A comprehensive 3-D laser survey of Stonehenge has revealed the varying techniques used to highlight the stones aligned with the winter and summer solstices.
The stones on the outer sarsen circle are visible when approaching from the north east along the ancient avenue, and are the largest and most uniform. Their lintels are well worked, and they have been pick dressed to expose a brighter surface, unlike the outer faces of stones to the south west.
Also, the sides of the stones on the solstitial axis form straight narrow slots.
“The new presentation of Stonehenge will enable visitors to appreciate the importance of the solstitial alignment far better,” said Loraine Knowles, Stonehenge director at English Heritage, in a press release.
“It’s why we are closing the A344—which severs the alignment—to enable the stone circle to be reunited with the Avenue.”
The laser scan also revealed more prehistoric carvings, including 71 axeheads from the Bronze Age.
“Analysis of the different techniques used to dress the stones may even help to refine the chronology of the construction,” said Susan Greaney, senior properties historian at English Heritage, in the release.
“Disappointing to some, the scan has also ruled out many poorly defined lines and hollows previously thought to be possible prehistoric carvings.”