Thursday 30 June 2016

Durrington Walls: Unearthing the Secrets of Stonehenge’s ‘Superhenge’

When it comes to the ancient and precious gem that is the Stonehenge Landscape it seems the harder we look the more we find. Over the course of the last five years a team of archaeologists from across Europe led by Professor Vince Gaffney of Bradford University have been carrying out a vast geophysical survey covering almost every blade of grass that the National Trust care for in the Stonehenge Landscape (about 2100 acres). They’ve made dozens of new discoveries, some of them entirely unknown sites. But possibly the most astonishing they’ve found is that something – in fact possibly as many as two hundred somethings – lie buried beneath the bank of Durrington Walls henge.

Their surveys have revealed an arc of large solid objects some as much as two or three metres long. But what are they? Vince and his Hidden Landscapes team think they’re the remains of standing stones. If they are they would be the remains of a stone monument so vast that it would only be rivalled by the great Outer Circle at Avebury. On the other hand Professor Mike Parker Pearson and his multi-university Stonehenge Riverside Project think that they may be pits dug to contain giant timber posts but then backfilled.

There’s only one way to find out - and that’s to dig! So the Hidden Landscapes team, the Stonehenge Riverside Project and the National Trust have joined forces to create an archaeological ‘superteam’.

 In the first two weeks of August this summer we will be excavating the ‘Superhenge’ to discover what the four thousand five hundred year old secret is that lies buried at Durrington Walls.

You can get daily updates from the trenches when we’re digging on our FragmeNTs blog http://ntarchaeostonehengeaveburywhs.word or follow our progress on the @DrNickNT Twitter feed. Better still come and take a look for yourself. Our crack team of volunteer guides will be down on the dig site ready to share all of our latest discoveries with you.

You’ll find Durrington Walls just off of the A345 about half a mile north of the Countess Roundabout – just follow the signs for Woodhenge. See you there!

From Megalith 2016

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