Archaeologists have found the remains of a prehistoric ceremonial site which has been described as the biggest in Britain. English Heritage officials say it is as old as Stonehenge, although twice as large.

Traces of the temple, in well-defined pits, were found at village of Stanton Drew, near Bristol, in the centre of the largest of the existing stone circles. Interestingly Sir Jocelyn Stevens, Chairman of English Heritage suggested that the structure was built as a "symbol of power" by people seeking to control the supernatural - a very high-profile affirmation of the site's likely ritual use.

Dr Geoffrey Wainwright, English Heritage's chief architect, described the discovery as the most significant in British pre-historic archaeology in 30 years. He explained: "We have about 3,000 stone circles in Britain but previously only seven timber temples. The Stanton Drew find is by far the largest, twice as big as anything previously discovered," he said. The site was found by using magnetic field ground scanning equipment to plot the extent of the buried structure. Dr Wainwright said that previous excavations at sites such as Woodhenge and Durrington Walls, both near Stonehenge, had shown that the pits once held massive posts. "It is a strong possibility that this was the case at StantonDrew. But here the circles are more numerous and their size is much greater than at the other sites."

List of known Timber Temples in Britain