Stonehenge and ‘Super Henge’ Durrington Walls

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I long ago grew weary of the hyperbole in press releases dealing with new discoveries in the Stonehenge landscape, but the latest announcement by Professor Vince Gaffney seems to be genuinely momentous. It appears that the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project has located something in the region of one hundred resting places for stones beneath the southern bank of Durrington Walls, while it further appears that as many as thirty or forty of these stones may still be there, buried three feet beneath the current ground surface.

Furthermore, some of these stones may be as much as fifteen feet long, while I gather from the announcements that it’s believed – presumably by the staff of the SHLP – that these were first put in place, then deliberately toppled at some later date before being covered by the gigantic bank at Durrington Walls.

If this is true, and I have no good reason to believe otherwise, then it seems to me that it conclusively puts the lie to the theory that nearby Stonehenge was never completed. There’s evidence that nearby Bluestonehenge was once home to as many as twenty-seven standing stones that were later removed, but this figure is dwarfed by the one hundred and sixty or more sarsens and bluestones that once comprised a completed Stonehenge. When we bear in mind the sheer numbers and also the immense size of some of the sarsens, not to mention the way they were brought from enormous distances away and then sculpted – or perhaps sculpted beforehand in Wales, in the case of some of the bluestones – it’s evident that our ancestors were capable of feats of engineering that leave us lagging far behind.

On top of this, the new evidence that as many as one hundred sarsens were brought to Durrington Walls and then raised there before being toppled, or moved elsewhere in some cases, makes unmistakably clear that hundreds of huge stones were being transported around the Stonehenge landscape almost at the whim of the prehistoric builders and once again, this is before we consider the many outsize stones at Avebury, about twenty miles to the north of Stonehenge.

All these figures are hard to take in and I don’t believe it’s truly possibly to grasp the Cyclopean scale of these mysterious works until such time as you’ve visited this strange corner of our planet for yourself. I long ago lost track of the amount of times I’ve visited Stonehenge over the years, but I’ve never failed to be astonished by the intricacy, size and uniqueness of the architecture at the ruins.

The stones at Stonehenge and Avebury are impressive enough, but I don’t think it’s until you’ve also seen the enormous barrow cemeteries, the avenues, the ditches and the banks, as well as the Cursus, Silbury Hill and others, that anyone can truly appreciate the otherworldly vista filled with outsize monuments our ancestors created around Stonehenge and again, this is before we try to consider vanished structures such as pits, wooden palisades, ceremonial walkways, ‘totem’ poles, excarnation platforms and myriad other features of life in the Neolithic.

I have no idea if there are any plans to excavate any of these newly-discovered stones at Durrington Walls, but I doubt it. I can’t help wondering how they’d raise even the smallest stone so as to be able to inspect it from all angles for possible rock art, inscriptions and other markings, while I’d say it’s not unthinkable that each stone might be laying on top of an animal or even a human sacrifice, as well as artefacts linked to the transport and raising of the stone.

It’s certainly a fascinating discovery, so until such time as an archaeological dig seeks to answer some of the many questions posed by the existence of these enigmatic monoliths, I would certainly be inclined to delve deep into the folklore and mythology of the British Isles, as I know from personal experience just how rewarding and enlightening such a literary foray can be when it comes to throwing some light on what are presumed by the majority of people to be the unfathomable mysteries of Stonehenge’s past.

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5 Responses to Stonehenge and ‘Super Henge’ Durrington Walls

  1. satanicviews says:

    Certainly an interesting development. I think stones mark graves of people rather than sacrifices in most cases. I have a theory that each stone is associated with the spirit of a deceased ancestor.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aynslie says:

    There are some really superb graphics with details here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • eternalidol says:

      I didn’t want to appear churlish when writing about this latest sensational development, so I’m very pleased that Mike Pitts has pointed out that this same discovery was reported a year ago, with very little that’s new in this latest edition. Yes, it’s certainly very interesting, but until such time as even one of the many features discovered by the SHLP is actually excavated, such as the famed ‘fire pits’ in the Cursus, they’re all little more than shadows on a screen as far as I’m concerned.

      Like

  3. Juris Ozols says:

    This is yet another development that shows once again how much more there is to be discovered about Stonehenge – I’m delighted to see it.

    I’m also curious about the possibility of parch marks. Tim Daw has of course shown some marvelous data for parch marks at Stonehenge. I wonder if a re-analysis of existing Durrington Walls photos with the benefit of hindsight now might reveal something?

    Juris

    Liked by 2 people

    • eternalidol says:

      Tim Daw’s observation of the parch marks at Stonehenge was inspired, but it’s not until someone actually excavates the features he discovered that we’ll learn whether or not the pits ever held stones, although I would guess they did.

      As far as these latest revelations are concerned, we’re told that thirty to forty stones may still be buried at Durrington Walls, but we won’t know if they are stones or not until someone excavates the site. Failing that, it shouldn’t be too costly or arduous to check at least one of the features with an augur, given that we’re told the stones lie a mere three feet beneath the surface, so I find it hard to understand why this hasn’t been done in the year or so since the original announcement about this particular discovery.

      Liked by 1 person

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