Stonehenge Laser Scan: Archaeological Analysis

Author(s): Marcus Abbott, Hugo Anderson-Whymark

From May to August 2012, ArcHeritage, in collaboration with Dr Hugo Anderson-Whymark, undertook the archaeological analysis of laser scan data of Stonehenge, collected by the Greenhatch Group in March 2011. The results of the project were beyond all expectations. The investigation identified traces of stone-working on virtually every stone, revealing significant new evidence for how Stonehenge was built. In addition, all of the known prehistoric carvings were identified and examined, and numerous new carvings of axe-heads and a possible dagger were revealed. The number of prehistoric axe-head carvings on Stonehenge has increased from 44 to 115; this doubles the number of Early Bronze Age axe-head carvings known in Britain. Differences in patterns of tooling across Stonehenge were also identified that reveal significant new evidence for how, and potentially when, different elements of the monument were constructed. The analysis revealed that the Sarsen Circle was built and dressed with an apparent emphasis on the NE-SW solstitial axis. The study also presents new evidence allowing the question of the non-completion of the Sarsen Circle to be explored. The project, funded by English Heritage, recorded all visible graffiti, damage, weathering and restoration. This revealed considerable evidence for the removal of stones from Stonehenge, and documented extensive damage from past visitors.

Report Number:
Research Report


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