How much do you really know about Stonehenge? Located in Wiltshire, England, the mysterious ring of giant stones attracts more than 1 million visitors each year.
But isn’t it just a bunch of old rocks? Sure, but deciphering Stonhenge’s mystery is what makes it so special. Who built it? Why was it built? How was it built? What was it used for? Were aliens involved? (OK, that last one is silly, but you get the point.)
All we know for sure is that Stonehenge likely served as a temple 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. Beyond that, we’ve been led to speculate about its origins. With hardly a clue about its true purpose.
Until now. The first major Stonehenge breakthrough in decades was unveiled earlier this week, discovering that the Stonehenge site is actually much larger than originally suspected. Researchers also uncovered previously unknown prehistoric pits, homes from the Bronze and Iron Ages and ancient burial sites. See the new monuments in red on the map below.
The project was spearheaded by the University of Birmingham and the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom, which high-tech equipment to map 17 ritual monuments in the area. According to the report:
The survey used a range of non-invasive methods to search the area around Stonehenge. Remote sensing technologies such as aerial photography, laser scanning and airborne imaging spectroscopy allowed the team to observe anomalies and variations on the surface of the ground, create precise topographical models and more accurately gauge the composition of above-ground elements respectively. This project has revealed that the area around Stonehenge is teeming with previously unseen archaeology and that the application of new technology can transform how archaeologists and the wider public understand one of the best-studied landscapes on Earth.
Learn more in this video from the team behind the research project: