A summer-long dry spell and a groundskeeper with a too-short hose have helped confirm what archeologists and historians have long suspected but have never been able to prove … Stonehenge was built as a perfect circle.
Yes, I know you thought that calling it a “stone circle” meant that’s what it was, but believe it or not, it’s never actually been proven.
Tim Daw, a custodian at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, had a tough time keeping the grass around the monument green because of the drought conditions in the area last summer. His hosepipe (garden hose) was too short to reach the stones so he was force to let the grass go dry. Being the good groundskeeper he is, Daw was upset about the brown patches that appeared … until he noticed that they were located where archeologists had been looking for evidence of stones that would complete the circle.
Daw reported the patches to site administration and aerial photographs were taken of the brown spots. Archeologists then confirmed that they matched where additional stones would have been located if Stonehenge were built as a circle.
The findings were published in the latest edition of the journal Antiquity along with comments by Susan Greaney, senior properties historian for English Heritage, who admits that even though the site has been studied extensively – most recently with ground-penetrating radar – “really significant” features are still being discovered.
It shows us just how much we still have to learn about Stonehenge. It’s great teat people who know the site really well and look at it every day were able to spot these parch marks and recognise them for what they were.
So where are the missing stones? Greaney admits there’s no answer at the moment and there’s no plans to excavate under the brown patches. However, English Heritage may let the grass go dry again so that the spots are visible again.
That should be good news for Stonehenge visitors, not to mention the groundskeeper.