Prehistoric Pits Discovered Around Stonehenge

History

| LAST UPDATE 05/23/2022

By Stanley Wickens
Stonehenge prehistoric pits discovery
Nicholas E Jones via Getty Images

Over the centuries, so much mystery has surrounded the nearly-5,000-year-old monument of Stonehenge. To add to the many theories and findings that researchers have made about the prehistoric site is a recent discovery that might be even more ancient than the monument itself.

While exploring the area around Stonehenge, a team of volunteers recently found evidence of several rare stone pits in the shape of a horseshoe that date back thousands of years. Using an electromagnetic induction field survey that covers about one square mile around the prehistoric monument, they managed to detect an anomaly in the electrical conductivity of the soil. Realizing that archaeological remains were hidden beneath the famous grassy area that surrounds Stonehenge, these volunteers knew they were onto something...

Stonehenge researchers pits discovery
Ben Birchall - PA Images / Contributor via Getty Images
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Although ring-shaped henges are common in England, they still have researchers stumped - why were they created? What purpose did they serve? Well, archaeologists and historians found themselves asking these very same questions once again after the discovery of the stone circle surrounding Stonehenge. But that doesn't mean there aren't a few theories that may help explain the mysterious prehistoric pits, the oldest of which is an estimated 10,000 years old. The finds "suggest it [the pit] was probably dug as a hunting trap for large game such as aurochs [a now-extinct cattle species], red deer, and wild boar," said Philippe De Smedt, lead author of the study and an associate professor of the environment at Ghent University in Belgium. 

But while the oldest pit discovered proved to be much older than Stonehenge itself, researchers found that others at the site were built after the monument was erected. De Smedt explains that this may very well indicate "the long-term ceremonial structuring of the Stonehenge landscape." The discovery of the ancient pits comes just a few months after one university professor, Timothy Darvill made a groundbreaking discovery that may have solved the longstanding mystery of Stonehenge. According to his research, the site was constructed to serve as a huge calendar. But it seems that, no matter how many mysteries we're able to solve about Stonehenge, researchers will be unearthing more findings - and more questions. Something tells us we'll be hearing a lot more about this discovery as scientists continue their work. Stay tuned...

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