Recently, researchers have announced that they have discovered the evidence of two large ancient pits within the perimeter of the Cursus directly north of Stonehenge. The pits were discovered using non-invasive technologies such as ground-penetrating radar and measure about 16 feet across (they have apparently been filled in for centuries or even millennia and cannot really be noticed with the naked eye).

Here is an article describing the location of the newly-discovered pits from MSNBC's "Cosmic Log." Here's another one from Discovery News describing the pits as well.

Both articles mention the fact that, for an observer at the Heel Stone (an important and distinctive stone located in the Avenue at Stonehenge), the pits would mark the sunrise and sunset points on the summer solstice. This third article on the pits, from the Huffington Post, contains a statement from the researchers that Stonehenge itself is "precisely due south" of the mid-point of a precession route they theorize took place on the Cursus.

These facts provide further confirmation that the overall site was precisely aligned to facilitate celestial observation. All articles also mention speculation that the Cursus (a long feature of two parallel mounds stretching for 1.5 miles east to west and joined in a narrow ring, named because early scholars mistakenly believed such mounds were the remains of ancient Roman running tracks) was used for processions of celebrants on the summer solstice day, although not much evidence is provided to support that hypothesis.

Based on previous dating of material found below the Cursus and below some of the embankments at Stonehenge itself, scholars believe the Cursus predates the construction of Stonehenge proper by at least five centuries.

All of the analysis accompanying the newly-announced discovery of these pits is interesting, but more interesting to me are the following points which the new discovery appears to support:
  • First and most obvious, the fact that these ancient pits can be calculated to align with the summer solstice sunrise and sunset to an observer at the Heel Stone raises the following question: have the British Isles somehow been immune to continental drift over the past fifty-odd centuries, or is the entire theory of plate tectonics incorrect? Readers of this blog will know that there is substantial evidence worldwide that the conventional theory of tectonics is incorrect (see here and here for starters).
  • While conventional history argues that Stonehenge and other contemporary structures were built by neolithic or mesolithic peoples who were primarily hunters and gatherers, the size of the stones, the scope of the construction, and the sophistication of the astronomical and mathematical concepts preserved at these sites makes such assertions ridiculous. Some researchers claim to have found evidence that the very faint magnetic fields of the stones at Avebury are aligned in a deliberate fashion (they can't measure the fields on the Stonehenge stones, because these stones have now been secured with steel rods to keep them from falling over or being deliberately tipped). Martin Doutré's 1999 book, Ancient Celtic New Zealand presents compelling evidence that the circles of Stonehenge are related in size by a factor of phi -- a sophisticated mathematical concept. It is unlikely that mesolithic hunter-gatherers had the time or inclination to master such concepts as phi and the detection of faint magnetic polarities within stones, nor are such features likely to be coincidental -- they are clearly deliberate.
  • As Mr. Doutré has also argued (backed up by extensive evidence and thorough analysis on his part), Stonehenge appears to contain a direct scale model in two dimensions of the Great Pyramid of Giza, with the apex designated by one of the post-holes in the Avenue adjacent to the Heel Stone itself (see here). If this analysis is correct, then there is a strong possibility that the Great Pyramid actually predates Stonehenge, meaning that it was not really built during the reign of Khufu as conventional historians insist. Even more significant, perhaps, is the fact that the Great Pyramid appears to represent a scale model of the northern hemisphere, designed and built by people who knew the earth was a globe (its base perimeter is proportionally related to the circumference of the earth at the equator by a factor of 1:43,200 -- a suspiciously important precessional number and not likely to be a coincidence). If Stonehenge relates to the Great Pyramid, and the Great Pyramid relates to the spherical earth, then the builders of Stonehenge are very unlikely to have been primitive mesolithic hunter-gatherers.
The detection of these new pits adds further confirmation that the designers of Stonehenge were dedicated astronomers, and probably had a very sophisticated understanding of the globe and its motions.