Today (September 7, 2015) the British media are reporting the discovery of a new monument near Stonehenge. According to the Guardian newspaper, archaeologists have discovered the remains of a massive stone monument buried under a thick, grassy bank at Durrington Walls henge, two miles from Stonehenge upp the River Avon. The hidden arrangement of up to 90 huge standing stones formed part of a C-shaped Neolithic arena that bordered a dry valley and faced directly towards the river Avon. Researchers used ground-penetrating radar to image about 30 intact stones measuring up to 4.5m tall. The fragments of 60 more buried stones, or the massive foundation pits in which they stood, reveal the full extent of the monument. Images of the buried stones show them lying down, but the archaeologist Vincent Gaffney believes they originally stood upright and were pushed over when the site was redeveloped by Neolithic builders. The recumbent stones became lost beneath a huge bank and were incorporated as a somewhat clumsy linear southern border to the otherwise circular henge known as Durrington Walls.
This discovery was made by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape project, which in 2011 also discovered two huge pits in the two mile-long monument called the Cursus that lies to the north of Stonehenge. The pits seem to form an astronomical arrangement: on midsummer’s day, the eastern pit’s alignment with the rising sun and the western pit’s alignment with the setting sun intersect where Stonehenge was built 400 years later.