Visited Stonehenge for the Autumn Equinox 2016 and had a look for these.
Couldn't find any trace and when I questioned an E.H. bod, he told me they were safely buried for prosperity.
"We know exactly where they are and we intend to reinstate them in due time", I was told.
The last time I visited Stonehenge I didn't know about these post holes but have read about them since. You can't really miss them as you drive over them! I wonder if they will still me marked when the planned changes take place?
Not a lot to see, that’s for sure – but hugely important nonetheless. The best time to see the white blobs that represent the post holes is early in the morning, not sure what time the carpark opens, but I got there before 9.30am when the ‘henge opens for business. Just a quarter of an hour later and you risk getting run over by tourist coaches. The place shuts at 6.00pm(?), after that you’ll have to ask the security guard nicely - don’t know if he will let you wander round ‘his’ carpark though…
Three large Mesolithic post holes plus a possible tree-throw hole found during excavations in Stonehenge car park in 1966. The post holes had each held substantial timber posts which appear to have rotted in situ. All fragments of wood and charcoal analysed appear to be pine. Radiocarbon dates placed each of the post holes in the early Mesolithic, circa 8500 to 7650 BC. The fourth feature did not contain evidence for a timber post, and was interpreted as a tree-throw hole. It's date is uncertain. However, it is positioned on the same line as the three post holes. No artefacts were recovered from any of the features. Although it is unclear if the post-holes were contemporary or successive features, they appear to represent a structure or structures with no direct parallels in the British Mesolithic. Speculation as to their function has so far focused on comparisons totem poles and other foci for formalised and/or ritual display.
A pit of Mesolithic date encountered during excvations in the car park at Stonehenge in 1988-9. The feature appears to have been dug initially as a post pit, similar to features excavated further to the west in the 1960s (SU 14 SW 156). The fill and profile also demonstrate an episode of recutting and backfilling, perhaps associated with removal of the post. Mesolithic post holes, particularly of this size, are uncommon, and the occurrence of a group of four or five (see SU 14 SW 156) represents a structure or structures with no direct parallels in the British Mesolithic.
(1) Rosamund M J Cleal, K E Walker and R Montague ... [et al] 1995 Stonehenge in its landscape : twentieth-century excavations English Heritage archaeological reports [new series]1 (1994) - 10 Page(s)41-62, 470-3
Excavations in 1979 on the site of the public conveniences in the visitors' car park at Stonehenge uncovered 38 stakeholes. Flint debitage comprising a primary flake, 21 secondary flakes and other items, tentatively dated to the Neolithic, were also found.
SU 123423: Excavations within the northwest corner of Stonehenge Vistor's car park located 38 stakeholes. These had an average diameter of 5cm, depth 10-12 cm, and have been given a possible Iron Age date by the excavator. Evidence of a Neolithic flint working site was also noted. (1-2)
( 1) The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine Smith, G, Excavations in the Stonehenge Car Park 74/5, 1979/80 Page(s)181
( 2) by Frances Blore, et al. 1995 Archaeological assessment of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and its surrounding landscape Record number 704 Page(s)237
Ah, the beautiful car park at Stonehenge. What a strange meeting point for all sorts of people.
The post holes were apparently only discovered because they wanted to build the car park. They didn't find much in them - a piece of bone and a quantity of charcoal. But the thing was, the charcoal was dated to the Mesolithic - the post holes were made 10,000 years ago, 5000 years older than the beginnings of 'stonehenge' as we think of it. The charcoal was made from pine wood - and the whole area would still have been forest at that time, because it was only later that the clearances started. So three huge wooden posts were put up in a line, in a forest or a forest glade?
Perhaps the wood got into the pits later somehow. Maybe when the pits were dug in the Bronze Age perhaps. Perhaps they once held totem-pole type markers? The pits are pretty massive - 3ft across. More unanswered and unanswerable questions then.
Ronald Hutton (in 'Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles' 1991) mentions that neither Stonehenge nor Mesolithic experts took much interest in the discovery.. maybe because it didn't fit into their ideas of how things had been in the area. "There is no evidence anywhere in Europe for the erection of such huge wooden structures in the Mesolithic." No flint scatters have been found in the vicinity of Stonehenge, as they have been in other areas of Mesolithic activity. Even if the pits aren't Mesolithic, they must date from the Bronze Age, say, and their role in the Stonehenge landscape ought to be considered?