The Stonehenge monumental site remains one of the most mysterious monuments in the world. Located on Salisbury Plain in England, it is set as a ring of standing stones within earthworks. And is believed to be built somewhat between 3000 BC to 2000 BC.
Every summer solstice, tens of thousands of people flock to Stonehenge, creating a festival-like atmosphere at the 4,400-year-old stone monument. For the 2015 solstice, they will have a bit more room to spread out. A just-completed four-year project to map the vicinity of Stonehenge reveals a sprawling complex that includes 17 newly discovered monuments and signs of a 1.5-kilometre-around ‘super henge’.
The digital map — made from high-resolution radar and magnetic and laser scans that accumulated several terabytes of data — shatters the picture of Stonehenge as a desolate and exclusive site that was visited by few.
The cursus, a 3-kilometre-long, 100-metre-wide ditch north of Stonehenge that was thought to act as barrier was uncovered to have gaps leading to Stonehenge, as well as several large pits, one of which would have been perfectly aligned with the setting solstice Sun. New magnetic and radar surveys of the Durrington Walls (which had been excavated before) uncovered more than 60 now-buried holes in which stones would have sat, and were a few stones are still buried.
The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes project has been a 4 year endeavor. The researches created a detailed subsurface archeological map of the area, using a variety of different techniques including ground-penetrating radar and 3D laser scanning, which are thought to be less destructive than traditional digging exploratory ones.
These new discoveries provide more insight into Neolithic human technology and design and also give the ancient site the feeling of being “cathedralesque”. These discoveries hopefully will give further insight into the ritual practices of our ancestors.