Thursday, September 12, 2013

Stonehenge was built on solstice axis, dig confirms


English Heritage says it has discovered a "missing piece in the jigsaw" in our understanding of Stonehenge, England's greatest prehistoric site. Excavations along the ancient processional route to the monument have confirmed the theory that it was built along an ice age landform that happened to be on the solstice axis, according to Professor Mike Parker Pearson, a leading expert on Stonehenge.

Stonehenge was built on solstice axis, dig confirms
Archaeologists found ridges, formed by Ice Age meltwater, that align Stonehenge
with the solstice axis [Credit: Francis Dean/Rex]
The Avenue was an earthwork route that extended 1.5 miles from the north-eastern entrance to Wiltshire's standing stones to the River Avon at West Amesbury. Following the closure of the A344 road, which cut across the route, archaeologists have been able to excavate there for the first time.

Just below the tarmac, they have found naturally occurring fissures that once lay between ridges against which prehistoric builders dug ditches to create the Avenue. The ridges were created by Ice Age meltwater that happen to point directly at the mid-winter sunset in one direction and the mid-summer sunrise in the other.


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