Last year archaeologists thrilled the world when they revealed there could be a “New Stonehenge” just two miles away from the iconic monument in England. Geophysical surveys suggested this 4,500-year-old “Superhenge” could include around 100 concealed stones. Now archaeologists digging at Durrington Walls, where “New Stonehenge” is located, have found the monument was likely built mainly with wooden posts instead, and work was mysteriously stopped before completion.

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The Durrington Walls monument could have been a ring around 1,640 feet in diameter of between 200 and 300 wooden posts. The archaeologists on the “Durrington Dig” excavated two large holes about five feet deep. Ancient people appear to have removed the posts and then filled the holes with chalk, and archaeologists found an ancient tool made of the shoulder blade of a cow at the bottom of one hole, suggesting there could have been a ritual surrounding the process of filling in the holes.

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Archaeologists think the fact that monument construction was abruptly halted when the structure was almost done could offer clues into the religious and political climate of the era, as the Neolithic era slowly transitioned to the Bronze Age. The people building Durrington Walls may have changed religions, or perhaps another group came through and destroyed evidence of their religion. The abrupt change signals religious or political turmoil may have gripped the region.

National Trust archaeologist Nick Snashall said, “The new discoveries at Durrington Walls reveal the previously unuspected complexity of events in the area during the period when Stonehenge’s largest stones were being erected – and show just how politically and ideologically dynamic British society was at that particularly crucial stage in prehistory.”

Further evidence for the turmoil can be glimpsed in Stonehenge’s own history, as Snashall said. At around the same time as the Durrington Walls work ceased, Stonehenge was changed from a large circle with stones of medium size to a smaller circle with the humongous stones glimpsed at the site today.

Via The Independent

Images via Wikimedia Commons and Dr Nick Snashall on Twitter