Stonehenge Believed to Have Been an Ancient Burial Ground, 50,000 Bones Found at Site
Stonehenge is one of most famous prehistoric sites in the world and till today, it has been a great mystery as to its origins. British researchers have proposed a new theory, suggesting that it may have started as a giant burial ground for elite families around 3000 B.C.
University College London professor Mike Parker Pearson and colleagues unearthed over 50,000 cremated bone fragments belonging to 63 different individuals at the site. According to the Guardian, Parker Pearson believes the earliest burials long predate the monument in its current form.
"These were men, women, children, so presumably family groups," Parker Pearson, who led a team that included experts from over a dozen different universities in the UK, told the Associated Press on Saturday. "We'd thought that maybe it was a place where a dynasty of kings was buried, but this seemed to be much more of a community, a different kind of power structure."
"In many ways, our findings are rewriting the established story of Stonehenge," Professor Parker Pearson said yesterday.
Further analyses of 80,000 animal bones excavated from the site also propose that about 2500 BC, Stonehenge was the site of vast communal feasts.
"Stonehenge was a monument that brought ancient Britain together," he said. "What we've found is that people came with their animals to feast at Stonehenge from all corners of Britain -- as far afield as Scotland."
The remains of many cremated bodies were marked by the bluestones of Stonehenge, Parker Pearson noted.
Several other theories have been proposed about Stonehenge, including that it was a place for Druid worship, an observatory for astronomical studies or a place of healing built by early inhabitants of Britain who roamed around with their herds.