The ancient site known as Woodhenge was first detected in 1925 thanks to advances made in aerial photography - pronounced rings of dark spots were in evidence, showing through a wheat crop. When excavated, these dark spots proved to be deeply cut post holes where once stood red cedar poles.
In common with other "henges" the entire site was enclosed within an earthen bank and ditch, and as at nearby Stonehenge the entrance is located to the north east. Within the bounds of the outer perimeter 6 rings of wooden posts radiated out from a central point. In the centre, giant post holes up to 6ft deep have been discovered, capable of supporting wooden pillars 17ft in height. In addition, there is good evidence that two concentric stone circles encircled the central pillars - these were destroyed in the 18th century.
Conventional wisdom dated Woodhenge to around 2300-2000BC, thereby making it contemporary with the extensive network of Neolithic structures in Wiltshire, including its near neighbour Stonehenge. However, new advances in radio carbon dating, of deposits in situ, undertaken during excavation work of the 1970's, may mean that we have to revise this estimation of the construction date for Woodhenge to a more recent time.
The excavations of the 1970?s unearthed the remains of a young child buried near the centre of the site - the child?s skull had been split asunder. There is nothing novel in such a discovery, indeed prehistoric sites often revealed such human remains when excavated. If used for religious or ritual purposes these sacrificial offerings may well have celebrated completion of the building phase or the inception of its use.
Whether the many wooden pillars were engaged as supports for a huge circular building, or they "simply" formed a massive free-standing woodhenge, remains a matter for conjecture.