Neolithic Stones Near Stonehenge Could be Largest Found


The famous standing stones of Stonehenge are familiar the world around as one of the most outstanding Neolithic remains we know.  But now scientists working around the site have discovered that it is actually a mere part of a larger site, destined to be the largest Neolithic monument discovered in Britain.

The stones are some 4500 years old and some measure up to 15 feet in length.  They were discovered under three feet of earth at Durrington Walls, known as the ‘superhenge’.  Researchers say it was to an ‘extraordinary scale’ and unique among current finds.

Geophysical imaging

The team, called Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes, has been creating a map of the underground of the area as part of a five-year project.  Technology including remote sensing and geophysical imaging technology has been used to find some 100 stones without the need for moving a single spade-full of earth.

The new monument is less than two miles from Stonehenge, in the county of Wiltshire in England, and it believed to be a ritual site dating from the same period as the most famous site.  It also appears that there is evidence for a dry river valley that once connected to the River Avon and even of a spring.

No stones have yet been unearthed but the researchers believe they are made from sarsen blocks that are found locally.  Sarsen stones are sandstone blocks that are found across the Salisbury Plain and the nearby Marlborough Downs.

Standing stones

One remaining standing stone remains in the field beside Durrington Wells, known as the Cuckoo Stone.  Nearby are a number of other stones that have been toppled over and researchers think this was done deliberately.  These are located on the south east edge of the circular bank enclosure that they were once thought to have been incorporated.

One of the lead researchers, Vince Gaffney, of the University of Bradford, said that the group are sure that there is nothing quite like this site anywhere in the world.  It was a completely new type of site with an extraordinary scale.

Archaeologist Nick Snashall added that the stones seem to show that the site is one of the largest Neolithic settlement across the whole of Europe and adds a ‘whole new chapter’ to the story of Stonehenge.


The earthwork enclosure at Durrington Walls is believe to be around a century younger than Stonehenge but the newly discovered stones could be closer to the age of the nearby standing stones or even pre-date them.

The finding comes as another even older site has been discovered by researchers from the University of Buckingham.  Blick Mead is near to Stonehenge and is believed to be some 9500 years old.  But there are fears that this site could be damaged by the plan to build a road tunnel past Stonehenge.


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