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Secrets of Stonehenge

Secrets of Stonehenge
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The world's most famous prehistoric monument may have begun life earlier than thought as a giant burial ground. Archaeologists say that more than...

The world's most famous prehistoric monument may have begun life earlier than thought as a giant burial ground. Archaeologists say that more than 50,000 cremated bone fragments, of 63 individuals buried at Stonehenge have been excavated. They believe when Stonehenge was built it was the 'Glastonbury of its time' with ancient people flocking from across Britain in their thousands to celebrate the winter solstice. Experts suggest people gathered at the site each year to build the monument and celebrate with massive communal feasts. The findings overturn the belief that Stonehenge was built as an astronomical calendar or observatory. Dating the bones has pushed back the date of the earliest stone circle at the site from 2500BC to 3000BC, says Professor Mike Parker Pearson from University College London who believes the earliest burials long predate the monument in its current form. It had been thought that almost all the Stonehenge burials, many originally excavated almost a century ago, but discarded as unimportant, were of adult men. However, new techniques have revealed for the first time that they include almost equal numbers of men and women, and children including a newborn baby.The findings suggest the act of building monuments was key to those who constructed the site, uniting people from across the island of Britain.
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