ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered remains of an ancient platform at a dig site outside of Salisbury – which they suggest may have been built 2,000 years before Stonehenge.

Found at the Blick Mead site, which is sandwiched between Vespasian’s Camp and the A303, the discovery also revealed a short section of auroch – supersized extinct cattle – hoof prints.

The finds came after ground penetrating radar picked up evidence of a hand-laid stone Mesolithic-era platform beneath the ground, prompting the excavation.

Salisbury Journal: Hoof prints at the dig siteHoof prints at the dig site

After exposing the site, experts say that this platform “gave the impression” of a jetty or shoreline hardstanding.

They added that the platform may have been built as long ago as 5,000 BC.

Also found at the site have been 70,000 stone tools which are dated to be around 10,000 years old.

Professor David Jacques, one of the lead figures at Blick Mead, hailed the site for its importance.

Salisbury Journal: The Blick Mead dig siteThe Blick Mead dig site

“At Blick Mead we found shed loads of stuff,” he told The Telegraph.

“Up until 2006 only 30 finds had ever been recovered from this period at any one site, and now we’re up to more than 70,000, so it’s been a total gamechanger.

“We’re talking about a very small area that people were coming to again and again and I think it was probably some sort of permanent settlement, so all our ideas of how hunter gatherers move around in dispersed communities needs to be revised.

“This makes Stonehenge more interesting because it gives it a longer history, linking it back to people from the Mesolithic. Blick Mead really is the cradle of Stonehenge.”

Salisbury Journal: Part of the stone structure found at the sitePart of the stone structure found at the site

Prof Jacques added that due to these findings, as well as the location of nearby water sources and evidence of cattle roaming in the area, the site may have been a home to hunter-gatherers – mainly the elderly, children or those who were sick – despite the populations not tending to settle in one place.

Now results from these recent excavations are to be shown in a new documentary, Lost Cities, airing on the National Geographic channel.

However the site is in danger from plans to build a tunnel beneath Stonehenge which could harm areas waiting to be excavated.

A report of recommendations by the Planning Inspectorate’s Examining Authority is expected at the beginning of 2020. The Secretary of State then has three months to make a decision, which will also mark Blick Mead’s fate.