Stonehenge excavation begins

Excavation of Stonehenge’s inner circle began yesterday – the first since 1964. Excavation work will hopefully determine why the stone circle was built.

English Heritage calls the two-week excavation project the most significant in the site’s history. A trench, measuring 3.5m by 2.5m, and 1.5m deep, wll be dug in the Double Bluestone circle, which was the first stone circle to be erected.

Archaeologists will be looking to find socket holes that will reveal where the bluestones stood originally. Hopefully, enough bluestone pillar fragments will be found in the hole for carbon dating to then be carried out, thus determining the exact age of Stonehenge.

Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said: ‘The bluestones hold the key to understanding the purpose and meaning of Stonehenge. Their arrival marked a turning point in the history of Stonehenge, changing the site from being a fairly standard formative henge with timber structures and occasional use for burial, to the complex stone structure whose remains dominate the site today.’

Stonehenge will remain open throughout the excavation.

STONEHENGE: the theories

1. Stonehenge may have been built for use as a temple used to worship ancient gods.

2. It may have been built as a prehistoric astronimcal observatory.

3. Stonehenge could have been an ancient burial site.

4. Britons may have used the site as an ancient healing centre.

5. Other theories suggest that the magician Merlin was responsible for its construction.

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