© Kieran Doherty / Reuters
“What we are starting to see is the largest surviving stone monument, preserved underneath a bank, that has ever been discovered in Britain and possibly in Europe,” Bradford University archeologist Vince Gaffney said.
The Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project team says it has made the discovery beneath Durrington Walls, also known as "superhenge" - one of the largest known henge monuments built about a century after Stonehenge, which is believed to have been completed 3,500 years ago.
The discovery may debunk previous archaeological theories, suggesting that Durrington Walls had an earlier phase which included a large row of standing stones probably of local origin and of historical significance. The new remains could have been erected at the time of Stonehenge or even earlier.
Questions also arise about the landscape the builders of Stonehenge inhabited and how they changed this with the building of new monuments during the third millennium BC.
Credits: Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project/PA Wire
Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust archaeologist for the Avebury and Stonehenge World Heritage Site, said: “The Stonehenge landscape has been studied by antiquaries and archaeologists for centuries.But the work of the Hidden Landscapes team is revealing previously unsuspected twists in its age-old tale. These latest results have produced tantalising evidence of what lies beneath the ancient earthworks at Durrington Walls. The presence of what appear to be stones, surrounding the site of one of the largest Neolithic settlements in Europe adds a whole new chapter to the Stonehenge story.”