Digital mapping used to uncover ‘super henge’ – a possibly massive layout surpassing Stonehenge


We have already discussed at length about the possible builders and purposes of the imposing Stonehenge. But there is possibly more to the 4400-year old prehistoric ‘rough-hewn giants’ than just the grandiose element of imposing stones arranged in a pattern. To that end, a group of researchers (from Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project) had utilized various high-tech mapping techniques, and they might have come across something even larger in scope. This pertains to myriad other monuments, burial mounds and circles etched for ritualistic purposes – all bolstered by a mile-long arrangement of stones and timber, touted as the ‘super henge’. Simply put, Stonehenge might not have been the isolated monument in the area; rather it was probably accompanied by a ‘system’ of complementary structures and patterns that collectively accounted for more than 4,900 feet in circumference (or 14 times more than Stonehenge itself!).

As we mentioned before, the archaeologists have put forth their credible hypothesis based on their newly constructed digital map (see below). The map in itself was created with the aid of technologies like high-resolution radar along with detailed magnetic and laser scans. All of these techniques were worth their application, with the digital reconstruction of the 3000-acre area showcasing an array of 50 stone pillars that were more than ten foot tall. They were further accompanied by 17 monuments that must have been used for ritualistic purposes – and this structural set included huge prehistoric pits and an extended wooden building that might have functioned as a mortuary (possibly used for keeping bodies after their they were ‘defleshed’).

Interestingly, many of these super henge structures are possibly still buried underground. In fact, detailed magnetic and radar surveys of the already-excavated Durrington Walls have revealed over 60 holes (which are now buried) where the stones would have been set for support. Oddly enough, the researchers were also able to identify practice trenches that were dug in our modern-era during the First World War, for military training of troops. But Vincent Gaffney, an archaeologist at the University of Birmingham, who co-led the project, made it clear –

They [the structures] look as they may have been pushed over. That’s a big prehistoric monument which we never knew anything about.


Image Credit: Ludwig Boltzmann Institute

Via: Nature / PopSci

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