Posted on Tuesday 13th December 2011
A new discovery has significantly increased the evidence linking the ancient monument of Stonehenge to sun worship.
The breakthrough was made by a team led by archaeologists from Birmingham and Vienna, which used using the latest geophysical imaging techniques to uncover two huge pits positioned on celestial alignment at the site in Wiltshire.
These pits may have contained tall stones, wooden posts or even fires to mark the sun rising and setting and could have defined a processional route used to celebrate the passage of the sun across the sky at the summer solstice.
Professor Vince Gaffney, archaeologist and project leader from the IBM Visual and Spatial Technology Centre at the University of Birmingham, says:
“These exciting finds indicate that even though Stonehenge was ultimately the most important monument in the landscape, it may at times not have been the only, or most important, ritual focus and the area of Stonehenge may have become significant as a sacred site at a much earlier date.’
The pits are just one of several discoveries made during the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project, which began in summer 2010 as the world’s biggest-ever virtual excavation to reveal and visually recreate the extraordinary prehistoric landscape surrounding Stonehenge.
Just 10 days into the study the team attracted international media coverage when they found a second ‘henge’ just 1km away from the main Stonehenge monument.
Learn more in Professor Vince Gaffney’s podflash (MP3 - 10MB).
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