AN archaeological expert has claimed that two innocuous-looking stones at the side of a road in Berwick St James could hold clues to the secrets of Stonehenge.

Dennis Price, who is a renowned expert on the site and used to work with Wessex Archaeology, believes the two large stones standing at the side of a lane next to the B3083 could be parts of Stonehenge's mysterious altar stone.

The altar stone, which is believed to be the centrepiece of rituals carried out at Stonehenge, was first discovered in 1620 by the prominent architect, Inigo Jones, when he undertook the first ever investigation into the site.

But before experts could properly document everything at the site, the altar stone was removed and the secrets of Stonehenge were thought to be lost forever.

However, Mr Price believes the altar stone might well have been taken to Berwick St James, where it was first used as a bridge over a stream and now stands in two pieces by the side of a road. He said: "We have a woodcut of an easily carved stone with a distinctive shape being cut in two at Stonehenge, and we have accounts of a curious altar stone, as described by Inigo Jones, being transported to somewhere called St James.

"We have drawn a blank at the Palace of St James but when we look at the nearby village of Berwick St James, we find two standing stones which once formed two bridges across a stream.

And if we mentally reunite the parts, they bear an uncanny resemblance to the stone in the woodcut."

As further evidence, Mr Price points to the fact that while most of the stones at Stonehenge are made from Welsh Preseli Bluestone, the altar stone was believed to have been made of Jurassic Limestone found in Dorset and the Cotswolds.

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