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The stone circle at Avebury in England has been investigated by archaeologists since the 17th century, and yet, modern researchers have come to discover that the elusive ancient monument is still capable of surprising them.
A research team comprised of academics from the University of Leicester and the University of Southampton have discovered what they refer to as a ‘secret square’ at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The researchers hope that their new discovery could help them a great deal when it comes to understanding this mysterious 5000-year-old site.
The researchers investigating the site, which is one of the largest stone circles in Europe, suspected that there was more to the monument than met the eye and that it was entirely possible that there was more beneath the surface of the earth. They decided to investigate the site using a soil resistance survey and a ground penetrating radar to discern the landscape of the earth beneath the surface. This study led them to the phenomenal discovery that there was a previously unknown megalith in the center of the circle, according to Dr. Mark Gillings of the University of Leicester. Gillings explained that the stones were likely to have been hidden during the 17th and 18th centuries. He also added that at this time, the researchers believe that the megalith at the center of the circle may well be one of the earliest structures at the site.
The archaeological team is currently working on the assumption that the square structure in the center of the circle was constructed by ancient people to commemorate the location of the first house to be built in their community. If this theory proves to be correct, then it will help the archaeologists to understand a lot more about what motivated the construction of this astonishing stone circle.
“This discovery has been almost 80 years in the making, but it’s been well worth waiting for, ” said Dr. Nick Snashall, a National Trust archaeologist based at Avebury. “It goes to show how much more is still to be revealed at Avebury if we ask the right questions.”
— Uni of Leicester (@uniofleicester) June 29, 2017