Chapter 4 – Durrington Walls (Woodhenge)

Book Extract……………………………..

If you go to the original North East path break in the Stonehenge ditch, you find the Heel Stone, which was moated during the Mesolithic Period. You will also find a direct alignment to Stonehenge’s nearest neighbours, Woodhenge and Durrington Walls.

The fact that the Avenue is wider than the break in the ditch around Stonehenge has always been a mystery to archaeologists.  This mystery is compounded by the Heel Stone’s position to the right of the Avenue, rather than in the centre. The Avenue was built after the Mesolithic ditch was created; therefore, these individual moated stones start to make some sense as alignment points.

The Heel Stone was positioned before the Avenue’s construction; the moated stone points to Stonehenge’s sister site Woodhenge and not, as is currently believed, to the midsummer sunrise.

In 2016 Durrington Walls hit the headlines with “Remarkable new archaeological discoveries are beginning to suggest that Stonehenge was built at a time of particularly intense religious and political rivalry.

Just two miles north-east of the World Heritage site, at an important archaeological complex known as Durrington Walls, archaeologists have just discovered what appears to have been a vast 500-metre diameter circle of giant timber posts. The find is of international significance.

Originally archaeologists, using geophysics rather than excavation, had thought that they had found buried standing stones, so the discovery has totally changed their understanding of the site – the largest ancient monument of its type in Britain.

However, the most significant revelation is the discovery that the newly identified timber circle complex was probably never fully completed – and that, just a few months or years after construction had started, there was a dramatic change in religious – and therefore almost certainly also political – direction. Work on the circle was stopped abruptly by around 2460BC – despite the fact that it was nearing completion. The 200-300 giant 6-7 metre long, 60-70 centimetre diameter timber posts were lifted vertically out of their 1.5 metre deep post holes – and were probably used to construct or expand other parts of the complex.

Figure 50– Durrington Walls showing the post holes surrounding the ditches.

What’s more, within a few months or years, the post holes themselves were then deliberately filled with blocks of chalk and were covered up for most of the circuit by a bank made of similar chalk rubble. Two of the post holes have just been fully excavated – and, at the bottom of one, the prehistoric people who decommissioned and buried the site, formerly occupied by the giant timber circle, had placed one of their tools (a spade made of a cow’s shoulder blade) at the bottom of the post hole before it was filled in. It certainly hints at the ritual nature of how the change of religious direction was implemented.

It was as if the religious “revolutionaries” were trying, quite literally, to bury the past. The question archaeologists will now seek to answer is whether it was the revolutionaries’ own past they were seeking to bury – or whether it was another group or cultural tradition’s past that was being consigned to the dustbin of prehistory”.

In 2015 Sky News reported:

“Scientists have found a larger version of Stonehenge just one mile from the site of the famous Wiltshire stone monument.  The Durrington Walls ‘superhenge’ is larger than Stonehenge and may include as many as 90 large stones. Built about 4,500 years ago, the stones lined an arena that was probably used for religious ceremonies or solstice rituals.

Using ground-penetrating radar on Salisbury Plain, scientists found the stones lying on their sides and buried under three feet of earth. Some of the stones are nearly 15ft and were originally placed along the southeastern edge of the circular enclosure that measured nearly a mile wide – making it the largest earthwork of its kind in the country.

The stones may not always have been part of the henge, possibly being toppled over before being incorporated into it – not an act of vandalism but an attempt to save whatever was thought to have been important about the stone, experts think”.

In 2015 the ground survey found “90 large stones, lying on their sides and measuring nearly 15ft” under the ground – then in 2016 we have “200 – 300 giant posts 6-7 metres long” – So, was there another ground radar survey between the two claims or were the ‘experts’ caught guessing.

Sadly, the misinterpretation of the evidence doesn’t end the nonsense and gives us a clue to this deception – “However, the most significant revelation is the discovery that the newly identified timber circle complex was probably never fully completed”.

You could say that about the entire site – if you believe what the archaeologists tell you.  Durrington Walls is a classic ‘half-moon shape, which is evident as the bank is missing towards the River Avon in the East and there is no bank to the South where they found these anomalies.  Now the bank is no small matter like Stonehenge, as it is 30m – 40m wide and 3m high in the North-western sector of the site.

Archaeologist to date have yet suggested why the banks are missing – if it was a ‘Henge’ it would have had banks and ditches surrounding its entirety.

The first thing that strikes you when you look at Durrington Walls is that it seems incomplete; it looks like a half-circle from aerial photographs, and from the ground, you get a sense of it only being half finished.  But most illustrations include the eastern section because magnetometer surveys of 2006 show that under the surface there are more ditches although you might question their purpose, as it is not apparent.  The eastern side of the site was clearly built much later than the original westside. The east bank is smaller and does not match the specifications of the original ditch and moat, which was roughly 5.5 m deep, 7 m wide at its bottom, and 18 m wide at the top.

Figure 51– 2004 magnetometer survey by Payne and martin – indicating water minerals from the Avon.

The bank was 30 m wide in some areas. The bank and ditch indicated by the magnetometer surveys are less than half that depth; the bank is only about a third of the size of that on the northern side.  The current theory and plan of Durrington Walls simply does not stand up to investigation, for it is clear that the Eastern side of the camp was added at a later date when the prehistoric groundwater had started to recede. This would include the Southern circle found in the 1960s.

Figure 52– Durrington Walls built in a bowl

To answer that question, you must look at the site’s terrain, position and layout. The first thing that hits you is that the site is not flat – in fact, it’s a huge bowl. Archaeologists say that it is a settlement, but anyone who goes camping will tell you not to pitch your tent on a slope, and for a very good reason: you will wake up one morning covered in water, as when it rains the water runs downhill.

Figure 53– Durrington Walls in the Mesolithic with the water at the same height as we saw in Stonehenge (98m)

Archaeologists will insist that, because they have found a few postholes that they believe are the foundations of a couple of roundhouses, the site must unquestionably be a settlement – this is because they are dumbfounded by its position and shape.  If we now add the higher Mesolithic groundwater tables as presented in our hypothesis, as we have shown at the Stonehenge site when the river Avon was 30m higher in the Early Mesolithic period.  This site (which is less than three river miles down the road from Stonehenge) becomes a perfect natural harbour, with shallow sides for pulling boats ashore and 4-metre deep ravine in the centre of the harbour. Moreover, with a northern and western bank that would have provided shelter from gales.

Woodhenge (which lays to the South of Durrington Walls) has two entrances: one directed towards Durrington Walls’ harbour and, more importantly, a mysterious second entrance that trails to our Mesolithic shoreline.  This is a clear indication that groundwater was present at Woodhenge during Mesolithic times. Not only would it explain the strange shape of the camp, but also the magnetometer survey (Parker-Pearson, 2006) showing the continuation ditches to the east were dug after the groundwater had fallen in Neolithic times. 

Figure 54– Durrington Walls Neolithic Shoreline post holes – moorings

Even more impressive is how the landscape reflected the receding shoreline during the Neolithic when the waters receded (as we saw at Stonehenge and The Avenue). The present-day minor road runs along the course of the Neolithic shoreline circa 4000 BCE.

We should not be too surprised by this, as lakeshores and coastlines still have paths along them today so that we can fully enjoy them. There is no reason to believe that prehistoric man did any different 5,000 years ago, and such a path would also have a practical purpose as the shorelines were used as a mooring site.  If we are correct about the road and the mooring points, is it possible to find the same type of post holes here as we saw in the old car park at Stonehenge?  

Wainwright, in his excavations of Durrington Walls, discovered lots of them. These postholes would make a natural landing area for boats, mooring up for Woodhenge, when the waters fell in the Neolithic period.

For more information about British Prehistory and other articles/books, go to our BLOG WEBSITE for daily updates or our VIDEO CHANNEL for interactive media and documentaries. The TRILOGY of books that ‘changed history’ can be found with chapter extracts at DAWN OF THE LOST CIVILISATION, THE STONEHENGE ENIGMA and THE POST-GLACIAL FLOODING HYPOTHESIS. Other associated books are also available such as 13 THINGS THAT DON’T MAKE SENSE IN HISTORY and other ‘short’ budget priced books can be found on our AUTHOR SITE. For active discussion on the findings of the TRILOGY and recent LiDAR investigations that is published on our WEBSITE you can join our FACEBOOK GROUP.

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