Page last updated at 11:02 GMT, Monday, 31 March 2008 12:02 UK

Excavation begins at Stonehenge

Stonehenge
The excavation aims to date the arrival of the bluestones

The first excavation of the stones at Stonehenge in Wiltshire for 40 years is under way.

The two-week project will focus on the smaller bluestones that make up part of the world-famous prehistoric monument.

It aims to date more precisely the double bluestone circle, the first stone structure built on the site.

Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said: "The bluestones hold the key to understanding the purpose and meaning of Stonehenge."

Bluestone pillars

There is now no visible trace of the original setting of this circle. What visitors see now are freestanding bluestones re-erected later.

Archaeologists tried to date the circle in the 1990s and estimated that it was first erected at around 2,550BC but no precise dating has yet been found.

A trench measuring around 3.5 metres by 2.5 metres will be dug in a previously excavated area on the south-eastern quadrant of the double stone circle with the hope of retrieving fragments of the original bluestone pillars.

The excavation is being led by Stonehenge academics Professor Tim Darvill of Bournemouth University and Professor Geoffrey Wainwright, president of the Society of Antiquaries.




SEE ALSO
Stonehenge tunnel plans scrapped
06 Dec 07 |  Wiltshire
Stonehenge's huge support settlement
05 Nov 07 |  Science/Nature
Stonehenge building riddle tackled
22 Aug 07 |  Wiltshire

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific