Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Stonehenge Started as Cemetary

National Geographic reports on new discoveries at Stonehenge, the megalithic rock formation from British prehistory, that appear to indicate it was not only a astronomical calendar but a cemetary for at least some of the elites of the Stone Age culture of ancient Britain.

"New analysis of ancient human remains show that people were buried at the southern England site from about 3000 B.C. until after the first large stones were raised around 2500 B.C. "This is really exciting, because it shows that Stonehenge, from its beginning to its zenith, is being used as a place to physically put the remains of the dead," said Mike Parker Pearson of England's University of Sheffield. "It's something that we just didn't appreciate until now."

Ndew radiocarbon datings from remains found in the 1950s has expanded the burial dates 500 years further back into time, even before the raising of the stone blocks at the site at around 2500 BC. A circular ditch and raised earthen platform were the intial human developments at the site. The latest burial dates to around the same period of the stone raising. It is estimated there may be as many as 240 burials at the site.

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