I read a little about this discovery towards the end of last year. Now we get more details and, as is always the case with anthropology and archaeology, now there's even more to wonder about.
Ancient complex discovered near Stonehenge
By Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
3:02 PM PST, January 30, 2007
The henge, about 1,400 feet in diameter, enclosed a series of concentric rings of huge timber posts. The team now knows that the posts mimicked Stonehenge in all particulars save one — its orientation.
Stonehenge is aligned with sunrise at the summer solstice and sunset at the winter solstice. The henge at Durrington Walls is the exact opposite, aligned with sunrise at the winter solstice and sunset at the summer solstice.
The evidence from the houses indicates that there was a massive mid-winter celebration marking the solstice to complement the summer celebration at Stonehenge.
The team excavated eight houses at the site and magnetic anomalies indicate that there are at least 25 more nearby, Pearson said. "My guess is that there are many more than that," he said. In fact, the entire valley appears to have been densely populated, he said.
The relatively flimsy wattle and daub walls of the houses are long gone. What remains are the densely packed clay floors. "These are the first ones we have found with intact clay floors from this period," Pearson said.
"The houses are virtually square, no bigger than the average sitting room — about 14 feet by 14 feet," he said.
They feature a central fireplace, an oval hearth sunk into the floor. Slight indentations around the walls mark the location of timber fittings for box beds and a dresser that stood opposite the door.
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