Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument located in Britain, is being scanned with modern laser technology, which could reveal the reason for its existence.
The survey of the surfaces of the standing and fallen stones, many of which are obscured by lichen, has already started and is expected to finish by the end of March.
“The surfaces of the stones of Stonehenge hold fascinating clues to the past,” the BBC quoted English Heritage archaeologist Dave Batchelor as saying.
The team will be looking for ancient “rock art”, but also for more modern graffiti, in a comprehensive survey of the site.
Some ancient carvings have previously been found on the stones, including a famous Neolithic “dagger”.
Among those who have left their mark in the stones is “Wren” - thought to be Sir Christopher Wren, the architect who designed London’s St Paul’s Cathedral.
Wren’s family had a home nearby, where he is known to have spent time, adding credibility to the claim.
The new survey will be the most accurate digital model ever for the world famous prehistoric monument, measuring details and irregularities on the stone surfaces to a resolution of 0.5mm.
The previous survey in 1993 was photographic, and only measured to an accuracy of about 2cm.
“This new survey will capture a lot more information on the subtleties of the monument and its surrounding landscape,” Paul Bryan, head of geospatial surveys at English Heritage, said.
Laser scanning is also being used to map the earthworks immediately around the stone circle, and the surrounding landscape, as part of a wider project.