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Firehenge: Ancient Wooden Structures Unearthed In England

First Posted: Jun 12, 2017 05:28 AM EDT

Archaeologists have uncovered one of the oldest known monuments known as the "Firehenge" or also called the West Kennet palisade enclosures in England. It existed about 800 years before Stonehenge. On the other hand, it was first found in the 1960s in the hills and plains of Avebury, which is considered as Britain's most sacred site.

The findings of the discovery were printed in the latest edition of British Archaeology. Alex Bayliss, one of the researchers from the University of Stirling in the U.K., said that they have uncovered a completely new type of monumental structure at a time they did not think any existed in Britain. He further said that there are palisades later and earlier but these palisades are different, as noted by Science Alert.

Bayliss added that the West Kennet palisade enclosures comprised of two massive circles made up of thousands of timbers. He also said that this earlier date is an exciting finding as it appears they were constructed 800 years earlier than the closeby Avebury stones.

The Firehenge is theorized as built and burnt around 5,300 years ago. Its remains such as the charcoal have been carbon-dated. The palisades might be a ceremonial enclosure rather than a stock enclosure. The two circles measured about 250 meters across. Its enclosures were previously thought as similar age to Stonehenge, according to News.com.au.

Bayliss said that the wooden palisades might be on the ground very briefly and were burnt down deliberately. Some experts said that two large circles were built with over 4,000 trees and expanded for over 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) in total.

The researchers theorized that the structures must have been tied to some type of ancient festival or ritual, with one of the circles set up for men and one for women. This might have been used for ceremonial purposes.

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