WorldWide Drilling Resource

41 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® JANUARY 2021 Massive Neolithic Pit Discovered Near Stonehenge Adapted from Information by The University of Birmingham and the University of Wales Fieldwork and analysis near Stonehenge in Britain, as part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project, revealed evidence of 20 or more massive, prehistoric shafts, measuring more than 32 feet in diameter and more than 16 feet deep. These shafts form a circle more than a mile in diameter, enclosing an area more than one square mile around the Durrington Walls henge, one of the country’s largest henge monuments, and the famous, smaller prehistoric circle at Woodhenge. Coring of the shafts provided radiocarbon dates indicating the features are Neolithic and were excavated more than 4500 years ago, around the time the Durrington Walls henge was constructed. Archaeologists believe the shafts served as a boundary to a sacred area or precinct associated with the henge. The Neolithic period, the era associated with the first farmers, is characterized by the development of ornate, and occasionally very large, rituals structures and enclosures, including the great stone circle at Stonehenge. However, no prehistoric structure in the UK encloses such a large area as the circle of shafts at Durrington, and the structure is currently unique. Aside from the scale of the structure, the circuit of shafts had other surprising characteristics. The bound- ary appears to have been deliberately laid out to include an earlier prehistoric monument within the boundary - the Larkhill Causewayed Enclosure. This site was built more than 1500 years before the henge at Durrington. This distance between the henge and earlier enclosure seems to guide the placement of shafts around Durrington. The evidence for how these features were laid out is extremely impor- tant as it implies early inhabitants of Britain used a tally or counting system to track pacing across long distances. Evidence for such careful planning, at such a scale, is unexpected and emphasizes how important the positioning of these features was. Geoarchaeologist, Dr. Martin Bates from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David drilled the holes which allowed the team to recover samples for dating and examining. “When discovering features of this size in the past . . . earlier archaeolo- gists would have applied relatively coarse methodologies, primarily excavation, to discover more,” he explained. “Today, we can be more cautious and sympathetic to the archaeology. Precision coring, guided by remote sensing and a bit of luck, has allowed us to recover bone fragments close to the base of one of these features and that has allowed us to date their initial infilling.” Research on the pits at Durrington was undertaken by a consortium of archaeologists led by the University of Bradford; the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology; the University of Wales Trinity Saint David; along with the Universities of Birmingham, St Andrews, Warwick, and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (University of Glasgow). ENV Photo of Dr. Bates courtesy of the University of Wales. Atlantis Vault • Self-Contained • Simple installation • Trouble-free operation For more information call: (270) 786-3010 or visit us online: Join the WWDR Team at The Second Annual WorldWide DownHome DrillFest™ 2021 n m 2021 will find us all at The Chateau on the Lake in Branson, Missouri. It’s shaping up to be a tremendous event for our drilling industry. There will be room for rigs inside as well as outside, and forms will be available shortly with the layout, so you will have an opportunity to choose your “very special spot”. Welcome Party, Fun, Speakers, WWDR R Karaoke, Education, and Ladies’ Day ! ANNOUNCING . . . C . August 16-18 . . . g