Friday 4 April 2014

A Mystery Depression at Stonehenge

STONEHENGE: PLANS, DESCRIPTION, AND THEORIES by W M Flinder Petrie with an update by Gerald S Hawkins.

A fascinating book with this excellent map produced in 1966.

Click to enlarge

Hawkins is intrigued by the semi-circular depression  just to the east  of  the North Barrow.

It shows up in this photograph from the early sixties as a dark mark. He assures the reader it isn't a Fairy Ring and wonders what it is? I do as well, as I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere else.


  1. It's in the three 1906 Balloon pictures too.
    I'm going with 'Modern Times' with this one. It's just to the West of the old cartway that enters through the Avenue and parallels it for a short distance. Perhaps it's the remnant of and even older cartway, or an old trench from someone digging for King Arthur's Treasure.


  2. Integrating!

    Too much of a curve to be a trackway - a second ring to the North Barrow would be exciting as it goes into the ditch bank and so it would predate it!! But the straight linear lines not on the map but on the photo could be old trackways

    Likelihood, with all the remodeling Stonehenge has had in the past is some kind of access trench for services.

  3. There were tracks and roads all through the Henge in days gone by. Those that are seen in old aerials are certainly tracks - some old / some newer. The Tourist Walkway in use today is the remnant of one.

    On LiDAR images we can still see a shadow of the original Byway-12 as it passed through on its way to Larkhill.
    Another came up from the South and passed by the East side of the Stones, exiting to the right of the Avenue. This trackway fell into disuse when Antrobus had the telegraph poles installed on S-6 & -7.
    I get a kick out of some claims that many of the breaks in the Bank were 'Original Features', when all we have to do is look at old pictures to see the roads cutting across.

    I do agree that the feature is probably not a path, but a digging of some sort.

    It has been determined that the North Barrow predates the Henge Structure, being partially buried under the Bank - but its original purpose is unknown. While this Barrow is a double-ring, the feature we see is too far away to be a part of it.

    Curiously, the North Barrow has taken its worst beating in the last 100 years - unlike most other features. It can be seen clearly in old pictures, and fades further away as the photos get newer.

    Now it's virtually invisible.

    Tim - take a few phone-pics when you're out there next. Morning or afternoon light would be best. My interest is certainly piqued!


  4. Looked for it this morning, couldn't see anything or feel it by walking across, a mystery.