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Stonehenge Mystery Solved? Huge Religious Complex Found Near Prehistoric Monument

Nov 22, 2016 04:10 AM EST
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A 5,600-year-old religious complex was discovered at Larkhill, Wiltshire, near Stonehenge as developers were preparing to build houses on Ministry of Defence land to house British Army personnel returning from Germany.

According to reports, the huge complex, which was located just more than 2 kilometers away from Britain's most famous prehistoric monument, consists of about 950 meters of segmented ditches and earthen banks arranged in two concentric circles.

The recent discovery just proves that the area is more sacred and ritually active than previously believed, Science Alert. Since it was built a thousand years before the Stonehenge, it could finally solve the mystery why the Stonehenge was built in the first place.

"The newly found site is one of the most exciting discoveries in the Stonehenge landscape that archaeologists have ever made," a prehistorian with Wessex Archaeology, who is helping to excavate the site, told The Independent.

As of now, the Ministry of Defence has ordered the area to be fully excavated. Despite excavating only 17 percent of the outer ditch, archeologists have already unearthed smashed bowls, large amounts of cattle bones, and human remains, suggesting that the place was used for the usual ritualistic activities such as burial ceremonies and sacrifices to the gods. 

Livemint.com said that aside from the complex, the only known Neolithic monument in the Stongehenge area is the "causewayed enclosure" nicknamed Robin Hood's Ball. "Causewayed enclosure" such as this complex is among the most unfathomable prehistoric monuments. For once, the use of the structure is yet to be identified but gathered evidence through the years suggest that they were used for a mixture of ceremonial, religious, political and mortuary roles.

Archaeologist Martin Brown of the Larkhill housing development project, said: "These discoveries are changing the way we think about prehistoric Wiltshire and about the Stonehenge landscape in particular."

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