London, April 10 : Archaeologists have unearthed a "mini-Stonehenge" in Greater Manchester, England, which dates back to about 5,000 years.
Archaeologist Stuart Mendelsohn spotted two sites near the moors of Rochdale, believed to be ancient burial sites, during a walk on the hills in December.
He believes that the sites may soon become a major tourist attraction.
"I suppose you could describe it as Rochdale's version of Stonehenge. It would have been a sacred site and what we've found so far I feel will be the tip of the iceberg," Manchester Evening News quoted the 52-year-old archaeologist, who is based in Sweden but originally from Middleton, as saying.
He revealed that the sites boasted an oval made up of collapsed slabs, and a 30-metre circle of rounded stones.
"It was very unexpected and I didn't believe it at first. I just can't believe that it's been missed by everyone. The stones are not arranged randomly and it's quite clear to see," he siad.
"For our area and beyond, it's very significant. We've found two burial mounds. The stones may represent particular lunar events in the calendar. I think it would have been a focal point for the whole community," he added.
Peter Iles, a leading archaeological expert from Lancashire County Council, visited the two sites.
The sites have also been inspected by English Heritage, which described them as "fairly well preserved".
English Heritage claimed that both sites were "possible of Bronze age date", suggesting that they could date back to 3,000 BC.
However, unlike the famous monument at Stonehenge, local materials are believed to have been used at the newly discovered sites.
The first site, made up of fallen stones, is 10.2m in overall diameter. The second, which includes the circle, is on the western slope.
The entire site covers an acre, according to an English Heritage report.
"It's great news for Rochdale. Prehistoric flints have been found in Littleborough, but as far as I'm aware, this is the first significant discovery in the town," said Mendelsohn.
"I don't know why that site was chosen originally but it has fantastic views of Rochdale and was fairly close to where people lived. It's a great site and we really need to get it protected and preserved," he added.
Norman Redhead, the Greater Manchester county archaeologist, said that he was planning to visit the site in the next few weeks.