| 2 September 2010
Bronze Age henge found in Hertfordshire
A Bronze Age henge has been discovered on land near Letchworth (Hertfordshire, England). Archaeologists have found a circular area about 50 metres wide surrounded by a bank at Stapleton's Field in Norton. North Herts Archaeology Officer Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews said: "Henges are quite rare with only 60 known in the UK, so this is a significant find. It's interesting as the only other henge known locally is on the Weston Hills, which is visible from the site we are working on."
Fitzpatrick-Matthews, leading the team working on the site, revealed how the henge which dates back to between 3000 and 2000 BCE was discovered. "Aerial photographs of the area showed this rather extensive ring of chalk. There's nothing visible at ground level so we decided to put a trench through it. Having done that, we found the chalk bank just survives underneath the plough soil and we have massive ditches inside and out." The earth used to build the banks was taken from the ditches and the central area flattened.
The archaeologists are able to date the henge because of pottery they found which is associated with the Bronze Age. "Grooved ware products were found, which dates the henge back to the third millennium BCE," explained Fitzpatrick-Matthews. Henges are only known to occur in Britain and Northern Ireland. They are commonly found in 'groups', each separated by hundreds of miles. There are various theories as to the purpose of a henge. Some experts believe henges were used as a defence, while others think they were meeting places for rituals.
Source: BBC News (24 August 2010)
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