A drought can actually be good for something. Scientists have long theorized that Stonehenge was once a complete circle, and a drought last year may have helped them prove their point. In 2013, the area around Stonehenge was hit by a drought. As the ground dried up, several brown patches appeared in spots where you would expect the missing stones.
Luckily for archaeologists, a keen-eyed groundskeeper noticed the patches and remembered their work. Tim Daw spoke to BBC about almost setting up a hose to water the area, before remembering that the patches could signify resting spots of old stones.
“I was standing on the public path looking at the grass near the stones and thinking that we needed to find a longer hosepipe to get the parched patches to green up. A sudden lightbulb moment in my head, and I remembered that the marks were where archaeologists had looked without success for signs that there had been stone holes, and that parch marks can signify them.”
For now, scientists are tacitly confirming Tim Daw suspicions, but are waiting for further droughts to closely examine the area. Last year’s drought gave them too narrow of a time period to study the area.
Researchers laid out their plain in the journal Antiquity. “Ideally the survey would have differentiated between marks caused by parching — the majority — and those caused by lusher growth. It would have also have graded the marks into ‘definitive’, ‘probable’ and ‘possible’ categories. This was not possible, and the result must therefore be treated with caution.”
If they do get confirmation, hopefully Tim Daw gets his name in the history books. That would make for a great story to tell the grandkids. You discovered that Stonehenge was a perfect circle at one point.
As for the rest of us, that brown patch of grass does mean you need to water your lawn. No ancient ruins for your suburban backyard.
IMG Credit: Stefan Kuhn
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