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Monolith Near Stonehenge Has Different Shape and Purpose

As impressive as Stonehenge is, newly discovered stones at a site just two miles away may put it to shame in size, scope and purpose. The site is the Durrington Walls and new evidence suggests that it once had at least 90 stones standing in a straight line. Many of them are buried on their sides just feet below the surface and they may have been knocked over on purpose.

Map shwing the locations of Stonehenge and Durrington Walls

Map shwing the locations of Stonehenge and Durrington Walls

Previous excavations found houses showing that Durrington Walls was a short-lived settlement dating back to between 2525 and 2470 BC. It’s surrounded by a ditch and a bank that measures a meter tall in some spots. To avoid damaging the site, the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project pulled ground-penetrating radar equipment over it and made the startling new discoveries.

Ground-penetrating radar equipment was used to discover the new stones without excavation

Ground-penetrating radar equipment was used to discover the new stones without excavation

Ninety monoliths measuring 15 feet in height were found buried in a straight line. Thirty stones are intact while the other 60 are in fragments. All appear to have once been standing in a line and were knocked down and buried underneath the dirt bank. Why this was done is a mystery.

The green circles are the buried stones

The green circles are the buried stones

So is the reason for the stones being in a straight line. The monument predates the Durrington Walls settlement and may have been built at the same time as Stonehenge or possibly even earlier. Despite their close proximity, they don’t appear to have served the same purpose and may not have been built by the same people. The massive scale of the Durrington Walls monument suggests it was a ritual arena built to be impressive in size and shape.

stones small

This would have been impressive

Part of Durrington Walls is aligned with the rising sun on the winter solstice. If it was indeed a sacred and significant site, the toppling and burial of the stones may have been done to protect it.

The discovery was unveiled at the opening of the British Science Festival at the University of Bradford.

The true mystery of Stonehenge, Avebury, Durrington Walls and the other Neolithic sites is that the more we find out about them, the less we know.

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Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.
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