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Ancient route discovered at Stonehenge

Archaeologists have confirmed that Stonehenge was built along the solstice axis and was part of an earthwork route ? nicknamed the ?Avenue? – that extended for 1.5 miles. The Avenue was an earthwork route that extended from the north eastern entrance to Wiltshire’s standing stones to the River Avon at West Amesbury. 
Following the closure of the A344 road, archaeologists have been able to excavate there for the first time. Just below the tarmac, they found naturally occurring fissures that once lay between ridges against which prehistoric builders dug ditches to create the Avenue. 
The ridges were created by Ice Age meltwater that happened to point directly at the mid-winter sunset in one direction and the mid-summer sunrise in the other. 
?Hugely significant?
“It’s hugely significant because it tells us a lot about why Stonehenge was located where it is and why they [the prehistoric people] were so interested in the solstices,? expert on Stonehenge Professor Mike Parker Pearson said. ?It’s not to do with worshipping the sun, some kind of calendar or astronomical observatory, it’s about how this place was special to prehistoric people. 
“This natural landform happens to be on the solstice axis, which brings heaven and earth into one. So the reason that Stonehenge is all about the solstices, we think, is because they actually saw this in the land.” 
The findings back theories that emerged in 2008 following exploration of a narrow trench across the Avenue. 
“The part of the Avenue that was cut through by the road has obviously been destroyed forever but we were hopeful that archaeology below the road would survive,? English Heritage’s Stonehenge curator Dr Heather Sebire said. ?And here we have it, the missing piece in the jigsaw. It is very exciting to find a piece of physical evidence that officially makes the connection which we were hoping for.” 
Sebire likens the Avenue to The Mall leading to Buckingham Palace and said that the latest findings should prompt vigorous academic debate. 
The excavations have also uncovered three holes where missing stones would have stood on the outer sarsen circle evidence pointing to the circle once being complete.
Source: The Guardian 

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