If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
Laser uncovers new Stonehenge evidence
NEW evidence to suggest the importance of the solstices at Stonehenge to its creators has been discovered by English Heritage. A 3D laser scan was used to reveal significant differences in the way different stones at the monument were shaped and worked.
The research shows that Stonehenge was not only aligned with the solstices, but that the view of monument from the Avenue, its ancient processional way to the north east, was particularly important.
Those who built the stone circle made deliberate efforts to create a dramatic spectacle for those approaching the monument from the north east.
The first comprehensive laser survey of Stonehenge reveals that those stones on the outer Sarsen circle, visible when approaching from the north east have been completely pick dressed, which means the brown and grey crust on the surface has been removed to expose a fine, bright grey/white surface.
By contrast, the outer faces of surviving uprights in the south western segment of the circle were not pick dressed.
The stones facing north east are also the largest and most uniform in shape, unlike the south western segment of the monument where there are several smaller and more irregular stones.
The lintels are also well worked and finished, compared to those that survive elsewhere in the monument.
The sides of the stones that flanked the solstice axis were found to have been most carefully worked to form very straight and narrow rectangular slots. This suggests that special effort was made to dress those that flank the north east/ south west axis to allow a more dramatic and obvious passage of sunlight through the stone circle on midsummer and midwinter solstices.
Analysis of the laser scan has also led to the discovery of many more prehistoric carvings, including 71 new Bronze Age axeheads, which bring the number of this type of carvings known in Stonehenge to 115.