Radar Found a 'Superhenge' of Stones. Then the Digging Began

Actual excavation revealed holes once filled with timber
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2016 8:05 AM CDT
Oops: 'Superhenge' Actually Had No Stones
In this June 21, 2015, file photo, the sun rises as thousands of revelers gathered at the ancient stone circle Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice.   (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, File)

Remember the huge stone monument archaeologists found buried two miles from Stonehenge in the UK last year? Well it turns out that the so-called "Superhenge" that radar suggested was made of 100 or so large stones was actually stoneless. "The response from the radar was so good that the team thought they were dealing with a whole series of stones lying on their side" at Durrington Walls, archaeologist Nicola Snashall tells the BBC. But when the team finally got down to excavating two of the pits, they instead found "enormous pits for timber posts." The large beams of wood appear to have been removed not long after they were sunk into the post holes some 4,500 years ago, reports Vice.

The Independent puts numbers to what it calls Britain's "largest ancient monument of its type," reporting that as many as 300 timbers measuring up to 23 feet long were vertically lifted from the holes making up what was a 1,640-foot-diameter circle. After the wood was removed, "the top was then filled in with chalk rubble and then the giant henge bank was raised over the top," explains Snashall. Researchers are still baffled by what the timber was for and why it was removed before the monument was even finished, but "for some strange reason" it clearly was, says Snashall. (Students recently experimented with moving stones the way people had to thousands of years ago.)

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