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17 October 2011
Stanton Drew - new features discovered

New evidence of features in and around the three prehistoric stone circles at Stanton Drew (southwest England) has been revealed. Results of a 2010 geophysical survey show evidence of below-ground archaeology, including a second entrance into the henge monument first identified by English Heritage in 1997. The second entrance is south-west facing and forms a narrow causeway, defined by the circular ditch. Further work at the South-West Circle suggests that it sits on a deliberately levelled platform.
     Stone circles like Stanton Drew's date broadly to the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age (locally about 3000-2000 BCE). Computer plots show what appears to be the outline of an earlier Neolithic burial mound or 'long barrow' immediately to the north of the Cove - a group of three large stones in the beer garden of the Druid's Arms pub. The completion of a resistance survey at the Cove reinforces its interpretation as a long barrow, which would date to nearly 1000 years before the stone circles. The length, width and orientation are consistent with this type of monument, including indications of flanking ditches.
    According to Richard Sermon, Bath & North East Somerset Council's Archaeological Officer, "...what we see above ground today is only part of a complex that would have rivalled those at Avebury and Stonehenge."
    The complete 96-page report of 2010 geophysical survey and other archaeological investigations at Stanton Drew is available online on the Bath & Camerton Archaeological Society website.

Edited from BACAS (October 2011), This is Somerset (14 October 2011)

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