Archaeologists believe that the circle could have marked a boundary, guiding people towards the religious site or warning others not to cross.

By Cailey Rizzo
June 24, 2020
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Archaeologists in the UK have discovered a giant ring of pits that could unlock some of the mysteries of Stonehenge.

Located about two miles away from the monument of Stonehenge is a circle of large holes that measure about 1.2 miles in diameter. It could be one of the largest prehistoric sites ever discovered in the UK, according to The BBC.

The “Pits at Durrington” were discovered by a team of archaeologists from universities around the UK using remote sensing technology and sampling. They determined that the deep pits were likely dug in the ground more than 4,000 years ago, around the same time that Stonehenge was built.

Credit: Jimmy Anderson/Getty Images

Archaeologists believe that the circle could have marked a boundary, guiding people towards the religious site or warning others not to cross. There are at least 20 of these gigantic pits, estimated to be about 32 feet wide and 16 feet deep. They were previously believed to have been caused naturally, but further analysis by a group called the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project revealed otherwise.

“Yet again, the use of a multidisciplinary effort with remote sensing and careful sampling is giving us an insight to the past that shows an even more complex society that we could ever imagine,” Dr. Richard Bates of the University of St. Andrews said in a statement. “Clearly sophisticated practices demonstrate that the people were so in tune with natural events to an extent that we can barely conceive in the modern world we live in today.”

The circle will continue to be studied and could offer new insights into the neolithic way of life, perhaps even demystifying a few of the secrets around how Stonehenge was built.

Stonehenge is currently closed to visitors and will reopen to the public on July 4. Visitors will need to book timed tickets in advance of their visit, because of new limits on attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The newly-discovered shafts are not part of the Stonehenge visit but circle around Woodhenge, a nearby timber prehistoric site.