Researchers found that the most popular prehistoric shrine of Europe – Stonehenge, was once overshadowed by a much larger stone circle.
For years, tourists and archaeologists have been fascinated by the great stone circle monument at Stonehenge, a piece of lost culture of which we know very little about. But this week archaeologists made a new discovery, a hidden circle of stones that is actually much bigger than Stonehenge. The relic was dubbed Superhenge.
Archaeologists used geophysical and remote scanning technologies to detect all of the stones with as little commotion as possible. The hidden stone complex is believed to have been built 1,500 years before Stonehenge, that means approximatively 4,500 years ago. Superhenge was discovered in 2014 under the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, after digital maps were devised with the purpose of finding other rock formations similar to Stonehenge. The project was conducted by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaelogy and the University of Birmingham.
Superhenge’s stones are currently laying sideways deep beneath the slopes of Durrington Walls. Some of its pillars are thought to be up to 4.5 meters tall, dwarfing the largest stones that have been used in building Stonehenge.
Christopher Gaffney, professor at the University of Bradford, said that thanks to the discovery of such a remarkably well preserved stone monument, we can now gain a better understand of Stonehenge’s origins. He added that the new finding demonstrates that there was unexpected stage of architecture in prehistoric Europe, and that Stonehenge was not a one of a kind monumental architecture.
The monolithic relic is situated just miles away from the Stonehenge site in Wiltshire, England. While the discovery was made last year, only now researchers have realized what is the actual size of the Superhenge – much bigger than expected.
When it was first discovered, the 4,500 year old shrine was just 3 feet of dirt beneath the ground. The cutting-edge technologies used by the researchers at Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project offered us a glimpse of what is hidden beneath the earth without the need to unearth the entire structure.
Researchers found that the Superhenge was a rock formation of 90 standing stones which were standing in a row. Professor Neubauer, director of the SHLP, declared: “Our high resolution ground penetrating radar data has revealed an amazing row of up to 90 standing stones a number of which have survived after being pushed over and a massive bank placed over the stones. In the east up to 30 stones, measuring up to size of 4.5 m x 1.5 x 1 m, have survived below the bank whereas elsewhere the stones are fragmentary or represented by massive foundation pits.
Photo Credits flickr