4,500 year old stone circle discovered in the forest

Ancient buildings with a diameter of 25 m hidden under the trees were discovered thanks to laser scanning technology from above.

Ancient buildings with a diameter of 25m hidden under the trees were discovered thanks to laser scanning technology from above.

Picture 1 of 4,500 year old stone circle discovered in the forest
Scientists do not exactly know the purpose of the ancient stone circle.(Photo: BBC).

Archaeologist Jon Hoyle found a Bronze Age stone circle hidden in the Dean Forest, Gloucestershire, BBC reported on October 31. The work consists of a circular high bank of earth, on which small limestone rocks are placed.

This is a remarkable finding and the only ancient structure of this type in Gloucestershire. The team uses LiDAR, laser projection technology from aircraft to scan and 3D ground mapping. This technology helps to observe an area unobstructed by trees.

Picture 2 of 4,500 year old stone circle discovered in the forest
The LiDAR image shows the circular structure hidden under a forest tree.(Photo: BBC).

When examining the data, Hoyle discovered a special circular structure. At first he thought that this could be a gun turret from World War II. After arriving to check, he realized the building was much older, from about 2,500 - 1,500 BC."It was interesting. I expected to find many new archaeological sites with LiDAR, but nothing as interesting as this stone circle," Hoyle said.

The stone circle is about 25 meters in diameter, 5 meters wide on the banks, above are placed at least 10 white limestone rocks, each of which is no more than one meter high. Hoyle said that the stone circle is quite common in high lands such as Derbyshire, Northumberland and Wales. But so far, this is the only stone circle discovered in Gloucestershire.

"No one knows exactly what they are used for. Some stone circles are associated with burial ceremonies and often have traces of charcoal. This shows that the ritual process uses fire." Hoyle said.

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