Stonehenge: Incredible sunrise captured during VIP tour
Dating back to as far as 3000BC, the stone arrangement found in the fields of Wiltshire has baffled researchers for centuries. A recent study proposed the ancestors of the Stonehenge builders settled in Britain around 4000BC after researchers compared DNA extracted from Neolithic human remains with that of people alive at the same time in Europe. But the debate over why they built it still rages.
Historian Dan Snow visited Stonehenge to meet archaeologist Dr Sue Greaney during History Hit’s ’Stonehenge Sunrise’ podcast to try and find out what secrets could still be unlocked.
He said: “Let’s go have a look.
“We’ve gone in through the west side and will come out on the east side.
“Then we will look at the stones with the Sun shining on them.
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“I never, ever get bored of coming here. What a privilege to work here and try to find out more about what they were doing here.”
Dr Greaney, who works for English Heritage, detailed how experts now believe one side of the monument was given more attention than the other.
She said: “We think they probably spent more time shaping the stones on this side and they selected different stones.
“It’s this complete facade, a big dramatic statement as you approach the monument.
“Can you imagine being a neolithic person and seeing this for the first time? They must have been completely blown away.
“It does for us today, but imagine back then.”
Mr Snow then probed the expert on what more could be revealed about the monument in the future.
She added: “At the moment we are looking at a site called the Durrington Walls.
“A team from a number of universities are coming to do excavations there in the summer.
“It’s exciting to look forward to what they might find there.
“Here at Stonehenge, it’s really about continuing to learn more about the site and present it to others.”
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And some of those secrets were later exposed.
Last year a team of experts discovered a ring of shafts near Stonehenge that form what is believed to be the largest prehistoric monument ever discovered in Britain.
Tests carried out on the pits suggested they were dug by our Neolithic ancestors and archaeologists believe they may have served as a boundary to a sacred area.
Archaeologist Dr Heather Sebire said: “The Durrington Walls site is massive, much bigger than Stonehenge, but they’ve found something even bigger again.
“That was through geophysical techniques (scans as opposed to excavation), there are so many more techniques you can use today.
“They have been able to plot a series of pits that takes it into the monument of Durrington Walls, but also Woodhenge – which is the smaller version of Stonehenge.”
And Dr Sebire detailed how the sheer size of the monument has already led to new theories.
She added: “We think this circular arrangement, that is now pits, once held upright timbers – a timber monument like Stonehenge.
“It would have looked like a wall of timber even though there were gaps.
“It’s so huge they think it means they had some way of measuring distance.
“When you think about it [it’s not that surprising], I’m pretty good at pacing out a metre now.”
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