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VIDEO: North Kent's answer to Stonehenge discovered by Faversham archaeologists

By Faversham Times  |  Posted: August 07, 2014

By Rebecca Pike

SWAT Archaeology Iwade project from Skyspider A.I on Vimeo.

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REMAINS of a prehistoric monument similar to Stonehenge are being excavated by Faversham experts.

SWAT Archaeology made the discovery while making a preparatory dig ahead of a planned housing development at Iwade Meadows, in Sittingbourne.

They have discovered evidence of two monuments dating back about 6,000 years to the Neolithic period and are being excavated and recorded before building the houses.

The largest monument is 30 metres in diameter and is formed of a pair of ring ditches.

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According to SWAT Archaeology's Dr Paul Wilkinson, the evidence suggests the outer ditch may have originated in the Neolithic period, but was later transformed into a funeral monument with the addition of an inner ring.

In a report, he said: "The outer ring has an entrance facing north-east suggesting that it may have originated as a henge-type monument, a ceremonial gathering place of which Stonehenge is our most well known example."

Archaeologists are also exploring a second, smaller monument lying close to the larger rings.

They think this may be a second burial area dating back to the Bronze Age.

The evidence suggests the larger monument stopped being used as a burial or funeral monument some time during the Bronze Age but was later used for something because of the way the track was extended to include the outer ring.

Dr Wilkinson said: "Its purpose is not known, but it may be that the monument was reused as an enclosure for stock management at this time or could formally have been used as a 'sacred way' leading to the Neolithic 'henge'."

Further analysis is needed to determine the exact date, phasing and character of the two monuments.

Dr Wilkinson concluded: "The importance of the location in the Neolithic is reinforced by the rare findings of a series of pits close to the monuments that may indicate the area was being used before the construction of the monument or represents activity associated with it.

"The investigation of the monuments is almost complete and the numerous finds and records of the investigation will be analysed to shed light on these prehistoric monuments and their surrounding landscape."

A spokesperson from Persimmon Homes, which is planning to develop the site, was unavailable for comment.

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