Woodhenge is 'just as old' as neighbouring Stonehenge, research finds

Stonehenge's often-overlooked neighbour Woodhenge is attracting new interest from researchers, ITV News Correspondent Ellie Pitt reports

Research has revealed that the ancient monuments Woodhenge and Stonehenge were both built around the same time, not built hundreds of years apart as previously thought.

It was originally believed that the wooden monument was built on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire around 2,300 BC, with Stonehenge built 300 years earlier, around 2,600 BC.

Radiocarbon dating, which can be used by scientists to confidently age materials, shows the timer rings were erected around 2,600 BC, with the surrounding earthworks being completed around 150 to 200 years later.

Woodhenge is just 2 miles from Stonehenge. It has six concentric ovals of standing posts, surrounded by a bank and ditch, which were built to align with the summer solstice sunrise.

Stonehenge Credit: PA Wire

Amanda Chadburn, English Heritage’s former lead adviser at the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site worked on the dating project alongside Historic England.

She said: "These new dates are really exciting for a number of reasons. Firstly, it means the monument is now well-dated using modern, reliable techniques so we can trust them.

“Secondly, they show that Woodhenge was built in at least two phases, with the henge being built around 150-200 years later than the timber rings.

"Only the timber rings appear to have the connection with the sun - so this date difference makes sense in terms of the architecture of the monument.

“Finally, the dates themselves are fantastic, they place the timber rings and the sarsens at Stonehenge at around the same time.

"This shows that, along with the Southern Circle, Stonehenge with its solstital alignments isn't a one-off in the landscape.

“It now seems that prehistoric peoples were sighting the solstices at a number of monuments in this exact area, and at the same time. This is truly exceptional."

The henge was first spotted from the air in 1925 and has long been overshadowed by its presumed older sibling. Attempts to date it in the past have had mixed results.

These new findings will feature in a new book, Stonehenge: Sighting the Sun, to be published on 8 May by Liverpool University Press on behalf of Historic England, which funded the radiocarbon dating.