Stonehenge: Mysterious pits ‘were man-made’ and formed largest prehistoric structure in Britain

A number of mysterious pits close to Stonehenge were man-made, new high tech research has revealed.

The holes, which lie around two miles northeast of the World Heritage Site, were detected by remote sensing technology and were calculated to be 4,500 years old.

The research was carried out by Tim Kinnaird, of the University of St. Andrews and involved optically stimulated luminescence dating, to pinpoint the age of the pits.

Each pit measures more than 30 feet in diameter and some are as deep as 16 feet.

It was determined that they were deliberately excavated as, if they had been natural sinkholes, they would have been of irregular sizes.

It is thought that the pits formed a circle measuring 1.2 miles in diameter, with the henge monument of Durrington Walls, close to Woodhenge, in its centre.

Vincent Gaffney, of the University of Bradford, said: “So effectively this really does say this is one enormous structure. It may have evolved from a natural feature, but we haven’t located that.

“So it’s the largest prehistoric structure found in Britain.”

Mr Gaffney added that the Neolithic farmers who built the monument must have been able to count their paces to measure the placement of the pits, forming a boundary that may have had cosmological significance to them.

In other news a new, and unwelcome, digging project at Stonehenge seems to have been buried.

National Highways has said it will not award key contracts for the A303 Stonehenge tunnel scheme until its future is decided.

Planning permission for the £1.7bn dual carriageway scheme was thrown out by the High Court in July, following a legal challenge by heritage campaigners.

The court ruled that Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps MP, had not considered alternative schemes properly and had not shown enough evidence of looking at its different heritage impacts.

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