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Timberhenge discovered

A huge arc of timber posts once stood in a ‘New Stonehenge’ built 4500 years ago in Wiltshire – next to the site of Stonehenge itself. Source: Metro UK

The circle of up to 200 posts was built on the site of a settlement where the workers who built Stonehenge lived, National Trust researchers believe.

Researchers had previously believed that stones stood on the site at Durrington Walls – but new excavations found pits built to house 200 posts around the site in a 480m circle.

Previous scans with ground-penetrating radar had shown objects buried beneath the ground – but excavations show that the pits once contained timber posts.

The National Trust researchers write, ‘What the team has discovered in the last couple of weeks is a new, previously unidentified Late Neolithic phase here at Durrington Walls – the beginnings of a great timber circle that curved around where the henge bank would later be constructed.’

Dr Nicola Snashall, an archaeologist with the National Trust said: “At the time before the timber posts, we think it’s the settlement where the workers who built Stonehenge lived.

“When that settlement went out of use, they seem to have put up this enormous ring of timber posts. We are certain we do not have any stones.

“What we have instead are at least 120 pits that were created to take great big timber posts.

“We think there may have been as many as 200 or even more as we have some gaps in the ground penetrating radar data.”