the delicacy was originally English and not French.

Earlier this year, carbon dating of finds from the dig led to the revelation that Amesbury is the oldest town in the country.

A previous public lecture by Mr Jacques at the university drew a packed audience.

Following the latest dig, Mr Jacques is returning to deliver another public lecture on Thursday, November 13.

The free event will take place at 6.30pm, in the Chandos Road Building, as part of the university’s autumn concert and lecture series.

In the lecture, Mr Jacques will unveil startling new evidence showing how the mesolithic period influenced the building of Stonehenge.

The lecture will focus on the area around the dig, Blick Mead, which features a natural spring, which would have attracted settlers to the area.

The warm spring water has caused stones to turn a bright puce, a colour of stone not found elsewhere in the UK.

David Jacques was elected a Fellow of the Society of the Antiquaries (FSA) in recognition of the importance of his discoveries there.
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