Found: Temple sacred for 3,000 years
By David Keys, Archaeology Correspondent , The Independent
26 Nov 2000
The astonishing past: Stone Age site 30 times the size of Stonehenge
A six-year research programme has revealed that the vast, egg-shaped
Despite its vast size, the site is baffling archaeologists. They are
The focal point appears to have been a natural spring - and possibly some sort of shrine. The complex may have been built on such a grand scale to include a second possible shrine 500 yards north-west of the spring and an area of further ritual activity about 200 yards to the north-east. The main entrance is oriented towards sunset on the summer solstice - the point at which the sun disappears after the longest day of the year. Detailed examination has revealed that the enclosed area was kept clear for almost 3,000 years. Outside the oval, archaeologists have found a normal level of flint and other prehistoric finds. Inside there have been almost no finds at all.
"They must have kept it extraordinarily clean," said Dr Alex
The absence of debris of human activity from the earlier parts of the
After the arrangement of 1,400 oak obelisks was constructed - just
Archaeologists believe planks were used to close the gaps between the obelisks for at least the bottom third of their height.
The temple was almost certainly kept exclusively for the use of the
However, when the Roman invaders arrived, its very sanctity seems to have made it a target. For, in common with many other native British sacred sites - including Stonehenge - the place appears to have been deliberately violated. The Romans seem to have chosen to insult local sensibilities by building first a marching camp on one part of the site and then a permanent fort on another.
The site - at Hindwell, three miles east of New Radnor in Powys - is being seen as one of the most important in Europe. "We were bowled over by the sheer scale of the structure - and the fact that it appears to have remained sacred for thousands of years," Dr Gibson said.
an emissary solution