Archaeologists Uncover a Hidden Historic Henge in England


Archaeologists digging via a subject in Lincolnshire, England, could have discovered a 1,300-year-old hermitage on the location of a way more historical henge.

The archaeological crew discovered proof for a monumental henge that dates to the Neolithic or Early Bronze Age; after the location was deserted, its inside was reoccupied across the seventh century. By the Twelfth century, the abbots of Crowland construct a big corridor and chapel complicated on the location, which nonetheless stand right now.

The stays of Crowland’s medieval abbey are regionally believed to have been the hermitage web site of Guthlac, a nobleman-turned-religious hermit who died in 714. Native custom additionally hyperlinks the location to Guthlac’s sister, Pega, a posthumously honored hermit in her personal proper, in keeping with the crew. Their analysis describing the henge construction and proof of pre-Twelfth century occupation of the location is printed right now within the Journal of Area Archaeology.

The ruined nave of Crowland Abbey.

“We all know that many prehistoric monuments have been reused by the Anglo-Saxons, however to discover a henge—particularly one which was beforehand unknown—occupied on this approach is basically fairly uncommon,” stated Duncan Wright, an archaeologist at Newcastle College and lead creator of the paper, in a college launch.

Carbon relationship of a rotted picket publish on the location revealed the earthen henge dated to between 1502 BCE and 1323 BCE. By the early Center Bronze Age, the crew discovered, a lot of the dug trenches that made up the henge have been crammed in. Till the Twelfth century—when the encircling marshland was drained—the location was on a peninsula, and “would in all probability have been conceived of because the sacred core of the group,” the crew wrote within the paper.

The location “gives an distinctive case research of an evolving sacred panorama in a deep-time perspective, culminating in its redevelopment by the Anglo-Norman monastery to say legitimacy from illustrious saintly forebears,” they added.

That’s not completely a shock; websites that develop some sort of ceremonial significance usually retain that significance whilst they alter form. In 2021, a special crew of researchers discovered that Stonehenge in all probability began as a wholly completely different henge.

The excavation of Anchor Church Area yielded pottery, two bone combs, and glass fragments from thin-walled consuming vessels, which the crew said have been typical within the seventh to ninth centuries and are related to high-status exercise. Related glass has been discovered at ecclesiastical websites like Glastonbury Abbey, the crew stated, however they could be from a funerary context within the current case.

One of two bone combs found at the site.

One in every of two bone combs discovered on the web site.
Picture: The Anchor Church Area Undertaking

“It’s clear that even in later years Anchor Church Area continued to be seen as a particular place worthy of veneration,” stated Hugh Willmott, an archaeologist on the College of Sheffield, in the identical launch. “Guthlac and Pega have been crucial figures within the early Christian historical past of England, so it’s massively thrilling that we’ve been in a position to decide the chronology of what’s clearly a traditionally important web site.”

The crew additionally discovered a 3-foot-wide (1-meter-wide) stone-lined pit in entrance of the corridor and chapel on the location, considered a properly when it was discovered within the nineteenth century. However the crew concluded the pit was too shallow to be a properly, and that it was positioned above even the historic water desk in teh area. Thus, they concluded it might have been a setting for a flag, or monumental cross in entrance of the non secular web site.

Whereas the work doesn’t certifiably hyperlink the traditional web site to Guthlac and Pega, its clear that Crowland was an space of sacred significance to residents of Lincolnshire for millennia, even earlier than Christianity arrived within the area—certainly, lengthy earlier than Christianity started.

Extra: Stonehenge Began as an Solely Completely different Henge, New Analysis Suggests