Archaeologists have begun a major dig to unearth the hidden mysteries of a buried ancient stone circle site that is ten times bigger than Stonehenge.

The enormous 4,000 year old Marden Henge, in Wiltshire, is Britain's largest prehistoric structure stretching for 10.5 hectares, the equivalent of 10 football pitches.

English Heritage is carrying out a six-week dig hoping to reveal the secrets behind the giant henge which has baffled historians for centuries.

Most of the Neolithic henge has been destroyed over the years due to farming and erosion but minor excavations in 41 years ago estimate the site to between 2,000 and 2,400BC.

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Marden Henge was once a 45ft high mound surrounded by a water filled ditch which was used for sacrificial offerings.

Although the henge no longer has its vast stone circle it has a large puzzling sunken circular feature which is almost unheard of at Neolithic sites.

A team of 15 archaeologists and historians believe the dig could show the ancient site is even more significant than both Stonehenge and Avebury stone circles.

Archaeologist Jim Leary, 34, said: 'Virtually nothing is known about this vast circle. We are starting from point zero.

'Marden Henge deserves to be understood more partly because of its size, but also due to its proximity to the more famous stone circles at Avebury and Stonehenge.

'The relationship between the latter two sites - chronology of their construction, whether it is built by the same people, how they were used, is of immense interest.

'How Marden relates to them is another layer of interest which we want to study.

'We are potentially looking at a much more intricate system of Neolithic ritual sites in this part of the world than we previously thought.

'The study of Prehistory is entering a very exciting phase with lots of fascinating research and dating techniques emerging.

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