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There's a Giant 'Super Henge' Underneath Stonehenge

Underground mapping reveals network of Neolithic monuments, stones: scientists
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2014 9:02 AM CDT
Updated Sep 13, 2014 2:56 PM CDT
There's a Giant 'Super Henge' Underneath Stonehenge
President Barack Obama visits Stonehenge after leaving the NATO summit in Newport, Wales, on Sept. 5, 2014.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – Some observers believe Stonehenge was once a full circle of enormous stones—and now there seems to be proof there are even more Neolithic monuments underneath it. A lot of them: Radar mapping that's peeked as far as 2 miles beneath the surface has uncovered an elaborate subterranean network of 17 monuments, plus evidence of more than 50 big stones that are around the same age as the above-ground versions, Gizmodo reports. The stones, which are being called a "super henge," are part of the already-excavated Durrington Walls dirt bank and are "a big prehistoric monument which we never knew anything about," one of the project's archaeologists tells Nature.

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The discovery was made by researchers with the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project, which has been using geophysical info to "create a highly detailed archaeological map of the 'invisible' landscape." This includes the "Cursus," a 2-mile-long pit with sections that line up with the summer solstice sunrise and sunset, and the 1-mile-round "super henge," riddled with holes where 10-foot-long stones once sat—some are still there. Researchers still don't know what the place was, with Smithsonian Magazine suggesting everything from a temple or parliament to a graveyard. (Read about a Stonehenge mystery that may have finally been solved.)

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