Saturday 13 April 2024

Woodhenge Unveiled: A Surprising Sibling of Stonehenge

Dr Amanda Chadburn in the pre-publication publicity for her and Clive Ruggles book: Stonehenge: Sighting the Sun has been talking to the Daily Telegraph about Woodhenge

The ebook is available for £40 at: or £32 from

“We’ve dated different parts of Woodhenge and ... discovered that it was a two-phase monument and that its solstice-aligned timber rings were earlier, constructed around 2600BC – and is therefore broadly contemporary with the sarsens at Stonehenge."

“It’s significant because it proves that Stonehenge was not a one-off within the landscape.

“It shows that people who held their ceremonies or religious rituals in these monuments were looking at the sun in a similar way [at the same time].”

In their book, the academics write:“Some of the most common misconceptions about Stonehenge concern its connections with the heavens… As a result, a bewildering collection of contradictory accounts about Stonehenge and its ‘astronomy’ are available in bookshops and online.”

Dr Chadburn said: “People have said it was used to predict eclipses or it was aligned on the equinox. People claim all kinds of astronomical alignments for Stonehenge, but when you examine them very critically, the evidence doesn’t back that up.”


  1. Be a bit awkward if someone were actually to discover an equinotial alignment in that case, wouldn't it?

  2. Simon, it's always been there, as long as the centre of the monument - either Aubrey or Sarsen centres, as not enough to make a difference - was recognised as a spot to construct a monument. It's in the gap between the middle and northern barrow of the three large ones on King Barrow Ridge. The belt of Orion currently rises between the middle and southern barrows and it is equally coming upto its "standstill" before turning back and travelling south around 2352 CE. But it will hardly move from what can be observed at the moment as it's position won't vary much for some 500 years. I suppose that for whatever reason they decided to sacrifice a specific alignment to that location.

    The wider scenario considering the movement and positions of stars and constellations is covered in my diagram here:

    Equally, the standstill position of Regulus was along the Avenue matching the midsummer solstice alignment(3252BC), hence my hypothesis that the monument had a stellar celebratory function too. This diagram was included in my submission regarding the A303 tunnel proposal at Stonehenge. Unfortunately the five-year period for keeping documents has expired, and now that the website has also been relocated many of the original comments are no longer available. I only have the oral presentation and one other still available until June of this year. So it's a matter of uploading them personally somewhere for future historical reference. Time is a great killer of evidence in the Planning sphere and future generations will otherwise have no way of finding out exactly what our current generation thought about the project in written detail!