The Japan Times, November 12, 1997
Prehistoric temple traces discovered in Britain
LONDON (AP) Archaeologists announced Monday that they have discovered the buried remains of a prehistoric timber temple, twice the size and just as significant as the megalith monument at Stonehenge.
A survey of the area at Stanton Drew in Somerset, southwest England, revealed traces of "one of the largest and most elaborate" prehistoric ceremonial sites ever found in Britain, according to English Heritage, which looks after historic sites and buildings.
The site, concealed by a series of stone circles, was detected with sensitive instruments designed to reveal ancient remains without disturbance. The evidence so far points to the existence of timber circles and a ditch, or henge, English Heritage said.
Dr. Geoffrey Wainwright, English Heritage's chief archaeologist, called the discovery the most significant in British prehistoric archaeology since the 1967 excavation of a timber temple at Durrington Walls, near Stonehenge.
"We have about 3,000 stone circles in Britain, but previously only seven timber temples," he said. "The Stanton Drew find is by far the largest — twice as big as anything previously discovered."
Sir Jocelyn Stevens, chairman of English Heritage, suggested that the complex structure was built as a "symbol of power" by people seeking to control the supernatural.
English Heritage said it will attempt to examine only the possible remains of the temple posts, which may have stood up to 30 feet above ground. The rest of the site will not be extensively excavated, officials said, since it conforms to seven other timber temples in Britain.
The find was made in September by archaeologists using ground-scanning equipment in an attempt to learn more about the three stone circles at Stanton Drew, which are the responsibility of English Heritage.
ARCHAEOLOGISTS ANNOUNCED the discovery of the burled remains of a prehistoric timber temple at Stanton Drew in Somerset, England on Monday. Evidence suggests the existence of timber circles and an enormous ditch, similar to the site at Durrington Walls, Wiltshire, England, shown in this artist's impression. AP PHOTO