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.
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.
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.
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.
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.