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Archaeologists unlocking 'German Stonehenge' secrets

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Archaeologists unlocking 'German Stonehenge' secrets
Photo: DPA
18:06 CEST+02:00
Archaeologists have begun to unlock the mystery of a Bronze Age site in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt being compared to England's Stonehenge - except it's made of wood instead of rock.

"It's a key find for the third millennium before Christ," head researcher Francois Bertemes from the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg said of the site. "With this it is clear that these types of formations were also in central Europe."

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view photos of Germany's 'Wood Henge'.

The circular formation was first discovered in 1991 by airplane. It has a diameter of 115 metres and was built some time around 4250 BC according to astronomical principles and was used for worship, celebration and sacrifices. Stonehenge was erected some time between 3100 BC and 2000 BC.

Because it was made of wood, the actual construction no longer exists. Archaeologists involved in the €5-million project believe that the irregular placement of posts surrounding the site's centre represent important cult days on the astronomical calendar.

"We've found 17 circular ditches with votive offerings," dig leader André Spatzier said.

In one of these sites the scientists found the body of a 6-year-old child. Other burial sites have human and animal bones in addition to pottery, grain and tools. Stonehenge was also used as a burial site.

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