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17 December 2010
New Woodhenge just a fence?

The Woodhenge in question should not be confused with the more famous Neolithic Class I henge and timber circle located in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site in Wiltshire (England), which was discovered in 1925. This particular henge was only discovered in July 2010, by a team from Birmingham University, headed by Professor Vince Gaffney. The discovery was made just a few hundred metres from the main Stonehenge circle. Post holes had been uncovered, on a circular pattern, around a burial mound.
     Following receipt of a letter from an American reader, Mike Pitts, the editor of the magazine British Archaeology, started to question the findings. Firstly it was noted that the 'ring' of post holes actually appeared to be 'hexagonal' in shape and, more telling, a 1970s Ordnance Survey Map appeared to show a fence on the line of the post holes, making it a contemporary phenomenon. Mike believes that the Professor, generally known for his experience and quality of work, may have been a little hasty in reaching his conclusions and had been carried away by his own enthusiasm. Professor Gaffney strongly refutes these allegations and is quoted as saying "We have mapped numerous fences and we know what they look like. The features appear to be 3ft across and as deep as 3ft. I have never seen a fence line that required holes that are 3ft across and 3ft deep. The poles that would have stood in them would have been like telegraph poles. You would not use them to build a fence."
     The eagerly anticipated full publication of the team's results should resolve the matter one way or the other.
Edited from Daily Mail, The Heritage Journal (12 december 2010)

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