Stonehenge's secret: archaeologist uncovers evidence of encircling hedges





Survey of landscape suggests prehistoric monument was surrounded by two circular hedges.

The Monty Python knights who craved a shrubbery were not so far off the historical mark: archaeologists have uncovered startling evidence of The Great Stonehenge Hedge.

Inevitably dubbed Stonehedge, the evidence from a new survey of the Stonehenge landscape suggests that 4,000 years ago the world's most famous prehistoric monument was surrounded by two circular hedges, planted on low concentric
banks.

The best guess of the archaeologists from English Heritage, who carried out the first detailed survey of the landscape of the monument since the Ordnance Survey maps of 1919, is that the hedges could have served as screens keeping even more secret from the crowd the ceremonies carried out by the elite allowed inside the stone circle.

Their findings are revealed tomorrow in British Archaeology magazine, whose editor, Mike Pitts, an archaeologist and expert on Stonehenge himself, said: "It is utterly surprising that this is the first survey for such a long time, but the results are fascinating. Stonehenge never fails to reveal more surprises."



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