Traces of ancient village found near Stonehenge

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New excavations near Stonehenge have uncovered hearths, timbers and other remains of what archaeologists say was probably the village of workers who erected the brooding monoliths on Salisbury Plain in England.

The archaeologists announced today that the 4,600-year-old ruins appear to form the largest Neolithic village ever found in Britain. The houses at the site known as Durrington Walls were constructed in the same period that Stonehenge, less than two miles away, was built as a religious center presumably for worshippers of the Sun and their ancestors.

Mike Parker Pearson, a leader of the excavations from Sheffield University, said the discoveries last summer supported the emerging recognition that the ring of standing stones and earthworks at Stonehenge was part of a much larger religious complex.

In a teleconference conducted by the National Geographic Society, Dr. Parker Pearson said a circle of ditches and earthen banks at Durrington Walls enclosed concentric rings of huge timber posts — “basically a wooden version of Stonehenge,” he said.

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