Scientists May Have Uncovered The Mysterious Origins Of Stonehenge
Scientists dug up human remains from the Stonehenge dating back 5,000 years. In a surprising twist, the people journeyed far to get to the Wessex site.
These men and women potentially played a huge role in the construction of Stonehenge itself.
Researchers Analyze Ancient Remains
The study, published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, reveals that a number of people buried at the Wessex monument originated from west Wales, which is also the source of bluestones used in Stonehenge's early construction.
According to a report from the University College London, scientists from Oxford and Belgium came together to analyze 25 of the burials excavated back in 2008. Many of them were buried in 3,000 BC, which is around the time when the bluestones were erected to form the Aubrey Holes around Stonehenge. The famous sarsen stones weren't built until 500 years later.
The team used chemical isotope analysis and radiocarbon dating for the study and found out that at least 10 of the 25 individuals analyzed didn't live near the Stonehenge site but in western Britain. This region includes west Wales, where the bluestones were sourced.
Furthermore, the wood that was used to cremate the bodies were also found to have come from different trees, Live Science notes. Some of the pieces of trees discovered come from trees in dense woodland, many of which are found in west Wales. Some of the individuals may have been cremated elsewhere before being buried in Stonehenge.
Findings Shed Light On Stonehenge History
The researchers involved in the study suggest that these prehistoric people may have been part of the sacred site's early construction crew. They may have been the ones to transport the bluestone materials from the Preseli Mountains in west Wales.
The findings are an interesting revelation, particularly since it means that there were significant interregional connections that existed as far back as 5,000 years ago. Even back then, in the Neolithic period, human civilization had a wide berth of contacts and exchanges.
"This is a really exciting discovery because it shows how far some of the Stonehenge people traveled," Mike Parker Pearson, the study's co-researcher, says in a statement. "But what's really fascinating is that this date of around 3000 BC coincides with our radiocarbon dates for quarrying at the bluestone outcrops in the Preseli hills of Pembrokeshire. Some of the people buried at Stonehenge might have even been involved in moving the stones - a journey of more than 180 miles."