For centuries, Stonehenge has captivated and mystified archaeologists and visitors from all over the world. A recent discovery by experts unveiled Stonehenge II when they found an “extraordinary” line of giant stones dating back more than 4,500 years, about a mile away from Stonehenge.
It’s no surprise to find prehistoric sights littered in the area around Stonehenge. However, this new discovery of Stonehenge II comprises of 90 or more stones, lying 3 feet underground. Researchers used sophisticated radar equipment towed by quad bikes in discovering the ancient monuments.
The huge stones are buried, but researchers believe the monoliths are as high as 15 feet. In contrast to the circle arrangement of the original Stonehenge monuments, Stonehenge II stones are thought to form a long-standing line.
Professor Vince Gaffney from the University of Bradford, and one of the archaeologists leading the research, offered a comment about the recent Stonehenge II discovery.
“We’re looking at one of the largest stone monuments in Europe and it has been under our noses for something like 4,000 years. It’s truly remarkable. We don’t think there’s anything quite like this anywhere else in the world.”
Professor Gaffney added his belief regarding the construction of Stonehenge II.
“This is completely new and the scale is extraordinary. We presume it to be a ritual arena of some sort. These things are theatrical… designed to impress.”
The Daily Mirror cites the Stonehenge II stones are placed along the southeastern edge of what later became the Durrington Walls superhenge – a circular settlement ringed by a ditch and bank that, about a third of a mile across, is the largest earthwork of its kind in the United Kingdom.
It’s unclear whether the area around Stonehenge II was a competing attraction to Stonehenge or whether the arena was a rival attraction to Stonehenge. Who toppled them is a mystery, as well. Professor Gaffney said the stones might have been pushed over to protect their sacred essence.
Though the stones have not been excavated, the belief is they are giant sandstone blocks, or sarsens, similar to the blocks used at Stonehenge.
British Science Festival at the University of Bradford initiated the discovery. Last year, the Hidden Landscapes study revealed a number of archaeological features around Stonehenge.
Dr. Nick Snashall, National Trust archaeologist for Stonehenge briefly spoke of the team of researcher and the area around Stonehenge.
“The Stonehenge landscape has been studied for centuries. But the work of the Hidden Landscapes team is revealing previously unsuspected twists in its age-old tale.”
Stonehenge is a unique prehistoric monument — one of the wonders of the world.
English Heritage describes the significance of the Stonehenge monuments.
“It has also perhaps been the focus of more theories about its origin and purpose than any other prehistoric monument. These have included a coronation place for Danish kings, a Druid temple, an astronomical computer for predicting eclipses and solar events, a place where ancestors were worshiped, or a cult centre for healing. Today, the interpretation of Stonehenge which is most generally accepted is that of a prehistoric temple aligned with the movements of the sun.”
[Featured image via Scott Barbour/Getty Images]