Ivannia SalazarSEGUIRLondres Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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Vincent Gaffney you do not need whom you interview will ask you questions, because when it starts to tell a story will be answered virtually all of spontaneously, one after the other. At age 62, he speaks with the passion of youth about their work. It is not for less: it is one of the lucky few with full access to the monument of Stonehenge , one of the most incredible and mysterious at once of the world, and just a few months ago made a historic discovery in the vicinity, which was announced to the world a few weeks ago.

Located in the county of Wiltshire, England, and built around the 2500 bc , “Stonehenge is not just the stones that we all know, it is a landscape created to be noticed from far away and everything is important’, says in conversation with ABC. “ Was built to impress “. And, even if the biggest impressions has led him several times throughout his long career, and for different reasons, the last will go down in history for being, as he himself calls it, of “a discovery without precedent”.

Durrington Walls

“we found a circle of wells , each ten meters or more in diameter and at least five meters deep, around the neighbor prehistoric largest of Stonehenge, the so-called superhenge at Durrington Walls,” explains Gaffney. Durrington is “ one of the monuments of neolithic largest ” from Great Britain and was built over 4,500 years ago. And is right in the centre of the giant ring , which is about two kilometres in diameter, and which forms part of a vast area full of historical remains, as well as symbolic items and rituals.

Gaffney is the co-pi of project Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes (Landscapes hidden Stonehenge) , a collaboration between the Universities of Birmingham, Vienna, Bradford, St Andrews, Nottingham and Ghent with the National Trust and English Heritage, which aims to “locate the site and its development through time within a scenic context,” using geophysical techniques “fast and accurate land-based”, such as the magnetometer, the radar penetration into the soil, the use of GPS in real-time, the guide robotics, and electromagnetic induction. Thanks to this research, “has developed a strategy fast to map, visualize and interpret data at a landscape scale” and its intention is “to discover more about Stonehenge by looking at it from the outside”.


So, about 18 square miles of countryside around Stonehenge have now been studied through geophysics. “Even if we could dig freely, it would be impossible to understand the site in its whole context without the technology we have available today,” explains the archaeologist, who believes that many times “the absence of evidence has become the evidence of absence”, something that, in his opinion, it is an approach that is wrong. And this new discovery is the proof.

But sometimes you have to embrace perspectives and new tools to be able to see what is hidden. Gaffney and the rest of the team, which is in addition to his brother Chris, left the archaeology typical. “The archaeologists we love to dig holes,” he says between laughs, and gets serious again before adding: “But that makes it that we know very, very well, a very small part of what we investigate. We know a lot of small spaces; we know very well-a 5%, but the 95% is unknown “. It was as well as in 2007 started to work in geophysics large-scale and the use of magnetometers became an essential method. “We are part of a european project to share equipment, riding what I call a circus geophysical, which was moving everywhere”. So they started out new data which they then had to be worked on, structured, and interpreted. And everything changed.

Vincent Gaffney, working on the project – ABC

“I’m sure that in the Uk, and probably in Europe, nothing like this ,” says Gaffney, who currently serves at the Chair of landscape Archaeology of the University of Bradford. “It is, so far, the structure prehistoric largest that has been found in Great Britain . It is huge, spectacular, giant”, she exclaims with excitement. “Stonehenge is small and for the dead, and Durrington, in contrast, is thought to be associated with the living,” she explains, in tune with the ideas of other specialists such as Michael Parker Pearson, of University College London. One sign of this might be that “Stonehenge is built of stones, while the structures of Durrington are made of wood”. And now, in addition, is the circle of wells. “In the early neolithic it was all rectangular, while in the late is circular,” says Gaffney, in an attempt to bridge the gap and to structure that so little is known.

“And now I will ask: And what is this?”, he says, to immediately respond: “we do Not know, we do not know what was the goal ” of these constructions, which for centuries have been a mystery, and the ring recently discovered. Archaeology, as a science that studies ancient civilizations, it does not offer quick answers, or declarations written in stone, never better said. However, the expert is willing to propose that perhaps the huge circle was used to demarcate the perimeter of an area to which, for some reason, he could not enter. “ Perhaps a sacred zone or even a village , where you may have lived those who built Stonehenge”.

Another of the conclusions drawn by the team of Gaffney this discovery is that those who composed the ring knew count ; otherwise, you could not have made a structure of this magnitude. “This is the first and substantial evidence that they knew to have,” he says. And it explains: “Tell has different meanings for different societies,” and gives the example of doing it “for social reasons”. “It’s not like we understand the math, have an important cosmological, not purposes abstract”. “ is Not an archaeological discovery normal , ” he says. How we made them feel what they found? “I don’t know if there is a translation in Spanish”, it warns, before choosing the word “Aghast”. And he’s right, because the literal translation is not enough to express all of its content: a mix between stunned, surprised, shocked, even frightened. “All at the same time,” he said, with the twinkle in the eyes of these people so full of curiosity that, instead of using their findings as answers transform into new questions.

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