Monday, September 15, 2014

Megalithic mortuary

After mapping the area of the ancient monument to a depth of about 10' (3 m), the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project has made some startling revelations. The high-resolution, 3-D underground map of nearly 3,000 acres of the surrounding landscape was created using ground-penetrating radar, high-resolution magnetometers, and other state-of-the-art remote-sensing equipment. Within an area 14 times larger than the iconic stone circle, the archaeologists have discovered dozens of features, including more than 50 pillars and 17 ritual monuments. They found hundreds of burial mounds, evidence of a possible processional route around Stonehenge itself, and a massive long barrow believed to have been used as a mortuary for the bones of the dead (RENDERING ABOVE). The new discoveries raise even more questions about how the Stonehenge complex was built and modified over a period of 11,000 years. Lead scientist Vince Gaffney exclaims, "Technology is opening doors for archaeology we could only dream about 15 years ago....All of this information has been placed within a single digital map, which will guide how Stonehenge and its landscape are studied in the future."

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