Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Search for a German Stonehenge Begins

German scientists dig for their own Stonehenge Wed Aug 6, 2008 10:23am EDT (From Reuters) BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - Archaeologists have discovered traces of a Bronze Age place of worship in Germany in what they say might be the country's answer to Stonehenge. Scientists from a university in Halle are excavating a roughly 4,000 year-old circular site in eastern Germany which contains graves that bear a strong resemblance to Stonehenge, a prehistoric stone circle of towering megaliths in southern Britain. "It is the first finding of this kind on the European mainland which we have been able to fully excavate and which shows a structure we have until now only seen in Britain," Andre Spatzier, head of the excavation team, told Reuters TV. He thinks rituals and ceremonies took place at the site, possibly even sacrifices. "The way it is built, with many concentrated rings of graves, walls, palisades and pillars are very similar to the British monument at Stonehenge," added Spatzier. The site, near the town of Poemmelte, was discovered through aerial photos which showed the formation of the graves in a ring with a diameter of about 80 meters (yards). One difference to Stonehenge, however, is that the remains are made out of wood rather than stone. So far the scientists have found few items such as bones or pieces of glass, but they expect to find more as the dig continues. The final results are expected to take up to three years. Stonehenge goes back to 3,100 BC when native Neolithic people started its construction. There is no consensus among scholars on whether it was a temple, burial ground or an astronomical site. (Reporting by Reuters Television, Writing by Madeline Chambers, editing by Paul Casciato)

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