Scientists find huge ring of ancient shafts near Stonehenge

In this Sunday, June 21, 2015 file photo, the sun rises as thousands of revelers gather at the ancient stone circle Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice, near Salisbury, England. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, file)

LONDON (AP) — Archaeologists said Monday that they have discovered a major prehistoric monument under the earth near Stonehenge that could shed new light on the origins of the mystical stone circle in southwestern England.

Experts from a group of British universities say the site consists of at least 20 huge shafts, more than 10 meters, or 32 feet, in diameter and 5 meters deep, forming a circle more than 2 kilometers— over a mile — in diameter.

Researchers say the shafts appear to have been dug around 4,500 years ago, and could mark the boundary of a sacred area or precinct around a circular monument known as the Durrington Walls henge, about 3 kilometers, or 2 miles, from Stonehenge.

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