Big Dig Gets Underway At Stonehenge

Work has begun on the excavation of important 'bluestones' at one of England's most famous historical landmarks, Stonehenge.

English Heritage will carry out the work following the granting of Scheduled Monument Consent by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

The two-week project will aim to precisely date the double bluestone circle, the first stone structure built on the site.

Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of the 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."

The stones were last investigated by archaeologists in the 1990s and were dated at around 2,550BC but no precise date was uncovered.

A trench measuring around 3.5 metres by 2.5 metres will be dug in a previously excavated area on the south-eastern quadrant of the Double Stone Circle.

Samples retrieved from the dig will be tested using more advanced technology such as radiocarbon dating which should shed light on how long the Circle was is use for.

BBC Timewatch in association with Smithsonian Networks will fund the excavation and post excavation analysis and will also film it for broadcast on BBC2 this autumn.


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