Neolithic railway discovered during HS2 dig

Archaeologists stunned to find evidence of a 7,000-year-old railway system on the outskirts of Wolverhampton

Published: April 1st, 2022 at 12:01 am

This story was an April Fools joke for 2022. We hope you enjoyed it.

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Contractors digging a section of HS2 outside Birmingham have discovered a series of parallel rows of monoliths running for hundreds of metres. Some archaeologists believe the stones, which are laid end-to-end, form the basis of a primitive tramway system.

“The position of these huge granite stones is unlike anything we’ve ever seen from this period,” said Professor Doug Deaper, from the South Shropshire Neolithic Institute, who led the investigation.

“At first I assumed they had fallen this way, perhaps having been originally set out in a circle as is normal for most structures and monuments for this period. But when we looked at the geophysical survey of the area, we found that the stones ran for 2km in an almost-straight line.”

A geophysicist pushing a trolley with ground mapping sensors, creating a geophysical survey of the subsoil in a field
Ground mapping sensors create a geophysical survey of the subsoil in a field./Credit: Getty

Closer examination of the stones revealed groove marks where either wooden or stone wheels may have carried carts of quarried stone, wood and other vital resources between settlements. Further lab testing found traces of animal fat around the grooves, which may have been used to grease the chassis of carts.

“The HS2 archaeological excavations have already unearthed numerous remarkable finds, but this is the most astonishing of the lot,” said Rob Attar, editor of BBC History magazine. “If confirmed, this will transform our understanding of Stone Age Britain and may offer a radical new solution to the mystery of how the creators of Stonehenge transported the giant megaliths that make up the monument.”

Happy April Fools day. None of the statements in this article are true. We hope you enjoyed our fun feature!


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Main image: The stones were first uncovered by contractors digging to make way for HS2./Credit: Getty

Authors

Tanya Jackson in red checked shirt and rucksack standing by a wall with a big smile
Tanya Jacksonacting group digital editor

Tanya Jackson is the acting group digital editor of countryfile.com and discoverwildlife.com. Her parents had a pet shop when she was growing up, so she learnt very young how intelligent rats are and why you don’t stick your hands near the beak of a cockatoo. She loves camping, hiking and watching the red kites soar over the Wiltshire hills.

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