• A 1.2 mile (2km) wide circle of large shafts was found, measuring over 10 meters wide and 5 meters deep.
• The holes surround the ancient settlement of Durrington Walls, 2 miles (3km) from Stonehenge.
• Tests suggest the earthworks are Neolithic, excavated over 4,500 years ago.
In England, archaeologists working near Stonehenge have discovered a wide circle of deep pits surrounding an ancient human settlement. The shafts form a circle, and date back some 4,500 years..
Scientists made the discovery without excavating earth, instead using remote sensing technology and sampling, reports Reuters:
The new discovery, by a team of archaeologists from several universities, shows a 2-km (1.2-mile) wide circle of shafts surrounding a settlement at Durrington Walls, which also included a henge, or circular structure, made of timber posts.
The site is located about 3.2 km northeast of Stonehenge and evidence suggests the pits date back to the same period, some 4,500 years ago.
"As the place where the builders of Stonehenge lived and feasted, Durrington Walls is key to unlocking the story of the wider Stonehenge landscape," said archaeologist Nick Snashall of the National Trust, the body that runs the Stonehenge site.
"This astonishing discovery offers us new insights into the lives and beliefs of our Neolithic ancestors," he said.
The circle of pits is significantly larger than any comparable prehistoric monument in Britain. Researchers have found 20 shafts, but estimate there may have been more than 30 originally. Each one is about 5 metres deep and 10 metres across.
More at Reuters.
IMAGE: University of St. Andrews, VIA BBC NEWS