Stonehenge continues to make the headlines. Earlier this summer, dry conditions around the ruins revealed evidence that Stonehenge was once a complete circle.
Today, a new digital map of the area has revealed hundreds of new features around the iconic ruins. The stunning results show 17 previously undiscovered ritual monuments dating back to the origins of Stonehenge.
Dozens of burial mounds were also found in the area. Among these, was a long barrow dating back before Stonehenge with a massive timber building. Researchers believe this building was “probably used for the ritual inhumation of the dead following a complicated sequence of exposure and excarnation,” according to a press release.
Thew new digital map also revealed new information about known structures around Stonehenge. Researchers have pegged the circumference of the Durrington Walls at more than 0.93 miles.
This ‘super henge’ also looked vastly different after its initial construction. The survey shows the monument had a row of massive stones or posts located on each side. The survey points to these stones being nearly 10 feet high and as many as 60 of them. Some of these could be below the ground near the Durrington Walls.
You can get an in-depth look at all the new information in a BBC Two series titled ‘Operation Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath.’ It will air at 8 pm BST on Thursday.
Professor Vincent Gaffney, Chair in Landscape Archaeology and Geomatics at the University of Birmingham, led the project. He touched on how foreign parts of Stonehenge still are for researchers.
“Despite Stonehenge being the most iconic of all prehistoric monuments and occupying one of the richest archaeological landscapes in the world, much of this landscape in effect remains terra incognita,” Gaffney said.
The discoveries made by the new digital map will “transform how archaeologists and the wider public understand on the best-studied landscapes on Earth,” according to Gaffney.
With all this new information, will scientists excavate more around Stonehenge? Any decision on further excavation will be determined by the English Heritage – they are a government body that oversees Stonehenge and other historic sites.
Dr. Heather Sebire of English Heritage and Curator of Stonehenge called it “an exciting project.”
“The surveys will help us form an understanding of possible new sites which have not been recorded before but which will need further investigation.”
Thanks to the new, extremely detailed map, “Stonehenge may never be the same again,” according to Gaffney.
Be sure to check out BBC Two tomorrow night for more on the mysteries of Stonehenge.
Image credit: garethwiscombe/Wikipedia