The beginnings of Stonehenge, the most famous prehistoric monument in the world, may have been those of a giant graveyard, according to a theory released Saturday.
A team of archaeologists led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson, who have been working at the site and nearby monuments for decades, have excavated and studied for the first time the more than 50,000 bone fragments from 63 individuals buried at Stonehenge. His new theory is that the burials predate the current form of the monument.
New studies have revealed for the first time that the buried bodies were almost men and women alikeIn addition to the fact that there were children among the bodies, including a newborn baby. The head of a mace, an object of high status comparable to that of a scepter, and a small bowl burned on one side (which Pearson believes may have contained incense), suggest that the dead could have been the religious and political leaders of the tribes and their direct relatives.
For centuries, archaeologists have tried to define what did stonehenge really mean for the people who spent hundreds of thousands of hours building the stone circles. The druids and New Age followers still define it as a sacred place. Others think it is a temple, an observatory, a solar calendar, a site for celebrations or (one of the most recent theories) a center for healing, a kind of Stone Age Lourdes.
The latter theory delays the date of the first stone of the circle from 2,500 B.C. to 3,000 BC, since in the first analysis of the 50,000 bone fragments in one of the holes in Aubrey, a ring of graves from the first part of the monument, they have found crushed wood remains at the bottom, suggesting that they were once in that place the huge stones.
Parker Pearson believes that his earlier excavation near Durrington Walls, which revealed remains of huts, tools, pots, and mountains of animal bones (the largest Stone Age site in northwestern Europe), is proof that the work of the Stonehenge builders, who mined and hauled over 2,000 tons of stone to build the monument, was seasonal. The analysis of animal bones shows that some of them traveled from very far places and slaughtered at Durrington in mid-summer and mid-winter.
This fall, visitors to Stonehenge They will see an interpretation of history more complex than ever when the English Heritage opens its long-awaited visitor center.
Image: Nojhan on Wikimedia
Almost graduated in Advertising and Public Relations. I started to like history in 2nd year of high school thanks to a very good teacher who made us see that we have to know our past to know where the future takes us. Since then I have not had the opportunity to investigate more in all that our history offers us, but now I can take up that concern and share it with you.