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Stonehenge and its Environs


Ancient roadway unearthed

from 15 October 2005

A team of archaeologists from Sheffield University have revealed significant new insights into the role of Stonehenge after discovering a prehistoric ceremonial road. The team, also from four other universities, discovered the avenue.

It proves there was a walkway between a henge (a circular momument) at Durrington Walls, and the River Avon, three miles away, blowing a hole in the theory the standing stones at Stonehenge were a one-off feature.

The new find supports the team's theory that Stonehenge was in fact just one part of a much larger complex of stone and timber circles linked by ceremonial avenues to the river.

Radiocarbon dates indicate the henge was in use at the same time as the sarsen stones were erected at Stonehenge. The newly-discovered roadway, with its rammed flint surface, is wider than most modern roads and more substantial than any other Neolithic track in Europe.

It runs for about 100 metres (328ft) from the timber circle within the great henge to the river. Analysis has shown that the avenue was heavily trampled by prehistoric feet, and archaeologists have unearthed numerous finds along its edge.

Prof Mike Parker Pearson, from the University of Sheffield's Department of Archaeology, believes Stonehenge and Durrington Walls, together with its adjacent site of Woodhenge, were linked by the river to form a single complex.

He has suggested the entire complex was a funerary monument. The work was filmed for a Channel 4 Time Team special, to be screened next year.
Jane Posted by Jane
17th October 2005ce
Edited 10th February 2006ce

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